Jul 29, 2016 10:15 AM

Training Cannabis: How to Increase Marijuana Plant Yield

There are numerous growing techniques that help your cannabis bring more yield than usual. Some of them are more complicated, others are easier. Here, we will tell you about a few easy techniques—topping cannabis, “FIM,” supercropping, and low-stress training—that can surprise you with great results.

Training Cannabis: How to Increase Marijuana Plant Yield

Unlike Screen of Green , Lollipopping, or Sea of Green , the growing techniques we are going to tell you about are relatively simple, so even a novice grower can apply them to their very first plant crop at home. The biggest benefit of all these methods is that you can apply them to pretty much any strain, whether it is indica, sativa, or a hybrid, or whether your marijuana is grown outdoors, indoors, or in a growing box. The only restriction is that you should apply these techniques only during the growing stage for a minimum of one month before switching to the flowering regime.

Topping and “FIM”

These two techniques are usually applied to the plants that have a single stem that is going to be too long. Topping means that you simply cut or pinch the very top of the stem, including the top buds and about an inch or half of an inch of the shoot itself.

This little procedure pushes the lower buds to activate two new shoots instead. Once these two stems are strong enough and have at least a couple of big leaves, you can apply topping again. This way you will have four tops instead of the primary one. However, be careful to give the plant enough time to recover after each “operation.” It does not cause a lot of damage to your weed, but in any case, the plant requires time to adapt to new conditions.

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“FIM” stands for “Fuck, I missed,” which was probably invented by some absent-minded grower who accidentally cut less of the stem that they wanted. Basically, a FIMed plant gets as little damage as it is only possible: you do not cut the upper buds but only the leaves on the very top of the plant. Since the leaves now do not need to get the energy to grow, the plant directs this energy to the small buds, and in a few days, you will see new extra shoots growing.

Usually, it is recommended to use topping and FIMming when the plant already has at least four nodes of leaves. However, if your goal is to keep your plant as short as possible, variations are allowed.

We would also recommend you to apply FIM and topping maximum three times to each plant, as the goal is not only to make your cannabis bushier but also to help it develop strong enough branches to hold yield. That is why it is so important to give your plant time to recover from the stress after each procedure.

High-stress training, or supercropping

Supercropping is a quite similar technique to FIM and topping in a way that it is supposed to make the plant divert energy from the main stem or stems to the secondary branches. However, the biggest difference is that you do not remove any parts of the plant.

What you need is to bend a stem so that the inner cord breaks but the outer part, the “bark,” remains connected to the rest of the plant. That is why you should not use any knives or scissors but do the whole procedure with your bare hands.

Take the branch with your fingers in the place where the stem is green, not brownish, and bend it down till you hear a quiet click. Leave the stem hanging down. In a week, the place of the bruise will become brown and harder, and at the same time, the neighbor colas will start growing more intensively than before. And this is exactly what supercropping is about. The more colas appear, the bigger the yield you will get.

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The size of the stem you bend down can vary. If topping and FIM is about an inch of leaves and stem from the very top, the branch you apply suppercropping to can be several inches long and have more than three nodes of leaves. However, it is up to you to decide on the right place on the stem to create a bent.

The branches you bend with supercropping will never recover completely, and they will never blossom. However, since they are still connected to the main plant's system, they will get the energy for the rest of the plant through the photosynthesis in their leaves.

If you decide to bend only one central stem this way, the damage will be minimal. If you bend several stems, be careful not to damage your plant too hard, as it can significantly increase the time of the vegetative stage of your cannabis.

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Low-stress training

This technique brings almost no damage to the plant (unless you combine it with topping) but takes significantly more time and attention from your side.

The main principle of low-stress training (LST) is to make the central stem grow horizontally so that the secondary branches develop into strong stems. You can use wire, strings, even a paper clip to bend the main stem. The trick is to do it gradually, step by step, to bend the stem more and more every day and never do it too harshly. If you do it correctly, the plant will have enough time to adapt and develop the side branches into strong and healthy stems.

Because you need to bend the stem as low as you can, it is recommended to apply LST while the plant is still young and relatively short. Once the new stems develop, you can apply the same technique to them, too. The original stem will eventually also grow vertically unless you pinch it. It is up to you to decide what to do with it.

Often, growers combine these four techniques in different combinations, so you can also experiment and see what works best in your case. Some strains require a lot of time to recover after topping while others start to develop new branches already two-three days after the procedure. Some plants provide a great yield after applying LST, while others give you their best if grown in a traditional way.

This is always about experimenting, so do not be afraid to try new techniques, but try to be always careful with your cannabis garden, and it will certainly reward you.

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