Cannabis home-growers put a lot of time and effort into cultivating their favorite strains. Understandably, everyone who takes the initiative to grow weed wants to get the most for their hard work. An easy way to ensure you get the highest yields from your cannabis is to use a tried-and-true training technique. While plant training isn’t essential to healthy indoor cultivation, it can dramatically increase harvests. As a bonus, most training methods don’t require much labor or skill.
What You Should Know About ScrOG Growing For Cannabis
While there are many training strategies to choose from, ScrOG is one of the most frequently recommended techniques. Short for “Screen of Green,” the ScrOG method is simple to understand, low maintenance, and doesn’t put too much stress on cannabis plants. Plus, when performed correctly, ScrOG will increase the size and number of buds on your plants. Even if you’re new to cannabis cultivation, you should consider adding ScrOG to your setup.
The What & Why Of ScrOG Cannabis Growing
“Screen of Green” gardening involves placing a “screen” over your plants to gently bend them. The purpose of using this method is to increase light penetration in your strains. Without the ScrOG technique, your cannabis plant would grow vertically with one central cola. The resistance from the screen helps flatten out your canopy, which increases the light penetration to more potential bud sites. As a result, you will have a larger and more evenly distributed yield once your cannabis plants reach maturity.
Besides increasing yield, ScrOG helps decrease the risk of mold and mildew. Plants grown with ScrOG tend to be better spread out, which helps improve air circulation in your grow room.
How To Use The ScrOG Method When Growing Weed
ScrOG is one of the most straightforward training strategies to explain and implement. All you have to do is buy or build a screen that fits over your cannabis plants. You also need a way to easily raise this screen as your cannabis plant grows.
Many cannabis cultivators prefer making a frame with timber, but it’s also common to use PVC pipes for this task. Always make your ScrOG screen a smidge smaller than your grow tent’s dimensions to get the most out of this technique.
You’ll also need to use some type of string to make the netting on your DIY screen. Generally, cannabis growers recommend using a soft material like string for this task. Since this material will rub against your plants, you don’t want to use products like chicken wire that can easily scratch or damage your branches.
Aim to create squares with a diameter of 5 cm each while attaching your strings. These openings provide the optimal space for growers to bend and weave their cannabis plants while they mature.
You can gently lower this screen till it reaches about ½ foot above your plant’s base. Most cultivators recommend waiting until your plant is in mid-vegetation to start using your ScrOG screen. As a point of reference, wait till your vegetative plant has four or five nodes. Whenever you notice your cannabis branches reaching through the screen’s openings, you’ll need to gently “tuck” them underneath through another square.
Does ScrOG Work For All Cannabis Strains?
The ScrOG method will work with any cannabis strain, but it’s most effective on sativa cultivars. Strains with heavy sativa genetics tend to grow tall and skinny. This makes sativa strains easier to bend through ScrOG screens. Also, since sativas grow super tall, they tend to benefit the most from ScrOG growing (especially in small grow tents).
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use ScrOG with indicas or even autoflowering flowers. It’s a good idea to keep a grow journal with every strain you use ScrOG with and then compare yields with other training strategies. You will find that specific strain genetics respond better to different techniques.
By the way, you could learn more about growing autos on this previous International High Life post.
Will ScrOG Put Extra Stress On Cannabis Plants?
Every training technique will put extra stress on your cannabis flowers. However, ScrOG is often considered a “low-stress” strategy. Unlike topping and FIMming, ScrOG doesn’t cause direct damage to your cannabis plants. As long as your strains are healthy, they shouldn’t have difficulty adjusting to the slight strain of a ScrOG screen.
Just be sure you double-check your cannabis strain has no signs of weakness, infection, or nutrient deficiencies before using a ScrOG screen. If you need help identifying common cannabis issues, read our post on “Yellow Cannabis Leaves.”
Can You Use ScrOG With Other Training Methods?
Cannabis cultivators commonly use ScrOG with other training methods. Most notably, many growers will “top” their cannabis plants before lowering their ScrOG screen. “Topping” refers to a high-stress training technique in which growers cut the top bud site on their central stem. Topping will produce two central colas and force your cannabis plant to grow more horizontally. Not only does this increase your cannabis plant’s potential yield, it will make it easier to manage under a ScrOG screen.
Just keep in mind that topping is a high-stress strategy. While it’s common for cultivators to top their cannabis plants, you must ensure your plant is healthy enough to handle this sharp cut. Never use topping if you notice signs of weakness in your weed plants. Also, if you use cannabis topping, please make sure you use sharp & sterile scissors.
See If ScrOG Is Suitable For Your Strain’s Growth
It’s easy to see why ScrOG has caught on in cannabis growing circles. All you need to do is place a screen over your plants and weave them through as they grow. The larger yields associated with ScrOG more than make up for the time and labor involved in making this screen.
Although ScrOG works well for many growers, there may be better choices for some cultivators. For instance, some strains seem to do better with bending and “cannabis bonsai.” Also, as mentioned above, high-stress techniques like topping can produce high yields.
Choosing the best training strategy largely depends on what strain you’re growing. Review what pro growers say about your favorite strains in reputable cannabis forums. You could also ask experienced budtenders for advice at legal dispensaries. The more knowledge you have about your strain’s grow patterns, the easier time you’ll have figuring out the best training technique for max yields.