Training Autoflowering Cannabis Plants with LST
Autoflowering cannabis plants are a cannabis strain that has gained immense popularity among growers due to their fast growth and resilience to environmental factors. These plants have a shorter life cycle and are comparatively easy to cultivate. However, training them to achieve an optimal yield is a task that requires patience and technique. LST or Low-Stress Training is one such technique that can help increase yields of autoflowering cannabis plants. But how exactly does LST work? What are the benefits of LST? How can you train your cannabis plants with this technique? In this article, we will answer these questions and provide a step-by-step guide to train autoflowering cannabis plants using LST.
Benefits of LST for Autoflowering Cannabis
Autoflowering cannabis plants are a popular choice among growers due to their unique ability to flower automatically, regardless of light cycles. However, they often require training techniques such as LST (low-stress training) to maximize yield and bud quality. This method involves bending and securing the plant’s branches to direct growth in a specific way. But why should you bother with LST for your autoflowering plants? There are several benefits to this technique, including improved light penetration, increased yield, and space-saving advantages. Let’s explore these benefits in more detail.
Improved Light Penetration
One major benefit of using Low Stress Training (LST) on autoflowering cannabis plants is the improved light penetration it provides. When plants are allowed to grow naturally, some areas of the plant receive more light than others. The top parts of the plant receive the majority of the light, while the lower branches receive less. This can lead to stunted growth and smaller yields.
By using LST techniques, growers are able to spread out the canopy of the plant, allowing all parts of the plant to receive an even amount of light. To understand this better, let’s take a look at the science behind it:
When cannabis plants receive light, they use a process called photosynthesis to convert that light into energy for growth. Photosynthesis occurs primarily in the leaves of the plant, where chloroplasts absorb light energy and use it to produce sugars.
However, cannabis leaves can only absorb a certain amount of light at a time. If they receive too much light, they can actually become damaged and begin to die off. By spreading out the canopy of the plant through LST, growers can reduce the amount of light each leaf receives, while still maintaining overall light levels for the entire plant.
Additionally, when the lower branches of the plant receive more light, they are able to produce larger buds and overall higher yields. This is because they are typically shaded by the larger, top colas of the plant, which limits their growth potential.
By using LST techniques to improve light penetration, growers can create healthier and more productive autoflowering cannabis plants.
One of the primary benefits of using Low Stress Training (LST) techniques with autoflowering cannabis plants is that it can lead to increased yield. By training the plants early on and keeping them low to the ground, you create a bushier plant with more bud sites. This allows for more opportunities for the plant to produce more flowers and consequently, a higher yield.
Here are some ways that LST can contribute to increasing your yield:
- Better light distribution: LST helps to spread out the light evenly across the plant. This ensures that all of the bud sites are exposed to an adequate amount of light, which is vital for proper bud development. By ensuring that each bud site receives the same amount of light, you can avoid smaller buds due to poor lighting.
- Increased bud development: The better distribution of light can lead to more energy being directed towards developing the buds rather than simply growing the plant. This can result in larger and denser buds forming, boosting your overall yield.
- Maximizes space: Autoflowering cannabis plants can be grown in small spaces, which makes LST a great way to maximize your yield in these tight spots. By keeping the plant low and bushy, you can utilize all available space and still keep the plant healthy and productive.
Using LST can significantly improve your final yield by ensuring that your plant is healthy, evenly spaced, and well lit. With careful maintenance and attention, you can maximize the potential of your autoflowering cannabis plants and enjoy a bountiful harvest.
Space-saving is another benefit of LST for autoflowering cannabis plants. By bending the main stem and securing the lateral branches, the plant can be trained to grow horizontally instead of vertically. This technique enables growers to take better advantage of the available space in their growing area, especially for those who have limited vertical space.
With LST, the plant can be made to grow wider instead of taller, which can result in multiple bud sites and a bushier plant. This increases the efficiency of light absorption as the entire plant receives more light. Using LST, you can maximize your yield by employing all the available light and space.
This technique can be useful for growers with smaller tents or grow rooms. Bending plants allows them to take up less vertical space while still being able to produce high yields. You can also fit more plants in a limited space due to their flatter growth shape. This method suits those who prefer growing many small plants instead of a few larger ones.
LST is a great technique for increasing yield while saving space. Growing several smaller plants instead of one big plant can be beneficial in some cases, and LST will keep the growth under control, making for much better use of your available space.
Preparing for LST
Preparing your autoflowering cannabis plants for LST can seem daunting, but with proper timing, tools, and preparation, the process can be relatively simple. By taking the necessary steps before beginning LST, you can help ensure the health and success of your plants. In this section, we will discuss the timing of LST, the tools and materials needed, and the preparation steps to take before training your plants. Following these tips will set you up for a successful training experience.
Timing is crucial when it comes to training autoflowering cannabis plants with LST. Since these plants have a compact growth cycle and a short lifespan, it’s important to start LST at the right time to avoid stunting their growth or causing unnecessary stress.
To determine when to start LST, you should wait until your plant has developed at least two or three nodes, which is typically around two to three weeks after germination. At this stage, the stem is still flexible enough to bend without breaking, and the plant is mature enough to handle the stress of LST without stunting its growth.
However, it’s important to not start LST too early or wait too long as this can affect the effectiveness of the training. Starting too early can damage the plant’s delicate stem and stunt its growth, while waiting too long can result in branches that are too rigid to bend.
To avoid these issues, observe your plants closely and check for signs of maturation before starting LST. Once you see the second or third node developing, it’s time to begin the training process.
Tools and Materials:
To successfully train your autoflowering cannabis plants with LST, you’ll need a few tools and materials, including:
- Soft, flexible ties: These can be made from materials such as raffia, fabric, or twist ties. Avoid using string or wire as these can cut into the stem or branches.
- Plant stakes: These are used to anchor the flexible ties and keep the branches in place.
- Scissors: These are used to trim away any leaves or growth that may impede light penetration.
- Gloves: These will protect your hands from any damage or irritation while handling the plant and its branches.
Before starting LST, it’s important to prepare your plant for the training process to minimize any potential damage or stress. Here are a few preparation steps to follow:
- Trim away excess growth: Before bending the stem or branches, trim away any leaves or growth that may impede light penetration or block the training process.
- Water the plant: Make sure your plant is well-hydrated before starting LST to minimize any potential stress or damage.
- Anchor the plant: Make sure your plant is securely anchored in its pot or growing medium to avoid any movement or instability while training.
Tools and Materials
To properly train your autoflowering cannabis plants with LST, you’ll need a few key tools and materials. Make sure you have everything on hand before you begin.
Below is a table that outlines the necessary tools and materials for LST:
|Soft plant ties or wire twist ties||To gently secure the branches in place|
|Scissors or pruning shears||To trim excess foliage and adjust ties as needed|
|Stakes, trellis netting, or other supports||To help prop up branches and support heavy buds|
|Gloves||To protect your hands from thorns and resin|
These tools and materials will help you safely and effectively train your autoflowering cannabis plants with LST. Remember to handle your plants gently and avoid twisting or bending the stems too much. With proper training, you can expect to see bigger yields and healthier plants.
Before starting LST for your autoflowering cannabis plants, it’s important to prepare your materials and tools properly to ensure a successful process. The following preparations should be done:
|String or Garden Twist Ties: These will be used to tie down the branches of the cannabis plant. Avoid using wire, as it can cut into the plant.||Gardening Shears: You’ll need shears or scissors to trim your plant.|
|Bamboo Stakes: Stakes can be used to help support your plant after it’s been trained.||Gloves: Wear gloves to avoid transferring oils or dirt to the cannabis plant.|
|Protective Netting: If you’re growing your plants outdoors, protecting them with netting will help safeguard them from being damaged, eaten, or stepped on.||Watering Can: You should water your cannabis plant before starting LST to ensure it’s properly hydrated.|
Once you have your tools and materials assembled, you’ll want to prepare your cannabis plant for training. First, make sure your plant is healthy and thriving. It should be at least three weeks old and established enough to handle the stress of bending and tying down.
Trim any large fan leaves that might be blocking light. You want to create more space and light penetration for the buds to grow. Remove any unnecessary growth, such as small branches close to the main stem, to prevent crowding and boost yield.
If you’re just starting with LST, select one or two branches to train. Once you’ve had some practice and understand how the process works, you can train more branches for even greater yield.
Remember to be gentle with your plant during preparation, as well as during training. While LST can be beneficial to your cannabis plant, it’s important to avoid causing any damage or stressing your plant too much.
How to Train Autoflowering Cannabis Plants with LST
Now that you know the benefits of low stress training (LST) for autoflowering cannabis plants, it’s time to learn how to do it. This technique requires some precise steps to ensure that you don’t damage your plants, but with the right tools and a bit of patience, you’ll be able to train your plants to grow in the exact shape you want them to. Follow these step-by-step instructions to successfully train your autoflowering cannabis plants with LST.
Step 1: Bending the Stem
To begin training autoflowering cannabis plants with LST, the first step is to bend the stem in a gentle and controlled manner. This process allows for the creation of a wider and flatter canopy, which will increase light exposure to lower branches and improve overall plant health and yield.
When performing this step, it is important to have the necessary tools and materials, such as soft plant ties and support stakes. It is also important to have patience and take care not to damage the plant.
To bend the stem, follow these steps:
|Step 1||Identify the top or main stem of the plant.|
|Step 2||Gently grasp the main stem just below the top node with one hand.|
|Step 3||With the other hand, bend the stem downwards and away from the main growth tip.|
|Step 4||Continue bending the stem until it is at a 90-degree angle or until it begins to resist bending.|
|Step 5||Carefully secure the bent stem to the soil using a support stake and a soft plant tie.|
It is important not to bend the stem too forcefully or at an extreme angle, as this can cause damage to the plant. It is also important not to attempt to bend the stem too early in the plant’s growth cycle, as it may not yet have sufficient structural support.
By following these steps and making sure to be gentle and patient, you can successfully bend the stem of your autoflowering cannabis plant and begin the process of LST.
Step 2: Securing the Branches
After bending the main stem, it’s time to secure the branches in the desired position using ties. This is a crucial step in LST as it ensures that the branches remain bent and do not snap back into their original position. Here’s how to secure the branches in just a few simple steps:
|Step 1:||Take the tie and wrap it around the base of the bent branch, leaving a little bit of slack so as not to restrict the circulation of nutrients and water to the branch.|
|Step 2:||Once you’ve wrapped the tie around the base of the branch, take the loose ends of the tie and bring them up and over the base of the bud. This will help to train the bud to grow outwards rather than upwards.|
|Step 3:||Using the loose ends of the tie, secure the branch to the stake by wrapping the tie around the stake and tying it tightly. This will ensure that the branch remains in the desired position.|
|Step 4:||Repeat this process for each branch that you want to train. Be sure to leave ample space between each branch so that they don’t become entangled as they grow.|
Remember that it’s important to check your ties regularly throughout the training process to ensure that they have not become too tight or too loose. If they are too tight, they can restrict the circulation of nutrients and water to the branch, which can cause it to become weak and susceptible to disease. On the other hand, if they are too loose, the branch may snap back into its original position and negate all of your hard work. By following these steps and monitoring your ties throughout the process, you can effectively train your autoflowering cannabis plants using LST and reap the benefits in the form of improved yields and higher quality buds.
Step 3: Adjusting the Ties
After securing the branches in place, it’s important to adjust the ties regularly to prevent any damage to the plant while also ensuring that it continues to grow in the desired direction. Here’s how to adjust the ties:
- Check ties regularly: It’s important to check the ties at least once a day to ensure they are still tight enough to hold the branches in place, but not so tight that they are causing damage.
- Loosen or tighten as needed: If the ties are too loose, the plant may not be getting enough support to grow in the proper direction. Conversely, if the ties are too tight, they could damage or cut into the branches. Adjust the ties as needed to ensure they are providing the right amount of support without causing any harm.
- Monitor growth: As the plant continues to grow, the ties may need to be adjusted again to accommodate new growth. Keep an eye on the plant and adjust the ties accordingly.
- Remove ties when necessary: Once the plant has reached maturity and the stems are strong enough to support themselves, the ties can be removed. Be sure to do this carefully to avoid any damage to the plant.
By following these steps, you can ensure that your autoflowering cannabis plant is properly trained using LST and will produce a higher yield of quality buds.
Step 4: Repeating the Process
Step 4: Repeating the Process
Once the first branch has been successfully trained, it’s time to move onto the next one. Repeat the process of bending, securing, and adjusting ties. It’s important to be gentle and patient with this process, as rushing can lead to mistakes and damage to your plant.
Tip: Work on one branch at a time, starting from the bottom and moving up. This will help ensure even growth and training.
Once all of the branches have been trained, step back and assess the overall appearance of the plant. Are there any areas that need additional training or adjustments? Is the plant growing evenly? Take note of any areas that need attention and make any necessary changes.
Tip: It’s important to continue monitoring your plant and making adjustments as it grows. Don’t be afraid to undo and re-tie branches if necessary. This is all part of the process of training your autoflowering cannabis plant with LST.
Remember, the goal of LST is to create a canopy that is even and open, allowing for light to penetrate to all parts of the plant. With patience and care, you can achieve a healthy, high-yielding autoflowering cannabis plant.
Step 5: Continued Maintenance
After completing the LST process, it is important to continue taking care of the plant with regular maintenance. This includes pruning and supporting the plant as it grows. Here are some tips for continued maintenance of your autoflowering cannabis plant:
|Pruning||Remove any yellowing or dead leaves to encourage new growth and prevent pest infestations. Use sterilized pruning shears to avoid spreading diseases.|
|Supporting||If the plant grows too tall and heavy, it may need support from stakes or trellises. This will prevent the branches from breaking due to the weight of the buds.|
|Watering||Water the plant regularly, but avoid overwatering as it can cause root rot. The soil should be moist but not soaking wet.|
|Fertilizing||Use a balanced fertilizer during the vegetative stage, and switch to a high phosphorus fertilizer during the flowering stage to promote bud development. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer package carefully.|
|Monitoring||Check the plant regularly for any signs of pests or diseases, such as wilting or discoloration. Respond promptly to any issues to prevent them from spreading.|
Following these maintenance tasks will help ensure that your autoflowering cannabis plant continues to grow strong and healthy, with a high yield of potent buds.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
While low-stress training (LST) can greatly enhance a cannabis plant’s growth and yield, there’s always the risk of potential missteps. Even the most experienced growers run into pitfalls when training their autoflowering cannabis plants. These missteps can be costly and time-consuming to rectify, so it’s crucial to avoid them as much as possible. In this section, we’ll discuss some common mistakes you should be aware of when LSTing your plants, and how to avoid them to ensure the best possible results.
Undertraining or Overtraining
One common mistake that many growers make when training autoflowering cannabis plants with LST is either undertraining or overtraining the plant. Both of these mistakes can have negative consequences for the plant’s growth and ultimately impact its yield.
Undertraining: When a plant is undertrained, it means that not enough branches or stems have been bent or manipulated. As a result, the plant may grow too tall and thin, and it may not produce as many flowers as it could have. Undertrained plants may also be more susceptible to damage from wind or heavy buds.
Overtraining: On the other hand, overtraining occurs when too many branches or stems are bent or manipulated. Overtraining can cause the plant to become too bushy or wide, which can limit light penetration and airflow. Overtrained plants may also produce smaller buds and fewer flowers.
To avoid undertraining or overtraining your autoflowering cannabis plants with LST, it is important to carefully monitor the plant’s growth and adjust your training techniques accordingly. It’s also essential to follow proper LST techniques to ensure that the plant is bending and securing correctly without causing damage or stunting growth.
Breaking the Stem or Branches
Training autoflowering cannabis plants with LST can be a delicate process, and breaking the stem or branches is one of the most common mistakes made by growers. This mistake often occurs when too much pressure is applied to the stem or branches during bending or tying. In order to prevent this mistake, it’s important to know the signs of a healthy and strong stem, as well as the tools and techniques necessary to prevent damage.
Signs of a Healthy and Strong Stem:
– Flexibility: The stem should be slightly flexible and able to bend without snapping.
– Thickness: The stem should be thick enough to support the weight of the plant and its buds.
– Color: The stem should be green and healthy-looking, not yellow or brown.
Tools and Techniques to Prevent Damage:
– Use soft and flexible ties: Soft materials, such as string or twine, should be used to tie the branches to the pot or each other. Avoid using materials that are too stiff or rough, as this can cause damage to the stem or branches.
– Apply gentle pressure: When bending the stem or branches, be gentle and apply pressure slowly. Avoid applying too much pressure all at once, which can cause the stem or branches to snap.
– Keep an eye on the plant: After training the plants with LST, monitor them closely over the next few days for any signs of damage. If the stem or branches appear to be wilting, or if the leaves are turning yellow or brown, this may indicate that the plant is under stress and needs immediate attention.
Training autoflowering cannabis plants with LST is a great way to improve light penetration, increase yield, and save space. By following the proper tools and techniques to prevent damage to the stem or branches, growers can successfully train their plants and achieve a bountiful harvest.
Improper Tying Technique
One of the most common mistakes in LST training is improper tying technique. This can lead to a range of potential problems that can negatively affect plant growth and yield. It’s important to understand how to tie the branches properly to avoid any issues.
What is Improper Tying Technique?
Improper tying technique can be defined as tying the branches too tightly or loosely, using the wrong type of tie, or tying the wrong part of the plant. When branches are tied too tightly, it can damage the plant’s vascular system and prevent proper nutrient flow. On the other hand, if the tie is not tight enough, it won’t effectively hold the branch down, and the branch may spring back up. Additionally, if the wrong part of the plant is tied, it can limit growth and cause the plant to become stunted.
How to Prevent Improper Tying Technique
To prevent improper tying technique, it’s important to use the right type of tie and to tie the branches carefully. Some commonly used ties for LST include gardening wire, plant tape, and twist ties. These ties are flexible enough to move with the plant as it grows but strong enough to hold the branches in place.
When tying the branches, start by gently bending the branch downwards and using the tie to secure it in place. The tie should be tight enough to hold the branch down but not so tight that it damages the plant. Additionally, it’s important to tie the branch to the pot or grow container to prevent it from moving around.
The Consequences of Improper Tying Technique
If the branches are tied too tightly, it can cause damage to the plant’s vascular system and limit growth. This can lead to a decreased yield and poor quality buds. If the tie is not tight enough, the branch may spring back up, which defeats the purpose of LST training. Finally, tying the wrong part of the plant can also cause issues with growth and development.
Improper tying technique is a common mistake that growers make when training autoflowering cannabis plants with LST. By taking the time to understand the proper technique and using the right type of tie, growers can avoid the negative consequences and help their plants grow properly.
In conclusion, training autoflowering cannabis plants with LST can be an effective method for improving yields and overall plant health. By carefully bending and securing branches, growers can enhance light penetration and maximize space efficiency. However, it’s important to approach LST with care and attention, as mistakes such as overtraining or breaking stems can result in stunted growth or even plant death.
To successfully train your plants using LST, it’s crucial to prepare adequately and use the right tools and materials for the job. Timing is also key, as plants need to be trained at the right stage of their growth cycle to avoid damaging the stems and branches. With practice, growers can learn to adjust their tying technique and repeat the process as needed, giving their plants the support and structure they require for healthy, robust growth.
Ultimately, successful LST requires patience, attention to detail, and a willingness to make adjustments as needed. By avoiding common mistakes and taking care to monitor your plants’ progress, you can experience the numerous benefits of LST for autoflowering cannabis, including increased yields and more efficient use of space. With these tips and guidance, you can become a skilled LST grower and enjoy a successful, thriving cannabis garden.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does LST take to show results?
Results vary depending on the strain, but some growers report seeing results as early as a week after starting LST.
Do I need any special tools or materials for LST?
No, LST can be done with everyday materials such as gardening wire, twist ties, and soft fabric ties.
Can LST be done on all autoflowering cannabis strains?
Yes, LST can be done on all autoflowering cannabis strains, but some may respond better than others.
When is the best time to start LST?
The best time to start LST is when the plant has about 4-6 nodes and is still in the vegetative stage.
What is the ideal distance between the light and the plant during LST?
During LST, the light should be kept about 12-18 inches away from the plant to prevent any heat damage.
Can LST help prevent cannabis plants from growing too tall?
Yes, LST can help prevent cannabis plants from growing too tall by encouraging horizontal growth instead of vertical growth.
Can LST be done during the flowering stage?
LST can still be done during the flowering stage, but it may cause some stress to the plant and affect the final yield.
What are some other training techniques for autoflowering cannabis plants?
Some other training techniques for autoflowering cannabis plants include topping, fiming, and super cropping.
Can LST be done outdoors?
Yes, LST can be done outdoors, but it may require more frequent maintenance due to weather conditions and pests.
How many times can LST be done on a single plant?
LST can be done multiple times on a single plant as long as it is done carefully and does not cause too much stress to the plant.