What is super cropping? It is a yield-oriented high-stress technique that involves breaking the inner fibers of the plant while carefully ensuring the outer layer (epidermis) remains intact. This is one of the most used techniques by cannabis cultivators aiming for a higher yield and an even canopy. If you are a new cultivator or a cannabis enthusiast, you have probably come across the name ‘super cropping’ a couple of times. This article offers all the answers you might have regarding this technique, including what it’s all about, how to set up and do super cropping, tips to increase the technique’s effectiveness, and the principle behind damaging the inner fibre of the plants.
What is the idea behind super cropping?
Cacti have spines, foxgloves produce deadly chemicals, and poison ivy contains? If you said poison, guess again. It actually contains urushiol, an oily resin that causes skin irritation. All these are defense mechanisms that plants employ to defend themselves against intruders. In the same way cactus, foxgloves, and poison ivy employ such mechanisms, so do cannabis plants.
When cannabis plants are faced with danger, THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol acts as their defense against attackers. It is believed that plant-fiending predators are either repulsed by the unpleasant taste or the psychoactive effects. Consequently, every time a cannabis plant is stressed or hurt, it focuses its energy on the production of THC and other cannabinoids.
From the long story narrated above, you can begin to understand how super cropping plays a large part in producing multiple buds with a high potency level. When the branches are bent/stressed, the plant grows vigorously, and THC levels are elevated. Super cropping triggers the plants’ defensive mechanism, leading to a higher uptake of resources for robust growth. Learning how to stress the marijuana plants through super cropping without damaging them is a sure way of securing multiple, massive, top-shelf, and potent buds.
When is the right time to super crop cannabis plants?
The right time to super crop cannabis plants depends on the cultivator’s experience and the purpose of super cropping the plants. Less experienced cultivators are advised to super crop their plants a week before flipping to flower. Supercropping during flower can be done; however, to give the plant enough time to recover before it begins budding, it’s best done in the final stages of veg.
More experienced growers will super crop the cannabis plants twice: a few days before flipping to flower and two weeks into the flowering stage as the plants experience rapid growth, aka stretching. Some cultivators will super crop the plants during the early vegetative stage to foster an increased growth rate and a sturdier structure.
Expert growers have probably conducted super cropping more than a dozen times. This means they know what works and what doesn’t. This places them in a unique position to creatively play around with the technique for optimum results.
The general rule is you should only super crop marijuana plants when they are at optimum health. Avoid stress-training plants when they are battling nutrient deficiency or burn, powdery mildew, heat stress, pest infestation, or dehydration. The plant’s health is paramount as it directly affects the outcome in terms of yields, bud quality, and potency.
Super cropping cannabis plants
Super cropping is a straightforward, effective, and easy to execute (with the right skills and knowledge) training technique. When done correctly, this technique can be a game-changer. However, an unsuccessful attempt to super crop cannabis plants may lead to a disaster characterized by stunted growth, compromised yield, and diseases.
Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about all this because this guide contains all the information and tips needed to execute super cropping seamlessly. First, what super cropping tool do you know? You will require duct tape, your fingers, growing experience, and a lot of patience. Below is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to super crop cannabis plants.
Step 1: Select the ideal branches for super cropping
Choose branches with increased vertical growth as super cropping will help control the height to create an even canopy. The branches need to be mature but bendable. Picking green branches over woody ones is preferred since they are easily pliable. For plants with multiple colas, bend the plant in the exact location for all colas. If it’s a single cola, super crop the bendy part near the top. Pick branches, which, when bent, will create an even canopy. This, in turn, leads to equal light distribution and creates a bushy appearance.
Step 2: Super crop the bendy branches
Bend the branches with the aim of hurting/damaging the plant’s inner tissues without destroying the epidermis (outer layer). When the internal tissues break apart and become pliable, bending the plants and directing them in the preferred direction becomes easier.
Take the target branch and place it between the forefinger and the thumb. Apply moderate pressure on the branch, while wiggling it for up to a minute. This helps to loosen/soften the area where you want to make the bend. Continue with the wiggling until you feel the stem softening. Once the stem becomes pliable, bend it in the desired direction.
Keep in mind that cannabis plants are very resilient, so if the bending is not done correctly, the branch will return to its initial position in a matter of hours. To determine if the bending was successful, examine the branch. The work has been done to perfection if it’s at a 90-degree angle. Ensure the plant stays in this position by tying it down using rubber-covered ties.
Image credit: IntheShed from 420 Magazine Community
Step 3: Fixing epidermis damage and tying the branch down
If everything goes well, you won’t need to fix anything. Simply use zip ties to tie the branches down and continue observing the plant. If you have snapped the branches or damaged the outer layer, do not fret! Take the duct tape we had mentioned earlier and cover the affected areas. You can expect the plant to recover within a few days.
The bandaged area will eventually heal into a thick knot-like stem. This will create a large surface area to transport nutrients, water, and other resources. This, in turn, leads to a healthy plant that produces top-tier bud quality and high THC and other cannabinoids production. The thick stems also provide support to the heavy colas during the flowering phase.
Step 4: Removing the duct tape
Wait for at least a week before removing the duct tape. You may notice some discoloration at the bending site. This should not worry you; it means that the plant is healing and will soon gain a normal appearance. A gray hue at a healing site that appears freshly wounded means the plant has not recovered. Return the duct tape and allow the plant to health further. The longer recovery time does not hinder the plant’s ability to transport essential resources.
Pros and cons of super cropping cannabis
Below is a highlight of the pros and cons of super cropping cannabis plants
|Encourages vigorous growth||May lead to infection in the areas where the plant is bent if not properly taken care of|
|Easy to execute with practice||A slight mistake may affect overall yield and bud quality|
|Gives cultivators control over plant height and structure||Slow plant recovery time will prolong the growth duration|
|Better, high-quality, and highly potent buds|
|Inexpensive as all is needed is the grower’s fingers, duct tape, and patience. There is no requirement to use expensive equipment or super cropping tools|
FAQs on super cropping
Can I super crop autoflowers?
Depending on the cultivator’s super cropping techniques, it is possible to super crop autoflowers. The process must be seamless since the plants have limited time to recover. Super cropping flowers is warranted when the central stem presents growth dominance, which ultimately affects the quality of buds on the lower branches. The technique will help create an even canopy that receives an equal distribution of light. Novice growers are discouraged from super cropping autoflowers since a slight mistake can significantly affect yield.
Is it possible to super crop the main stem?
Yes. Super cropping the main stem is possible as long as the plant is experiencing continuous growth. When bent, the stem will recover in a few days and continue to grow, curving back around eventually. If you super crop the central stem when the plant is no longer growing, it wouldn’t be able to grow back up, which is dangerous.
What other training techniques can cultivators utilize alongside super cropping? Supercropping vs LST
Super cropping can be combined with other training techniques to increase yields. Mainlining, LST and pruning are some of the techniques that perfectly complement super cropping.
Mainlining: involves splitting the main stem into manifolds (by topping the main stem) )to ensure equal distribution of resources from the root to the flowers.
LST: this technique involves bending cannabis stems and branches to push them to grow horizontally, parallel to the ground. Super cropping and LST are essential in facilitating light penetration and controlling vertical growth as the plants experience a growth spurt.
Defoliation/pruning: conduct selective leaf pruning once the plants grow vigorously and start to crowd. Remove dead or yellowing leaves and those blocking light from reaching buds. Also, remove branches with less than ideal bud sites, especially those at the bottom of the plant that do not receive sufficient light. This helps divert energy to the upper branches, leading to a bountiful yield.
Top strains to super crop
Since super cropping is an excellent technique to limit vertical growth. It is best utilized when growing strains that tend to stretch vertically excessively, such as Sativa. This is especially true when working in a grow room with limited vertical space. Below is a list of strains that would do exceptionally well when super cropped.