Boost Your Harvest with Advanced LST Strategies
As a cannabis grower, you understand the importance of using effective techniques to maximize your yield. One such technique that has gained popularity among growers is Low Stress Training (LST). LST involves bending and manipulating branches to promote better light distribution, increase yields, and improve overall plant health. In this article, we’ll examine the benefits of LST and delve into advanced techniques for boosting your harvest. But first, let’s clarify what LST is exactly and why it’s become so important.
What is LST?
Low Stress Training (LST) is a technique used on cannabis plants to manipulate their growth patterns. It involves bending and training the plants to grow horizontally rather than vertically, with the goal of creating a more even canopy and maximizing yields. LST is a popular method of training because it is gentle on the plants and doesn’t involve cutting or removing any parts of the plant. Instead, LST uses strategies such as tying down branches and using plant stakes to gradually alter the plant’s growth direction.
The idea behind LST is to optimize light distribution throughout the plant. When a plant grows naturally, it tends to focus its energy on the top of the plant where the light is most intense. This results in a plant with a single cola or main bud at the top that receives the majority of the light while the lower branches are shaded and receive less light. By using LST, growers can train their plants to grow evenly and develop multiple colas, all receiving adequate lighting. This leads to a higher yield and more even quality throughout the plant.
LST is a non-invasive way to increase a plant’s growth potential and can be a useful tool for growers looking to optimize their harvests.
Why Use LST?
Using LST or Low Stress Training has been a popular technique among cannabis growers for many years. It involves bending and tying down the plants, allowing them to grow horizontally instead of vertically. But, why would someone use LST in the first place? Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits.
|Promotes even canopy||With LST, lower branches can grow as tall as the top branches, giving the plants an even canopy. This allows for better light distribution and promotes bud development throughout the plant, leading to higher yields.|
|Increases light exposure||By training the plants to grow horizontally, LST makes better use of available light. It also allows lower branches to receive more light, ultimately increasing the overall photosynthesis of the plant.|
|Reduces height||By training the plant to grow horizontally, LST keeps the plant shorter than it would be if grown naturally. This makes it easier to manage the plant’s height and it can fit better into smaller growing spaces.|
|Improves air circulation||With LST, the plant’s foliage is spread out, allowing for better ventilation and air circulation. This reduces the chances of mold and mildew developing on the plant, and ultimately leads to healthier plants.|
Using LST is a great way to improve the growth and yield of your cannabis plants. It promotes even growth, increases light exposure, reduces height, and improves air circulation. However, it’s important to remember that LST takes time and patience, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.
Preparing Your Plant for LST
Getting your plant ready for LST can be a bit of a perplexing task. There are several factors to consider before beginning the training process. Proper preparation is key to ensuring a successful LST experience. In this section, we will explore the different aspects to keep in mind before starting the LST process. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key factors such as choosing the right strain, lighting and feeding, pruning and topping techniques, and more. By putting in the necessary time and effort to get your plant ready, you’ll be well on your way to a bountiful harvest.
Choosing the Right Strain
Choosing the right strain is crucial when it comes to successful LST. Keep in mind that not every strain is suitable for this technique. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a strain for LST:
- Genetics: Look for indica or hybrid strains that have a strong and flexible stem. Sativa strains tend to be taller and more difficult to train.
- Size and Space: Consider the size of your growing space when selecting a strain. If you have limited height, choose a strain that naturally grows short or can be easily trained to stay short.
- Age: It is recommended to start LST early in a plant’s life cycle, preferably during the vegetative stage. Look for strains that have a relatively short vegetative period, so you have enough time to train your plant before it enters the flowering stage.
- Yield: Choose strains that are known for producing a high yield and have dense buds. This ensures that your LST efforts will result in a bountiful harvest.
Make sure to do your research and choose a strain that works well with LST. Using the wrong strain can lead to frustration and disappointment, so take your time and choose carefully.
Lighting and Feeding
In order to have successful results with LST, it’s important to consider your plant’s lighting and feeding needs. Plants need a specific amount of light and nutrients to thrive, so it’s important to understand how these two factors can impact your training process.
Firstly, let’s talk about lighting. Generally, cannabis plants require between 18-24 hours of light when growing vegetatively. Once you’ve transplanted your plant into its larger container it’s important to use a high-quality grow light that will provide consistent and reliable light. The easiest and most popular option is to use a 600-watt high-pressure sodium (HPS) light. Keep the light at least 12 inches away from your plant to avoid seedling burn or affecting the growth process. You can gradually reduce the light period to 12 hours as it nears its flowering phase. Adjusting the light cycle is essential for triggering flowering in your plant.
Moving on to feeding your plant, nutrition plays a crucial role in its overall health and growth. Make sure you use high-quality soil and nutrient-rich fertilizers when planting your seed. Once your plant has developed a strong root system, you can fertilize it accordingly. It’s important to remember that every strain has its own specific nutrient requirements, so be sure to follow the instructions on your fertilizers. Typically, it is recommended to feed your plant once or twice a week, depending on the nutrient needs of the strain.
Here’s a table summarizing the main points to remember when tending to your plant’s lighting and feeding needs:
|Use a high-quality grow light||Use nutrient-rich fertilizers|
|Provide consistent light between 18-24 hours daily during vegetative phase||Feed once or twice a week, depending on the nutrient needs of the strain|
|Use 600-watt HPS light||Follow instructions on your fertilizers and adjust accordingly|
|Keep light at least 12 inches away from your plant|
|Gradually reduce light period to 12 hours before flowering|
By taking proper care of your plant’s lighting and feeding needs, you’re setting the foundation for a successful LST process.
Pruning and Topping
Pruning and topping are essential techniques to prepare your plant for Low-Stress Training (LST). Here are the steps you should follow to properly prune and top your plant:
- Identify the nodes: Nodes are where the branches meet the stem. Identify the nodes that are close to the top of the plant.
- Choose which nodes to cut: Decide which nodes to cut based on the shape you want for your plant. Cut the nodes that are going to grow at an angle that will not allow them to receive enough light.
- Use sterilized scissors: Make sure your scissors are clean and sterile to avoid introducing any bacteria or disease to your plant.
- Cut the nodes: Cut the nodes above a leaf set. This will encourage the plant to grow two new branches instead of one, making it bushier.
- Top the plant: Topping involves cutting the top of the plant above the newest growth nodes. This will force the plant to grow two new main branches instead of one, making it bushier and improving its yield.
- Wait for recovery: Give the plant some time to recover before proceeding with LST. It usually takes a few days for the plant to recover from pruning and topping.
Remember that pruning and topping should be done during the vegetative stage of your plant’s growth. Never prune or top your plant during the flowering stage, as it can severely affect your harvest. Following these steps will guarantee a healthy and productive plant that will respond well to LST techniques.
Advanced LST Techniques
Now that you’ve mastered the basics of LST, it’s time to take your plant training skills to the next level with some advanced techniques. These methods require a bit more finesse and expertise, but can ultimately result in an even bigger and better harvest. From mainlining to spiraling, we’ll dive into the world of creative LST and explore how to make the most of your plant’s genetic potential. So buckle up and get ready to learn some innovative strategies for boosting your yield with LST.
Mainlining is an advanced LST technique that involves a more structured approach to training your plant. It involves creating a symmetrical plant structure by pruning the plant down to its main stem and then training the remaining stems to grow evenly from that main stem.
To perform mainlining, you will need to follow these steps:
- Start with a healthy plant with at least four nodes.
- Remove all side branches and growth below the fourth node, leaving only the main stem and the top four nodes.
- Using two soft wires or tie-downs, gently pull down the top two nodes until they are even with the bottom two nodes. Be sure not to over-stress the plant by pulling too hard.
- Once the plant has grown another inch or so, repeat Step 3, this time pulling down the new growth until it is level with the other nodes.
- Continue this process until you have trained the plant to have eight main colas.
- Allow the plant to recover for a few days, then switch to a 12/12 light cycle to induce flowering.
Mainlining can result in a plant with a more even canopy, allowing for better light penetration and more efficient use of space. It can also increase yields and improve the overall quality of your harvest.
However, it is important to note that mainlining requires precision and patience. It can take up to two months before the plant is ready to be switched to flowering, and any mistakes in the training process can set back your grow.
Mainlining can be a rewarding technique for experienced growers looking to increase their yields and improve the structure of their plants. But for beginners, it may be best to start with simpler LST techniques and work up to mainlining once you have gained more experience.
ScrOG and SOG
One of the most popular advanced LST techniques is the ScrOG (Screen of Green) method and SOG (Sea of Green) method. Both focus on maximizing yield by training plants to produce a canopy of buds.
The ScrOG technique involves using a screen or net to train the plant branches to grow horizontally. This helps to create an even canopy of buds and increases light exposure to lower flowering sites. Here’s how to do it:
- Choose a strain that responds well to the ScrOG method.
- Set up a screen or net above the plants at the desired height.
- Begin LST training early so that the plant branches grow horizontally and weave through the screen.
- As the plant grows, tuck branches under the screen to promote even growth.
- Continue to train the branches until the entire screen is filled with buds.
The SOG method involves growing multiple plants in a small space and using pruning and LST to create a dense canopy of buds. This method is used to maximize yield and minimize vegetative growth. Here’s how to do it:
- Choose a strain that responds well to the SOG method.
- Grow multiple plants in a small space using a Sea of Green setup.
- Prune the plants to promote dense growth and eliminate lower flowering sites.
- Use LST to train the plants to grow horizontally and create an even canopy of buds.
- Harvest when the buds are at their peak.
Both the ScrOG and SOG methods require careful planning and attention to detail. It’s important to choose the right strain, set up appropriate lighting and feeding schedules, and be vigilant in monitoring growth patterns. However, if done correctly, these methods can result in a bountiful harvest and a high-quality end product.
Super cropping is a training technique that involves strategically damaging certain parts of the plant to encourage stronger growth and increased yields. This technique is particularly effective for plants that tend to grow tall and spindly, and can help redistribute growth hormones and energy throughout the plant. Here are the steps you need to follow when super cropping your plants:
|Step 1:||Choose which branch you want to super crop. Look for a branch that is still relatively young and pliable, but that has already developed a few nodes.|
|Step 2:||Locate the spot on the chosen branch where you want to create a bend.|
|Step 3:||Apply gentle pressure to the stem at the chosen spot until it starts to bend. Use your fingers to slowly apply pressure until the stem bends at about a 90-degree angle.|
|Step 4:||Listen for a soft popping sound, which indicates that the stem’s internal structure has been slightly damaged. This is what triggers the plant’s natural healing response.|
|Step 5:||Secure the bent stem in place using soft gardening wire or similar materials. Be careful not to over-tighten the wire, as this can damage the stem further.|
|Step 6:||Repeat this process for other branches, if desired. Be sure to space out your super cropping efforts so that the plant has enough time to recover between training sessions.|
It’s important to note that super cropping can be a bit physically demanding, and you will need to be patient and gentle as you train your plants. However, with practice, this technique can be an incredibly effective way to improve your yields and ensure a healthy, strong harvest.
Spiraling is another advanced LST technique that involves gradually bending the plant’s stem and branches. Unlike other techniques which require significant adjustments from the beginning, spiraling is a more gradual approach that involves small adjustments over time. The main goal of spiraling is to promote more even growth and maximize light penetration throughout the plant.
Here are the step-by-step instructions for spiraling:
- Start by gently bending the top of the plant’s stem in one direction.
- Place a small stake or tie at the base of the bend to hold it in place.
- Over the course of several days, continue to gradually bend the stem in a circular motion around the stake or tie, making small adjustments each day.
- Repeat the process for each branch and tie it down in a spiral shape.
- Continue to adjust the spirals as the plant grows, always making sure they’re not restricting the plant’s growth or circulation.
Spiraling allows for a more horizontal growth pattern and helps the plant to receive more light, resulting in more even bud production throughout the plant. It also allows for easier access to the lower parts of the plant, making pruning and maintenance easier.
However, it is important not to bend the stem or branches too far as it may cause damage to the plant. It is also crucial to constantly check the ties and stakes to ensure that they are not too tight or impeding the plant’s growth. With proper care and attention, spiraling can be an effective technique for boosting your harvest.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
As you begin to experiment with advanced LST techniques, it’s important to be mindful of the common mistakes that growers make. These errors can set back your progress and ultimately harm your plant’s health. Knowing what to avoid is just as important as learning what to do. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the pitfalls to steer clear of when training your plant.
Over-Stressing Your Plant
One common mistake that growers make when using LST techniques is over-stressing their plants. This means that they are manipulating their plants too aggressively or frequently, causing undue stress on the plant’s structure and growth patterns.
Some signs of over-stressing a plant include stunted growth, droopy or discolored leaves, and slower-than-expected bud development. Over-stressing can also lead to nutrient deficiencies or other health issues, which can ultimately harm the plant’s overall yield.
To avoid over-stressing your plants, it’s important to monitor their growth closely and adjust your LST techniques accordingly. This means only manipulating the plant when necessary and giving it time to recover between sessions.
Additionally, avoid using too much force when bending or tying down branches. Gently guiding the plant’s growth is the goal of LST, not forcing it into a particular shape or direction.
Finally, it’s important to pay attention to your plants’ individual needs and adjust your LST techniques based on their growth patterns and behavior. Every plant is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. By being patient and observant, you can help your plants thrive using LST techniques without causing unnecessary stress.
|Signs of over-stressing:||Stunted growth||Droopy or discolored leaves||Slow bud development||Nutrient deficiencies||Other health issues|
|How to avoid over-stressing:||Monitor growth closely||Adjust techniques accordingly||Use gentle force||Pay attention to individual plant needs||Be patient and observant|
Underestimating Training Time
It’s a common mistake for growers to underestimate the time needed for training their plants properly. Unfortunately, it’s not a one-and-done process, and patience is key. Here are some important things to keep in mind:
- Training takes time: It’s essential to be patient and attentive when training your plants. Rushing this process can lead to poor results and even cause damage to your plants. Take the time to properly train your plants, and you’ll see a significant return on your investment.
- Continuous monitoring: Once you’ve begun the training process, be sure to check on your plants daily to ensure they’re responding well. Don’t hesitate to adjust your techniques if necessary.
- Maintain consistency: Consistency is important when training your plants. Make sure to train them frequently and in the same manner to increase the effectiveness of your techniques.
- Adjust as needed: Your plant may have different growth patterns from others or may respond differently to your training methods. Be open to adjusting your techniques to meet the needs of your unique plant.
- Don’t rush: While it may be tempting to rush the training process, be sure to take your time and have a plan. Consistent and patient training will pay off in the long run and lead to a bountiful harvest.
Remember that training is an essential aspect of maximizing your harvest, and it’s important to take the time needed to do it right. Rushing the training process can lead to poor results, so be sure to be patient, adjust as needed and maintain consistency.
Bending Branches Too Far
Bending branches too far is a common mistake that many beginner growers make when practicing LST. While bending the branches is vital in directing the growth of the plant, bending them too far can cause severe damage and stunted growth. So, it’s crucial to be careful while training your plants.
Here are some tips to avoid bending branches too far:
|1. Start Slowly:||When starting with LST, it’s essential to begin gradually. Start by bending the branches gently and slowly increasing pressure over time. This will allow the plant to adjust and grow stronger.|
|2. Watch for Signs of Stress:||While LST is a useful technique, it can be stressful for the plant. Keep an eye out for signs of stress such as wilting, drooping, and discoloration. If you see any of these signs, ease up on the pressure and give the plant time to recover.|
|3. Use Soft Ties:||When tying down your branches, make sure to use soft ties such as pipe cleaners, twist ties, or fabric. Avoid using hard materials like wire, as they can damage and cut into the plant’s stem.|
|4. Avoid Training During Flowering:||While LST is most effective during the vegetative stage, it’s crucial to avoid training the plant during the flowering period. Bending the branches during this stage can cause damage to the buds, resulting in lower yields.|
Remember, the goal of LST is to encourage the plant to grow in a specific direction while promoting better light penetration and airflow. A gentle touch and careful attention will help your plant thrive and grow to its full potential.
Not Adjusting for Growth Patterns
One common mistake that growers make when implementing LST techniques is not adjusting their training to accommodate their plant’s unique growth patterns. Every strain has its own growth habits, so it’s important to pay close attention to how your plant is developing over time. If you fail to adjust your technique based on your plant’s growth pattern, you could inadvertently damage your plant and compromise your overall yield.
Here are some tips for adjusting your LST practice to accommodate your plant’s growth pattern:
- Train your plant when it’s young: It’s easier to train a young plant because the branches are more pliable and flexible. Waiting until your plant gets older before training it can lead to breakages and other damage.
- Consider the plant’s natural shape: Some strains grow tall and spindly, while others grow bushy and wide. Your LST technique should be adjusted to help shape your plant in a way that maximizes yield and promotes healthy growth.
- Be aware of your plant’s height: If your plant is getting too tall and spindly, you may need to adjust the light source to compensate. Alternatively, you may need to prune some of the bottom branches to encourage the plant to grow outward rather than upward.
- Pay attention to your plant’s response to training: Some plants respond better to LST techniques than others. If your plant seems to be struggling, you may need to dial back your approach or try a different technique altogether.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment: Every grower has their own unique approach to LST. What works for one person may not necessarily work for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try out new techniques until you find the approach that works best for your particular strain.
When it comes to LST, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. If you’re not adjusting your technique based on your plant’s unique characteristics and growth patterns, you could be setting yourself up for disappointment. Take the time to pay attention to your plant and experiment with different techniques until you find the approach that works best for you.
In conclusion, utilizing advanced LST techniques is a highly effective method for boosting your cannabis harvest. By training your plants to grow in specific ways, you can drastically increase yields and produce high-quality buds. However, it is important to remember that implementing LST requires careful planning and execution.
Proper preparation is key, whether it’s selecting the right strain for your needs, ensuring proper lighting and feeding, or performing pruning and topping techniques. These steps all contribute to setting the stage for successful LST.
Once your plant is ready, you can explore advanced LST techniques such as mainlining, ScrOG and SOG, super cropping, or spiraling. Each of these techniques has its own benefits and challenges, and it’s important to select the right one for your growing style and goals.
However, even the most experienced growers can make mistakes with LST. Over-stressing your plant, underestimating training time, bending branches too far, or not adjusting for growth patterns can all negatively impact your harvest. So be sure to take your time and approach LST with patience and care.
Overall, advanced LST techniques are an excellent way to boost your cannabis harvest and produce high-quality buds. With proper preparation, careful execution, and a focus on avoiding common mistakes, you can enjoy the benefits of a well-trained and productive cannabis crop.
Frequently Asked Questions
What tools do I need for LST?
You will need soft plant ties, scissors, and possibly a trellis net.
What is the best strain for LST?
Indica strains are typically better because they are shorter and bushier, making it easier to manipulate the plant.
How often should I feed my plant during LST?
It is recommended to feed your plant every other watering, or at least once a week.
What is mainlining?
Mainlining is a technique that involves creating a symmetrical plant structure by evenly distributing the main stems and branches.
What is ScrOG?
ScrOG stands for screen of green and involves using a mesh screen to create an even canopy and maximize light penetration.
What is SOG?
SOG stands for sea of green and involves growing multiple small plants in a small space to maximize yield.
What is super cropping?
Super cropping is a technique that involves intentionally stressing the plant by crushing the stem, resulting in a thicker stem and bigger yields.
What is spiraling?
Spiraling is a technique that involves training the plant to grow in a spiral pattern around a central support, resulting in an even canopy and higher yields.
How do I know if I am over-stressing my plant?
If the leaves are turning yellow, drooping, or falling off, the plant may be over-stressed. It is important to monitor the plant’s health and adjust training techniques accordingly.
Can I start LST on a mature plant?
Yes, it is possible to start LST on a mature plant, but it may be more difficult and require more care to ensure the plant does not become too stressed.