What are different LST methods?
Autoflower LST training is all about directing growth without causing the plant undue stress. There are several methods to achieve this, each with its own set of benefits and considerations.
How to Scrog Autoflowers
The Screen of Green (Scrog) method involves placing a mesh screen above the canopy of your autoflowers. As the plant grows, you then weave the branches through the screen, which not only supports them but also exposes more bud sites to light.
- Understanding the Principle:
- The objective of ScrOG remains the same: cultivate an even canopy to optimize light exposure, leading to consistent bud growth across the plant.
- Setting Up Your Screen:
- Place a screen or netting around 15 to 20 inches above your pots, considering the typically shorter stature of autoflowers.
- Utilize sturdy wire, string, or commercial plant netting with openings of approximately 2×2 inches.
- Choosing and Preparing Your Autoflowers:
- Ideally you should choose autoflower strains known for bushier or lateral growth, as they’ll adapt better to the ScrOG method.
- Since autoflowers transition to flowering based on age, it’s crucial to start training early, often as soon as the plant has established 3-4 nodes.
- Training the Plants:
- As your autoflowers grow, gently weave or guide the branches into the screen’s openings to promote a flat, even canopy.
- Given the rapid growth cycle of autoflowers, monitor them daily and adjust as necessary.
- Maintenance During the Short Growth Window:
- Prune any growth below the screen carefully. With autoflowers, it’s vital not to over-prune, as they have less recovery time. Focus on larger, light-blocking fan leaves or unnecessary growth that doesn’t receive adequate light.
- Improved airflow from pruning reduces mold and pest risks, crucial for the dense canopy ScrOG can create.
- Due to the even canopy and optimized light exposure, your autoflower buds should mature uniformly, yielding consistent size and quality.
How to Tie and Bend Autoflowers
This method is really straightforward but effective. The tie and bend approach to LST uses soft plant or garden ties to gently bend the branches down and away from the center of the plant. This exposes the inner bud sites and allows for better light penetration.
- Select the Right Plants:
- While any cannabis plant can benefit from LST, it’s often used with photoperiod strains or taller autoflowers. However, when growing autoflowers with LST because they have such a short veg stage you need to make sure you begin tieing the branches down early before your plants begin to flower.
- Starting LST Early:
- Begin LST when your autoflower is out of the seedling stage and in the early vegetative stage. You need to begin early with autoflowers as they can start to flower in just 3-5 weeks.
- The Tie and Bend Process:
- Gently bend the main stem towards the horizontal, being careful not to snap it. The goal is to get secondary branches to rise and become dominant.
- Use soft ties, like gardening wire, twist ties, or even soft string, to anchor the main stem to the side of the pot or the ground.
- As side branches extend and grow taller, they too can be bent and tied down, creating a spiral or star pattern as they radiate out from the center.
- Monitoring and Adjusting:
- Continue to adjust and tie down new growth as the plant develops. Remember, the goal is to maintain an even canopy.
- Ensure ties are not cutting into the plant stems. Regularly check and adjust ties as the plant grows.
- Optimizing Light Exposure:
- With a flatter and more spread-out canopy, more bud sites are exposed to light. Ensure your light source covers the entire plant canopy evenly.
- Rotate your plant periodically if using a stationary light source to ensure all sides receive equal light.
How to SOG (Sea of Green) Autoflowers
Sea of Green (SOG) is not really a plant training method, but more of a style of growing because you don’t have to really do anything to manipulate the actual plant like in the previous two methods. SOG focuses on growing lots of small plants in close proximity making the best possible use of all of the available space. This technique isn’t traditional LST but can work well with autoflowers due to their naturally small size. It is an excellent way to grow if you are a large scale grower because it involves less hassle and although the plants individually wont grow enormous, it can yield great results per square meter of grow space when you add all of that bud together.
- Selecting the Right Strains:
- It’s best to use autoflowering cannabis seeds when using the SOG approach. Thats because they are compact and grow quickly, making them ideal for this style of growing lots of plants in a small space.
- Grow Multiple Autoflower Plants Close Together:
- Use pots that are 2 to 5 gallons in size to ensure plants remain relatively small.
- Plant your cannabis plants close together, making sure they’re not so close that they prevent airflow or compete fiercely for light.
- The close proximity encourages the plants to grow vertically rather than horizontally.
- Lighting and the Vegetative Phase:
- Limit the vegetative period to encourage early flowering. Autoflowers don’t require a light cycle shift to begin flowering. However, most growers use a light schedule of 18 hours on and 6 hours off during the vegetative and flowering stages.
- Use LED or CFL lighting to avoid excessive heat and optimize light distribution.
- Training and Pruning:
- Minimal training is required with SoG, but it can be beneficial. If you have time to you can use the tie and bend or ScrOG net methods with your SOG grow to gently bend young plants as they grow.
- Regularly prune the lower branches and leaves, which get little light. This ensures the plant directs its energy to the main canopy.
- Monitor your plants closely as they mature. The goal is to have a consistent “sea of green” where the canopy is filled with bud sites.
- Harvest when the majority of the trichomes on your buds turn milky white or amber, typically indicated by 70-90% of the pistils turning brown.
- Since the plants mature at roughly the same time, you can typically harvest all of them simultaneously.
This method is especially effective for quick harvests and making the most out of limited space.
Each method has its own advantages and challenges, but the core principle remains the same: manipulate your plant’s growth to maximize light exposure, leading to higher yields.
Which is the best LST technique for autoflowers?
All of the techniques have their own advantages and drawbacks so it really depends on your goals, available space, and strain you’re cultivating and how much time you have to give to growing your plants. While there’s no one-size-fits-all method, here are key factors to consider:
- Yield goals: If you’re after maximized yields, techniques like Scrogging can be more beneficial.
- Space constraints: In limited space, tying and bending methods can help maintain a compact plant size.
- Ease of use: For beginners, the tying and bending technique is usually easier to implement than the more advanced Scrog or SOG methods.
- Strain flexibility: Autoflower strains may have specific needs, so make sure to research the best techniques for your chosen strain.
Which LST method should you use?
The SOG approach is all about efficiency and using the available resources and space you have as effectively as possible. There is not much point using the Sea of Green method if you are growing just for yourself and only plan to grow 2-4 plants. The SOG approach is much better suited to larger scale grows where you can fill an entire grow room with lots of small plants. Filling an entire grow room and using the LST method on hundreds of little plants would take hours of dedicated time, but using the SOG method you can grow lots of little plants to product lots of bud.
ScrOG on the other hand is not the easiest technique for large scale grow operations, simply because you need something to attach your ScrOG net to. To get around this you can get ScrOG nets that sort of wrap around the plant, or you can simply utilise some bamboo or garden stakes to hold the net. However, I have always found this quite fiddly.
When should I start low stress training autoflowers?
Timing is crucial when it comes to low stress training (LST) of autoflowers. You have to start LST during the early vegetative stage, roughly two to three weeks after the seeds have sprouted. At this point, the plant has established a strong enough root system and has multiple nodes, making it resilient enough for training. If you leave it any later then the plants will be too close to the flowering stage and you won’t gain much benefit from it and could actually stress the plants as they come into the flowering period.
Here’s a quick guide:
- Seedling phase: Avoid LST during this stage. The plant is too fragile.
- Early vegetative stage: This is the ideal time to start LST. Aim for when the plant has developed 4–6 nodes.
- Late Vegetative Stage: At this point, it might be too late for effective LST as the plant starts flowering soon.
- Flowering phase: Generally, avoid LST during flowering. Stress can negatively impact bud development.
Remember, autoflowers are on a tight schedule. Start too late, and you’ll miss maximizing your yields. Start too early, and you risk damaging the plant. Keep an eye on the growth stages to get the timing just right.
HST vs LST for autoflowers
When training cannabis plants, you’ll often encounter two major techniques: High Stress Training (HST) and Low Stress Training (LST). But which one suits autoflowers best?
HST (High Stress Training):
HST techniques, such as topping and supercropping, are more aggressive. These methods involve cutting or snapping the plant stems. Due to the short life cycle of autoflowers, HST is generally not recommended. Topping for example requires cutting the top of the plant off at around weeks 3-4, however for some autoflowers this may be too close to the flowering stage to allow the plant sufficient time to recover from the inflited stress. The result could be that you stunt your plants growth just as it is about to begin producing its buds.
On the other hand, LST is a more gentle approach. Techniques include bending and tying down stems to direct growth. LST is ideal for autoflowers due to their rapid and predetermined flowering times. It minimizes stress while maximizing light exposure, thereby boosting yields.
Does Low Stress Training increase yield?
Absolutely, low stress training (LST) done right can increase the yield of a plant by up to 200%! It is a proven method to increase yield in autoflowering cannabis plants. By bending and securing the branches, you create a more even canopy. This allows for optimal light distribution, encouraging multiple bud sites and thus, a higher yield.
Is Low Stress Training worth it?
Certainly. Beyond increased yields, LST offers other benefits like better light penetration and improved air circulation. These factors contribute to the overall health and potency of your plants. In essence, the time you invest in LST pays off in higher quality buds. Plus, it’s a technique suitable for both novice and experienced growers.
Is LST or topping better?
LST and topping are both effective in their own right, but they serve different purposes. Topping involves cutting off the main shoot, which can be stressful for the plant. While it’s effective for photoperiod strains, autoflowers might not recover as quickly due to their shorter lifecycle. LST, being less stressful, is generally better suited for autoflowers.
How do I stop my autoflower from getting too tall?
If height is a concern, LST is your go-to technique. By bending and tying down branches, you can control the vertical growth of your plant. This is especially useful for indoor growers with limited space. So, instead of letting your autoflower grow tall and lanky, use LST to keep it compact and bushy. Remember, the key is to start early to effectively manage height.
You’ve got the rundown on low stress training for autoflowers! From increasing yields to managing height, LST is your go-to technique. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned grower, applying these tips can elevate your next cannabis grow to pro levels. So why wait? Give LST a try and reap the benefits. Don’t forget to like and share this article!