Training cannabis plants, which entails physically manipulating the plant, may almost double output without significantly increasing costs. There are many benefits of cannabis plant training, and the sooner you start, the better.
Various “techniques” are available to indoor producers, including LST, pruning, manifolding, ScrOG, etc., for training plants to produce higher cannabis harvests. Over the years, many different cultivators have devised and given names to these strategies, which might lead to some confusion. It’s hard to keep up with all the jargon and acronyms, and some methods are laborious and time-consuming. To maximize your cannabis harvest, you should instruct your plants to produce just the longest, densest bud, “colas” (without any immature flowers). This training guide should help nurture your cannabis plant for maximum yields despite your skill level.
A cannabis plant’s primary stems and branches, as well as the buds that develop there, are called “colas” by individuals in the growing community. When referring to the long, thick buds that form at the very tip of a cannabis plant, the term “cola” (Spanish for “tail”) is often used.
The goal of practically every method for training cannabis plants is to create a broad, flat tabletop form for the plant canopy, where you may place several colas (bud sites). There are almost a million ways to achieve this, which is why there are numerous diverse strategies, yet they all share at least one thing. Your crop’s overall size and quality will improve because each primary bud will be exposed to more light and air. If you train your plants properly, you may enhance your harvest by as much as 40 percent. It would help if you considered training your cannabis plants to produce multiple bud sites in a broad, flat, tabletop form during the vegetative stage, and there are many approaches you can use to achieve this.
Likewise, if you have too many colas, they will all shrink since they won’t have enough room to grow. To maximize harvests, leave a space of around two to three inches (five to ten centimeters) between each cola. It allows their buds to grow and get larger. Besides that, you should cram as many colas as possible under your light. A portion of the light you could use to boost harvests is lost in every “empty” space beneath the grow light when no buds are developing.
It’s time to forget all the techniques and focus on the most important things you should remember. Remember that “cola” refers to a primary stem or “growth tip” of a cannabis plant that has reached the very top of the canopy. A bud forms at these points. These seem to be ordinary stems with terminal growth nodes throughout the vegetative phase, but as they reach the flowering stage, they are referred to as “main” stems or colas. It would help if you were interested in producing an abundance of these stems because they produce the largest and longest buds during the blooming period.
Now that you know what a cola is, we can go on to some guidelines to follow.
Any growing point may develop into a cola with enough light and air. To maximize the number of shoots that reach the plant’s canopy, you should encourage their development near the plant’s base. You don’t need any special methods; make sure the growth points have access to direct light and air, and they’ll eventually develop into full-fledged colas. Ensure you understand the effects of plant canopy on light interception.
In addition, you should strive to work with your plant rather than against it when you see that certain growth points prefer to develop larger and more conspicuous than others. If one of your plant’s shoots seems “favored,” you should expect great things if you cultivate it into a cola. When growing cannabis, some cultivators “split” the main stem in two at the very bottom by cutting off the very top of the plant (called “topping“) when the plant is still very young. As the plant grows, this may facilitate its eventual replanting. However, this is optional, and you can achieve excellent results by bending over the plant’s main stem.
It would help to choose colas that originate closer to the plant’s trunk whenever feasible. The finest stems often extend to the plant base. The plant seems to prioritize these branches since their buds are often larger than those from more centrally located branches. This fundamental notion underpins methods like manifolding, where all branches sprout from the same central point. However, a manifold is not required to get the same yield improvements.
The ends of stems tend to be the most flexible, so that’s where your focus should be when bending them out of the way. Don’t try to bend anything that feels stiff or woody; it could break. If you must bend a hardened stem, carefully protect the stem’s skin from cracking. The section of the stem you would like to bend must be held between two fingers. Put some pressure on it and then wriggle it around gently, all the while squashing the stem with as much force as you can. Crushing the stem from the inside helps soften it up a little. You’re “crunching” the interior of the stem to make it less resistant, but you’re not breaking the skin. It would help if you attempted bending the stem once you find it pliable. If it’s still stiff, don’t attempt to bend it! “Supercropping” describes this technique, although it’s simply a method of flexing a rigid stem.
Squeeze hard while wriggling the stem softly back and forth at the point where you’d like it to bend an extremely rigid stem. It may take several seconds of wriggling before you hear or feel the stem crushing on the inside, but keep at it until the stem becomes pliable. When you’re satisfied with the new joint, gently bend the stem and clamp it. Fear not if you break the stem’s skin while attempting to bend it over. In the case of your cannabis plant, a short application of duct or electrical tape in the form of a “cast” will allow the plant to heal the damaged stem. After a week or two, the wounded area will form a “knuckle,” and you can remove the tape.
If one of your major colas begins to grow much higher than the rest, gently bend them downward and away from the plant’s base, ideally toward a location beneath the light where there are no other buds. Monitoring your plant can help you identify problematic stems before they get too large to manage easily. Staying on top of things also allows you to train the stems to fill in any “holes” in the canopy when colas are absent.
If you don’t secure them, bent stems take a day or two to grow back to their original position. Plant twisty ties are ideal for this purpose since they are soft, flexible, and won’t damage your plants’ skin. You may use any object as an anchor, but the plant’s container is ideal since it maintains its form upon picking it up.
Before you start the blooming phase, ensure at least two to three inches (five to eight centimeters) of spacing between each cola. Aside from that, you want maximum cola consumption in broad daylight. While your plant is in the vegetative growth stage, you should search for “holes” or areas beneath the light where no colas have formed. Find a cola from the periphery (or a nearby growth point) and shape it to grow into the space. The greatest results come from completely saturating the area beneath the light.
It would help if you preserved the main stems you’ve organized in the top canopy, but as your plant develops and you approach the flowering stage, you’ll see many more less-developed stems growing beneath the main canopy. These immature stalks are known as “suckers,” as they drain resources intended for the mature blooms.
If you prefer your plant to produce large, dense colas, you should reduce the number of stems that aren’t likely to reach the summit. Colas have no business sharing the spotlight with promising young stems. Get the finest results by cutting off these immature stems. In certain cases, this is called “lollipopping” the plant. The plant’s shadowy regions aren’t worth keeping since they won’t contribute to bud development or yield.
Monitoring your cannabis plant often, particularly during the first few grows, can help you learn how it and its stems react to your input and improve your training skills. Likewise, keeping the above basic plant training instructions in mind will help you get results on par with more complex plant training methods. You may use these concepts alone to train your plant or combine them with other methods.
Marcus is a relative newcomer to the cannabis world. Though it may seem that his youth wouldn’t allow for a wealth of knowledge, this is untrue. Marcus Smith has close relationships with many cannabis breeders and grow owners which have allowed him to sample the best cannabis across the US and beyond while also gaining valuable insight into how different strains grow and develop. About this Author