Small stem from a plant

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How To Fix Broken And Bent Cannabis Stems

Broken, bent, or detached stems are common growing problems, especially for first-time growers. They have the potential to seriously endanger your grow and limit your final yield. However, with care and attention, these issues can be fixed quite easily. Even branches that have completely snapped off the plant can be saved by using a few simple methods.

WHAT CAUSES BROKEN OR BENT STEMS?

Stems can be damaged by something as simple as moving plants carelessly. This can especially be a problem with plants that are more rigid and upright. Moreover, damage from wind or excess airflow can similarly damage branches and stems.

Stems and branches can also be broken or bent from the utilisation of growing techniques like low-stress and high-stress training methods. Techniques that bend or otherwise stress branches inherently have the potential to lead to stem complications. Even if branches don’t split or break completely, the damage caused by bending them too much can harm plant vigour and production.

It is important to treat broken or otherwise damaged stems quickly. Open wounds can lead to infections in the plant, similar to humans. These kinds of breaks and open wounds will not only lead to a lower yield, but have the potential to kill the plant altogether.

WHAT KIND OF DAMAGE TYPICALLY HAPPENS TO STEMS?

The three most common types of stem damage are broken or split stems, bent or folded stems, and detached stems.

BROKEN STEMS

When training rigid plants, or when training during the flowering phase, plants are at an added risk for broken stems. If left untreated, the branches of these stems will stop growing. These stems can be easily fixed with the tape method or with a support structure. Plants have a natural healing mechanism that will allow them to mend themselves. However, if you act quick enough, you may not even notice a reduction in the plant’s production on these branches.

BENT/FOLDED STEMS

This is the most common type of stem damage that occurs. When branches are bent or stressed too much by training techniques, permanent damage can occur. Bent or folded stems are unable to support themselves. Bends or folds can make it more difficult for branches to receive water and nutrients from the plant. These stems will continue to grow, but at a slower pace than the rest of the plant. This is not just because they are bent, but because their bending makes them hang lower, potentially blocking their exposure to light.

DETACHED STEMS

Branches that have completely snapped off and detached themselves from the plant can be one of the most stressful problems to deal with. Luckily, these detached stems can be healed and mended with the same techniques used for other kinds of stem damage. They simply require more care and attention than bent or broken stems. However, if the detached stem is small, or located towards the bottom of the plant, it may be best to simply toss it away and cut your losses.

HOW CAN YOU FIX BROKEN OR DETACHED STEMS?

The most common method of fixing broken stems is to use the tape method. Both duct tape and scotch tape can be used to help plants heal. Which kind you use will depend on the extent of the damage and the weight of the branch being mended.

Follow these steps to fix your broken stems:

  1. Prepare a piece of tape about 10cm in length (you may need more for larger stems/branches).
  2. Wrap the tape around the broken stem, making sure it fully covers its original base.
  3. Ensure that the stem and its base are packed together tightly to allow mending.
  4. Leave the tape on for between 2–4 weeks.
  5. Check healing progress every day.

Tip: Be sure to wrap the tape around the branch as tightly as possible. Packing everything together will greatly assist the healing process. When removing the tape, take care so as to not damage the stem again. Sometimes the stem may still be fragile or may not have fully healed. In these situations, it is easy to retear the stem unintentionally.

HOW TO FIX BENT STEMS

Bent stems can be fixed with support structures. Follow these steps to fix a bent stem:

  1. Place a thin bit of wood or plastic in the soil, directing it upwards toward the bent stem.
  2. Attach the stem to the support structure with a piece of duct tape.
  3. Leave the support structure in place until the stem is able to stand upright on its own.
  4. Remove the tape and support structure carefully.

Similarly to fixing broken or detached stems, be very careful when removing the tape. Bent stems can be easily damaged again if not careful.

HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOUR PLANTS FROM STEM DAMAGE?

The main way to protect your plants from stem damage is to be careful when handling them, especially when moving your plants, or when utilising training techniques that stress stems or branches. When training your plants and bending your branches, be careful not to overdo it. Plants with rigid stems and structures are especially susceptible to damage. Although it can be easily fixed, it is best to take proper care so as to avoid an issue in the first place.

It is advisable to take proper precautions to protect your plants from excessive wind or airflow damage. Moving air can provide numerous benefits for cannabis plants, including making the stems stronger. However, too much of it can cause significant structural damage, affecting health and yield in kind. In strong enough winds, plants can be toppled over or completely uprooted.

Reinforcing and protecting plants against the wind is simple and inexpensive. It is usually inadvisable to rigidly secure cannabis as this will completely prevent motion. It is much better to keep your plants next to some form of windbreaker. Rows of hedges or trees can act as natural defences. Meanwhile, fences and walls can act as man-made barriers. Bamboo matting, shade cloth, and plastic film can also make for suitable windbreakers. Some growers also prefer to use mesh fences that surround the plants. These fences can then be layered with cloth or plastic to ensure they act as effective barriers.

the plant stem, functions, parts and classifications

The plant stem is a component of the shoot system, the portion of the plant body of the angiosperms having phototropic response. Besides the stem, the plant shoot also consists of the leaves and the reproductive organs.

The crooked stems of lanete tree were used here to build unique and artistic structures

The stem has been described as a “central axis” to which all other parts are attached. In most plants the stems are conspicuous aboveground, but in some species they are hidden below the ground. Based on various criteria, there are other more classifications of the stem.

The first stem that develops from a seed arises from the epicotyl, an embryonic shoot within the seed.

Functions of the Stem

The plant stem including its outermost bark has multiple uses ranging from logs, firewood, lumber, source of pulp for paper making, source of food, fiber, medicine, latex, tannin, dye and many more. It is also the most widely used part for asexual or vegetative plant propagation.

In plant growth and development, the plant stem performs the following functions:

1. It supports the leaves, flowers and fruits and connects them with the roots. In trees and shrubs, the main stem or trunk provides a strong columnar structure from which branches are attached, raising the leaves upward to be exposed more fully to the sun.

2. It conducts water, nutrients and the products of photosynthesis to and from roots and leaves. It accommodates the transport system which is necessary for the vertical and lateral movement of water and sap within the plant body.

3. It helps store water, as in cacti, and the products of photosynthesis, as in the trunk of sago palm (Metroxylon sagu) and sweet palm (Arenga pinnata) which store large stock of starch;

4. Young green stem also performs a minor role in the production of food through the process of photosynthesis, but in some species (e.g. cactus) the stem is the chief photosynthesizing organ.

5. The plant stem serves as a means of asexual reproduction in many plant species. In cogon (Imperata cylindrica) and many grasses, sideward-extending stems called stolons grow into new plants. Potato (Solanum tuberosum) naturally regenerates from modified stems called tuber. Other modified stems which perform functions in regeneration are the runners, rhizomes, and corms. (Click here for examples of important crop plants that can be propagated by modified stems).

Parts of the Stem

All stems of the angiosperms, including those which are highly modified, are recognizable from other plant organs by their presence of nodes, internodes, buds and leaves. A node is a point on the stem from which leaves or buds arise. The portion between two successive nodes is the internode.

A bud is an embryonic stem which has the potential for further plant growth. It may develop into a leaf, flower, or both. Such buds are called leaf buds, flower buds and mixed buds, respectively. Many buds remain dormant within a certain duration or they may be embedded in the stem tissue as to become hardly visible. A single bud that is found at the apex of the stem is called terminal bud while lateral buds or axillary buds occur in the leaf axils, the upper angle between the stem and leaves. As a result of injury, adventitious buds may be formed also in the internode of the stems, in leaves, or roots. The “eyes” of the potato tuber are buds.

In trees and shrubs, the shoot consists of the main stem which is commonly called trunk or bole, their main ascending axis, with lateral branches to which smaller branches and branchlets or twigs are attached.

Besides the obvious leaves and buds, other structures may be present. There may be hairs, which are outgrowths of epidermal cells, and spines, which are either modified twigs, leaves, hairs, or stipules.

In woody stems, the following plant structures may be present in addition to the leaves and buds: leaf scars after the leaves fall, at the point of attachment of the leaves to the stem; bundle scars, the tiny raised dots in the leaf scars which are broken ends of vascular bundles connecting the stem to the petiole of leaves; bud scars which are small, narrow, circular marks around a twig left by the falling away of the bud scales; twig scars left by the falling away of twigs; and fruit scars where fruits are previously attached.

Plant Stem Classifications

Most stems grow above ground and are called aboveground or aerial stems but there are some which grow below the ground, and thus called underground, below-ground or subterranean stems. Plants with no obvious stem above ground, but bear only leaves and flower stalks, are called stemless or acaulescent.

In grass plants like rice, corn and bamboo which belong to the botanical family Gramineae or Poaceae, the main stem is specially called culm. Culms are either hollow or solid stems with pronounced nodes and internodes.

Offshoot is a collective term for the short, thickened lateral shoot or branches with multiple nodes and having rosette-like appearance, growing out of the main stem in certain plants. They are variously called offsets, suckers, slips, pips, etc. A stolon is a stem that grows horizontally along the ground (e.g. Bermuda grass, zoysia grass, mint). A runner is a stolon having long internodes which originate at the base of the crown of the plant (e.g. strawberry). A spur is a stem in woody plants with greatly shortened internodes and restricted growth. They appear laterally on branches. In apple and grape, the production of fruits is largely confined to the spurs. A crown is a compressed stem from which new shoots arise. They are generally found near the surface of the soil (e.g. strawberry, African violet).

As to texture, plant stems are classified as either herbaceous, suffrutescent, or woody. Herbaceous stems, as in the taro or gabi family (Araceae), have no permanent woody tissue, with a short life span, and die soon after flowering. Suffrutescent stems, as in eggplant and jute, are more or less woody or half-woody, usually at the basal part. Woody stems, as in all shrubs and trees, form permanent woody tissue which persist indefinitely. The woody portion of the stem is made of secondary xylem.

As to direction, plant stems are either erect, ascending, decumbent, prostrate, creeping, climbing, or twining. Stems are erect when they grow vertically upward in a direction that is perpendicular from the base; ascending when rising obliquely or in slanting direction; decumbent when more or less reclining on the ground at or near the base; prostrate when lying flat on the ground; creeping when growing flat on the ground and rooting on the nodes; climbing or scandent when rising by clinging to other objects by means of tendrils, rootlets, or other specialized organs; and twining when rising by coiling around other stems or objects.

Based on the arrangement of branches and leaves, plant stems are opposite when two are formed at the same node from opposite sides of the stem; whorled or verticillate when three or more arise from the same node in regular arrangement around the stem; fascicled or fasciculate when two or more arise in cluster from the same node on one side of the stem; alternate when one is formed at each node on one side, and the next above or below on the opposite side of the stem; distichous when regularly arranged in two ranks, one above another in two opposite rows; and secund when all are turned to one side.

Want to know the kinds of plant stems and examples of plants we eat?

(Ben G. Bareja 2010, edited Apr. 8, 2019)

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Plant Biology: Roots, Shoots, Stems, and Leaves

By Peter J. Mikulecky, Michelle Rose Gilman, Brian Peterson

Your basic vascular plant parts are roots, shoots, stems, and leaves. Of course, there’s a wealth of variety within these types or parts, but it boils down to those four. Each part has distinct functions. Together, these parts reflect how vascular plants evolved to inhabit two distinct environments at the same time: the soil and the air. Why would plants do such a thing? The soil offers water and vital minerals. The air offers carbon dioxide and the energy of sunlight. To forge the successful lifestyles they enjoy today, plants evolved systems to tap into all these resources, both above and below the ground. In short, plants evolved roots and shoots. Shoots, in turn, can develop stems and leaves.

Roots

Roots are branched, underground structures that serve two major functions. First, somewhat obviously, roots firmly anchor the plant to a fixed spot. Once a plant takes root and begins to grow in an area with good access to moisture, soil nutrients, and light, it pays to stay. Second, roots serve as transport systems, allowing the plant to suck up water and dissolved nutrients from the soil to support the plant’s growth. Roots have specialized parts that develop from the three major types of plant tissue: ground, dermal, and vascular.

Shoots

Shoots target the above-ground business of the plant. Very young plants may possess only simple, undeveloped shoots. As a plant grows, however, these tender shoots develop into stems and leaves. So, stems and leaves are really part of the shoot system. Stems and leaves are so different and specialized that it is worth considering them separately. Overall, the shoot system enables a plant to grow taller to gain access to energy-giving light, and allows the plant to convert that light energy into the chemical energy of sugar. Like roots, shoots develop from ground, dermal, and vascular tissues.

Stems

Stems are sturdy structures that grow in order to give a plant a fighting chance to spread its leaves in the sun. Stem growth can add to the plant’s height, broaden the area covered by the leaves, or even direct growth from a dark area toward one with more light. To provide mechanical support for a growing plant, stems need to be strong. To help move water and nutrients to the furthest reaches of the plant, stems are stuffed with little transport pipes in the form of xylem and phloem.

Leaves

Leaves are the original solar panels, capturing energy from sunlight in a biochemical process called photosynthesis. The cells within leaf tissues are hectic with biochemistry, importing water and nutrients to support their frantic work, and exporting sugar to provide energy to the remainder of the plant. The import/export business conducted by the leaves is supported by xylem and phloem pipelines, which explains why leaves are so richly veined.

Transport in Plants

TRANSPORT- GET MOVIN’

Transport is the movement of things from one place to other. It happens all the time. For example, you might transport the stinky bag of trash in your kitchen to the curb for garbage pickup. Or you might be transported from the bus stop to school or work. Transport happens inside our bodies, too. Our heart is connected to a superhighway network of veins and blood vessels that make up our circulatory system, which is responsible for transporting nutrients from the burger you ate throughout your body from your nose to your toes.

TRANSPORT IN PLANTS?

What about transport in plants, how does a Redwood, one of the tallest trees in the world, move water from the soil to the needles on its tallest branches over 300 ft in the air? (That’s over 30 stories high!) Or how does a carrot transport the sugars made in its green, leafy tops below the surface of the soil to grow a sweet, orange taproot? Well, certain types of plants (vascular plants) have a system for transporting water, minerals, and nutrients (food!) throughout their bodies; it’s called the vascular system. Think of it as the plant’s plumbing, which is made up of cells that are stacked on top of one another to form long tubes from the tip of the root to the top of the plant. To learn more about it, let’s study the stem.

STEM OVERVIEW

Ah, the stem, the part of the plant that connects the leaves to the roots! But, not all stems are similar! For example, cactus stems are swollen and store water. Some stems twist and have grasping tendrils like the pea plants growing up a garden trellis or lianas in the tropics.

Other stems are covered in thorns, providing lyrical inspiration for 80s power ballads and making the stem less palatable to herbivores. Stems give a plant structural support so they can grow upright and position their built in solar panels (leaves) towards the sun, but stems are also flexible allowing them to bend in the wind and not snap. Despite the shape or modification, inside every stem of a vascular plant is a bundle of tubes, and this my friends is where transport happens in the plant.

STEM VISUALIZATION

To understand transport in plants, let’s start with a little stem anatomy. Imagine that you’re holding a handful of drinking straws and chopsticks with a rubber band around them.

This bundle is your imaginary plant stem.

The rubber band, the drinking straws, and the chopsticks represent the three types of tissues found in vascular plant stems. The rubber band symbolizes the dermal tissue that covers the outside of the plant stem, and like our skin it acts as a protective layer. Ideally the rubber band would completely cover your makeshift stem bundle, so you’ll just have to use your imagination. The chopsticks fill in the space between the rubber band and the drinking straws and represent what is called ground tissue. Ground tissue is made up of cells that provide structural support to the stem. The drinking straws represent the third tissue type, the vascular tissue. Depending on the type of plant, the drinking straws might be arranged in the stem in a very organized way or scattered throughout haphazardly. Regardless of their arrangement each straw has a job to do; either transport water and minerals or transport sugars.

XYLEM: DRINK UP!

In our example, the straws that transport water and minerals up from the roots to the leaves are called xylem (zy-lem). Now imagine that each straw is actually a certain type of cell stacked one on top of the other creating a tube. Depending on the type of plant, xylem tissue can be made up of one or two different types of cells. Plants like ferns and conifers have xylem “straws” that are made of slender cells called tracheids. At maturity these cells die, leaving behind a rigid cell wall scaffolding tube to conduct water and minerals. Flowering plants have an additional type of xylem tissue called a vessel element. Like tracheids, vessel elements are dead at maturity, but unlike tracheids, vessel elements are much wider – more like a smoothie straw! This means that they can transport more water at a faster rate. Just think of how much faster you can slurp a soda with a wider straw! Just because vessel elements are wider, doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re better. Vessel elements are prone to getting little air bubbles caught in them, and once an air pocket occurs, the party is over and it is very difficult to move water up the stem.

PHLOEM: IT’S ALIVE!

Back to our imaginary plant stem, the remaining straws transport food made in the leaves to the rest of the plant and are called phloem (flo-um). Phloem tissue is also made up of two types of cells that are less rigid and much more lively than their water carrying compatriots (no really, they don’t die at maturity like xylem cells do). One cell type does the heavy phlo-ing, while the other is the wingman. Here’s how it works: sieve tube elements are masters of flow. They stack one on top of the other separated by perforated plates creating the tube-like structure we’re familiar with. Sieve tube elements clear almost everything out of their cells that could slow the flow including organelles and even their nucleus! Anything that’s leftover gets squeezed up against the cell wall like pushing all the chairs to the side of a room so you can break dance in the middle. The sieve tube elements are busy, but they couldn’t do it alone. Directly connected to the sieve tube elements through holes in their cell walls are their faithful buddies the companion cells. These cells have all the necessary cellular machinery to keep themselves and their adjacent sieve tube element alive and kickin’. And while companion cells don’t conduct food along the stem of the plant, they do play an integral role in loading food into and out of the sieve tube elements.

PRIMARY AND SECONDARY GROWTH: IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO

But don’t forget, plant stems can grow in two directions. Our imaginary plant stem helps us to visualize what the inner workings of a soft, green herbaceous stem – similar to what a dandelion stem might look like.

The dandelion stem will grow in length until it’s taller than the grass around it in your lawn – making it an easy target for the lawnmower. We call the increase in stem length primary growth. How does a stem actually get longer? Do the individual cells along the stem just keep getting bigger and bigger? Nope! (But individual cells and their cell walls will elongate to a certain size.) Primary growth originates in the apical meristems or places of rapid cell division, which are located at the top of the growing plant and at the tips of the roots. New cells are made in the apical meristems, so plant length increases by adding these new cells to the end of the stem, just like if you were using wooden blocks to build a tower. Each block you add to the top increases the height of the structure.

But what about stem growth in a tree? How does the trunk of a tree grow to be so much thicker than a dandelion stem? A tree seedling stem will start off green and flexible but over time, the tree will grow larger, become woody, more massive, and will need structural support to keep itself from falling over. The tree does this by increasing the width of the stem, which is called secondary growth.

Stems get wider at two places: the vascular cambium and the cork cambium. The vascular and cork cambium are also places in the stem where cells are dividing rapidly – the difference is where they are located. Cork cambium is a circular band of dividing cells found just beneath the outer covering of the stem. Its job is to make cork, or the outer most layer of bark that you see on trees. The vascular cambium is also a circular band of dividing cells, but it is located deeper into the stem between the two types of vascular tissue we talked about earlier: xylem and the phloem. The vascular cambium is a jack-of-all-trades. Cells in the vascular cambium divide and if the new cells are located toward the outside of the stem they become phloem, and if they are located toward the inside of the stem the cells become xylem. The vascular cambium will continue to divide creating new layers of cells in two different directions on either side of itself, and over time the stem will become thicker.

WATER AND NUTRIENT TRANSPORT: WHAT MOVES YOU?

So now we know what parts of the stem are responsible for transporting water (xylem) and nutrients (phloem), but we don’t know yet how they move or what drives their movement. Keep in mind that one requires energy and one does not.

Let’s start with water. The movement of water in a plant is like a one-way street, it is unidirectional and it travels along this route: soil -> roots -> stem -> leaves -> air. The movement of water throughout a plant is driven by the loss of water through it’s leaves, or transpiration. The water molecules that move through the xylem are connected in a continuous “stream”. They are able to do this because 1) water molecules really like each other (a property called cohesion) and 2) they also like to stick to other substances (a property called adhesion), and these two properties allow water to move up the xylem “straw” we visualized earlier. As water evaporates into the atmosphere from the surface of the leaf, it “tugs” the adjacent water molecules inside the leaf, which “tugs” on the water molecules in the stem, which “tugs” the water molecules from the roots, which “tugs” water molecules into the roots from the soil. So water evaporating from the leaf initiates the “tug” or pull of water through the stem. But, the important thing to remember is that this movement of water is passive, meaning that it doesn’t require any energy to transport water through the plant.

Now let’s move onto the sweet stuff, phloem. The movement of sugars in a plant is much different than the movement of water. First of all, phloem can move both up and down a plant, which comes in handy when a plant needs energy down below to grow new roots, or when a tasty apple is developing on a high branch. The sugars are made in the leaves as a product of photosynthesis. To get the food made in the leaves to other parts of the growing plant requires energy. So, with the help of some water from the xylem, sugars are actively loaded into the phloem where the sugars were made (which is called the source) and actively offload where they are needed (which is called the sink). Ever seen a dumb waiter in an older home? Phloem loading and unloading works sort of the same way. Someone in the kitchen can open the door and put a plate of food inside the mini elevator, then with the help of some energy and a pulley system, the tray of food is taken up the elevator shaft to another floor where someone opens the door and retrieves it. In plants the movement of nutrients through the phloem is driven by where the sugar is most needed for the growth of the plant.

How To Get Bigger Buds During Flowering To Get Maximum Yield (part 2 of 3)

If you’d like to get maximum yields at harvest time, then you need to know how to make buds bigger during flowering.

In part one of this series, we talked about how to maximize your vegetative stage so that you are off to a good start…

In today’s article, we’ll cover:

  • The importance of the flowering stage
  • The best nutrients for flowering
  • Why playing good “defense” is critical to growing big buds
  • The importance of bud boosters and how to use them

Plus a whole lot more. So let’s get started…

Why The Flowering Stage Is So Important For Getting Bigger Buds And Maximum Yield

The truth is, you don’t have to tell most growers that the flowering stage is critical when it comes to getting bigger buds.

In fact, we felt it was important to start this series on getting maximum yield with the vegetative stage because we don’t want you to skip ahead! It’s important to put things in the proper perspective and realize that without a robust, healthy, and strong vegetative stage you’ll never maximize your flowering stage.

That said, the flowering stage is when your plants will bloom and put on all the bud size and density that you desire.

That’s why it’s so important to maximize it.

So how can we do this?

First, You Need To Play Good Defense And Keep Your Grow Room Clean…

Many growers get so obsessed with maximizing their flowering phase—or what we call playing “offense”—that they forget about playing “defense” and making sure that they’re not sabotaging all their previous hard work.

In other words, you need to make sure your plants stay happy and healthy before you even think about pushing them to get bigger and maximize their genetic potential.

So keep these tips in mind to keep your plants healthy and avoid problems of pests and diseases like bud rot:

  1. Air Circulation – Your plants need fresh air for maximum health. You want to vent the humid air as much as possible and replace it with fresh air. The important thing is to keep the air moving around your plants as much as possible.
  2. Proper Temperature – You want to keep temperatures warmer than 68°F (20°C) (to avoid diseases like bud rot) but no higher than 80ºF (26.6ºC). It’s important to maintain ideal temperatures for good flowering.
  3. Avoid Excess Wetness (Including Humidity) – Diseases (and many pests) thrive in wet environments. Don’t let your buds sit around damp all day. And you don’t want too much humidity during the flowering stage. Keep humidity at 40-50% during the flowering stage.
  4. Cut Infected Buds Immediately – If you do run into an issue like bud rot, then carefully cut and remove the infected buds (and any buds very close to them) to make sure the disease doesn’t spread. You would rather lose a few buds than your whole harvest at this point!

Remember, you can’t maximize your flowering stage if your buds are fighting off disease and not healthy, so play good defense first!

How To “Train” Your Plants So You Get Bigger, Heavier Buds and Up To 40% More Yields!

A proven way to produce bigger yields is to “train” your plants so that they grow in a way that is more conducive to producing bigger buds.

In fact, this is one of the most important things you can do for maximizing yields and getting bigger, more abundant buds because you don’t have to spend any more money or do anything else special in your grow room to increase your yield so you’ll definitely want to take advantage of this strategy.

And yet, just by manipulating how your plants grow, you can increase your yields by as much as 40% as compared to not training your plants!

For example, in part one of this series, we showed you how to “top” your plants so that it would grow flatter and “bushier” instead of straight up (like a Christmas tree) and produce more than one primary cola.

In the same way, you can use other strategies to train your plants—without cutting or removing their parts—with the primary goal of producing several top colas so there is more of the plant exposed to your lighting, which gives you more buds.

These are the two most popular strategies for training your plants to grow wider and bushier instead of straight up…

How To Use Low Stress Training (LST) To Get Bigger Buds…

Low Stress Training (LST) is basically any method of training your plants without cutting them, topping them, or pruning them and causing them additional stress.

LST methods usually involve pulling the plant and bending the stems downward so they grow in a more lateral way, exposing more of its lower branches to light which promotes a more equal distribution of light intensity.

The increase in bud formation on these branches results in a higher yield per plant, and also a higher yield per watt of light.

In short, you get bigger, heavier yields from the exact same grow setup and lights.

There are many ways to use LST to increase your yields, however the easiest way to get started (especially if it’s your first grow) is by simply bending the main stem of your plant as it starts to grow.

Bending the main stem is the easiest way of Low Stress Training your plants.

In fact, during the vegetative stage is actually the best time to start LST with your plants because the younger the stems the easier they are to bend. That said, you can continue with LST into the first few weeks of flowering before your plants direct all their energy from plant structure to making buds.

How To Use The Screen of Green (SCROG) Method To Maximize Yields

This is a method of indoor crop cultivation that trains plants using a “mesh” or “screen” to direct growth.

This form of growing increases the yields of small grows by maximizing canopy space, which takes full advantage of your lights.

SCROG works very well in small growing spaces. This method produces several bud sites and gives each flower plenty of opportunity to develop.

Implementing SCROG is relatively straightforward. As your plants grow through the screen, you simply pull them back down and tie the branches to the screen – working laterally. This creates more budding sites and allows you to maximize your harvests later.

You can easily tie your plants with plastic ties as you guide the branches to the empty sections of your screen. As the plants grow, they will branch out, and develop more fully. In the picture below, you can see how you take each branch that grows through the screen and pull them down and tie to the net:


Once again, you should start these plant training methods as early as possible (during the vegetative stage) and then continue them into the early weeks of flowering for best results.

How To Make Your Buds Bigger During Flowering With These Simple Tips…

  1. Use the best strains – The simple fact is, some strains naturally grow bigger and heavier than others. You want to use top-shelf genetics if you want massive buds. You can grow various strains from either clones or seeds.
  2. Use bloom boosters – When you give your plant a proven bloom booster, you’re giving it extra “supplements” that help it grow bigger, denser, heavier and more potent buds. The less the plant has to make these elements itself, the more energy it can direct towards flowering. These will be discussed more in the next section.
  3. Get enough light – High-intensity lighting is one of the primary reasons that hydroponics growers can produce such big yields compared to traditional gardening. Because light is just as important as food to your plants, you want to make sure you’re using the strongest, brightest lights possible.
  4. Maintain The Proper pH – The fact is that you can feed your plants all the great nutrients in the world, plus bloom boosters galore, and your plants will be unable to absorb them if they are not at the proper pH. For high value plants, the sweet spot is pH 5.5–6.3.

The Best Fertilizer For Big Buds That Maximize Your Flowering Stage…

It’s critical to use the proper fertilizers—also known as base nutrients—with your plants to ensure that they grow vigorously and produce the biggest yields possible.

The fact of the matter is the nutrients from Advanced Nutrients are the best fertilizers for bigger buds.

How can we make such a bold statement?

Quite simply, it’s because all of Advanced Nutrients products are specifically designed for high-value plant growing. And they are the only nutrients to utilize scientific breakthroughs like pH Perfect Technology.

pH Perfect® Technology automatically balances your pH for you—putting it in the “sweet spot” and holds it there for weeks. As we’ve already discussed—maintaining proper pH allows your plants to absorb the nutrients, light and water you’re feeding them optimally. You can see more about pH Perfect Technology when you but the point is that if you want to grow the biggest buds possible, you should use nutrients specifically designed for that task.

And it’s a fact that the base nutrients from Advanced Nutrients were designed to grow bigger buds. Period.

The Best Bud Booster Nutrients And Supplements…

When used as a standalone supplement, any one of the bud boosters produced by Advanced Nutrients will pack size on your buds and help you achieve the yields you’ve always imagined…

However when used together they work synergistically—greatly enhancing each other’s effectiveness and amplifying your results more than if used separately…

This is because each bloom booster was designed to optimize one of your buds three crucial development phases:

* Flower Initiation Phase

It’s a scientific fact that the earlier your buds initiate blooming—the bigger they’ll get—because they have more time to grow. Bud Ignitor® optimizes this phase by initiating budding 50% faster than before (within 5 days instead of 10 or more after changing your lighting schedule)

* Mid-Flowering Phase

During this vital phase you not only need the correct extra amounts of P and K but your buds will start putting on more size, mass and potency if you feed them the correct amino acids of the type and quality found in Big Bud®. Specifically, scientific testing shows L-tryptophan and L-cysteine signal the production of more buds and larger flowers while encouraging other blooming cofactors to develop.

* Final Ripening Phase

The last three weeks is when your buds can actually gain the most weight – that is if you feed them Overdrive®. That’s because this unique supplement supplies critical nutrients in the proper ratios during the ripening phase that translate into amplified growth and heavier buds with enhanced essential oils, flavors and color.

To develop a personalized plant-specific supplement solution, customized to your particular grow, you’ll want to use the BudLabs app.

Sign Up To Our Free Newsletter To Make Sure You Get Part 3 of This Series on Growing Bigger Buds!

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What is Low Stress Training?

If let untouched, a cannabis plant usually has some kind of christmas tree shape. This is okay for a plant in nature. The sun will reach every part of the plant equally over the course of the day.

This condition is different in a tent. The plant will not get hit by parallel light, but rather by point light from a low distance. (In the case of HPS or CMH lights. Even the common LED lights are pretty limited in regards of their light emitting cone.)

One important rule for light: Radiance – the amount of light a leaf receives is divided by 4 when the distance is multiplied by two ( R ~ 1/r²). This counts for every light out there.

On the other hand, light height is determined by the height of the plants main bud. The cannabis plant usually builds up one main bud which will grow a lot higher than the rest of the plant. To determine light height depending on a main bud will automatically decrease the amount of light the side buds can potentially get!

So the main goal will be the following: Have all buds to be at the same height, so every bud can receive an equal amount of light. If you then have an aerial light source (Quantum board or a good amount of COBs) you will have the perfect light distribution in your tent. In this chapter we deal with the canopy of the plants and Low Stress Training (LST).

Table of Contents

Stress is induced if a plant is exposed to an unnatural change in its environment. Most of these changes are unwanted and should be adressed accordingly, other stressfactors can be applied and will result in the predicted outcomes. LST is one of the latter.

The training aspect of the whole operation is a result of the change you induce: The plant will react to the stress and will need time and energy to do so. The most common forms of LST involve some kind of obstacle to grow around or to deal with.

The usual way to apply LST to a plant is to bent her to the side to encourage horizontal growth. This causes the plant to distribute more energy to the secondary tops and will result in a more uniform bud structure. You will lose the uniqueness of the main top, but the net yield should be higher in the end. This also brings us to the main reason of LST: You can actually bring your light lower! This is good for every bud and will result in an even more increased yield and better quality of the product. Buds develop differently depending on its place on a branch. Lower buds will develop less good and will take longer to be ripe.

A Critical plant that has been exposed to LST constantly. The buds are all of the same height and roughly the same size.

When do you expose the plant to training?

As soon as the plant has established a strong rootsystem you can start. But the best indicator is to count the nodes of a young plant.
The nodes are created one after another from the main stem. The top of the plant is the main node, and under this main the plant will create second and third nodes. Since these secondary nodes are developed after the mainstem, they will always stay behind the main top. The moment you see the little nodes form, you can start the training. You can also apply LST a few weeks into flowering. Just make sure the stems are still bendy and won’t just break. The flowering stretch is still considered vegetative growth and the plant will still be able to be trained. After this, you should stop and just watch the her thrive.

Plants as little as this can be exposed to LST. The first hook at the stem prevents the plant to grow completely tilted. The other hooks bend down the main stem, while the second and third nodes get exposed.

LST can look messy at first: It can also be used to spread out a plant. Every side branch of this Francos Lemon Cheese, Green House Seeds, will be a new main top in the end. You can also observe where fan leafs got removed to expose the stems to more light and air.

The Pros Way of LST: Gardening Metal Hooks

The most common way involves gardening wire which gets attached to the stems. This is pretty clumsy and you can hurt your plant very bad if done wrong. The pro makes use of gardening metal hooks that can be ordered online for cheap. Look for a secondary node you want to expose, bend away the stem and everything above it, so it gets hit by direct light. If there is still a fan leaf casting a shadow over the secondary node, you want to remove this fan leaf in the next step. THATS ABOUT IT!

  • Let it be: Keep the hook in there for the rest of the grow or replace it with a hook you set up to bend the main stem over one more time. Removing the hooks before flowering or in flower will result in a plant that grows inwards. And this is exactly the opposite of what you want to achieve with LST.
  • Recovery time: Let the plant recover from LST before you do it again. LST is not inherently harmful in comparison to super cropping or topping / fimming, but still stressful. Usually a plant recovers in about three days from LST and can be bothered with it again after it.
  • Bend it, don’t break it: Don’t try this if the stem is already rigid. The older the stem, the less bendy it will be. Be careful! If you break the stem it is always bad and the plant needs much more recovery from a broken stem.
  • Don’t use force: I lost a number of plants to this already. Less is more here, dont push with full force. The plant won’t tell you when its enough. It will just break.
  • Don’t use sharp wires: The plant will cut itself resulting in a bad injury. It is not inherently lethal but in the worst case your plant will just grow around the injury and the wire and is exposed to infections. This could end bad!
  • Check the plants: The recovery time is pretty short. Watch your plants closely and you will figure out the best way to use LST for you very fast.

Timelapse of a plant that got exposed to LST. This animation recorded the 3 days of recovery after the hooks have been setup. You can also see, that fanleafs that pointed to the center of the plant got removed.

LST and Autoflowering Cannabis

There is a big discussion going on about training autoflowers. I tried several training methods myself on autoflowers. Since the recovery time from LST is so short, there is plenty of time to do this to your autoflowers. Autoflowers are not vastly different from non-auto plants. Autoflowers do not want to bothered with LST while she is busy building up the sweet buds. Start as early as you can, and keep a close look on your plant.

Alien vs. Triangle Autoflower from Mephisto Genetics that got exposed to LST. Its pretty much possible to do this, but with limits! Start as early as you can, and look for the signs of flowering. Liked it? Take a second to support me on Patreon!

Advanced growing techniques for a bigger yield

Did you know you can train your marijuana plant? Plenty of experienced growers use a variety of techniques to shape their plants and encourage bigger yields. These methods make indoor growing more efficient and help maximize your yield.

Your marijuana plant may not look like it’s doing anything, but it is actually constantly looking for light. Its leaves use its skill of phototropism to adapt to its surroundings as it searches for equilibrium. It can change its shape by redirecting leaves, elongating branches and twisting shoots. A marijuana plant can nearly grow in any direction in order receive enough light.

When a plant is grown indoors, it is limited. It may grow too tall and not have enough space to thrive or its natural shape may prevent light from reaching the bottom branches. The triangular evergreen shape of the cannabis plant works well in nature, but not with grow lights. The bottom of the plant is hardly able to receive any light! However, with the techniques mentioned below, you can train your plant to grow in a way that works for your setup and leads to more buds.

But beware! Doing it wrong can cause your plant to stress out so only apply these techniques when you’re certain you’re doing it right!

Pruning for a greater yield

Pruning is a process of selectively trimming plants so that they produce the most flowers or fruit. For marijuana plants, this means ensuring even the smallest amount of plants obtains the maximum yield. Pruning techniques are often used by professional growers seeking to maximize results in a limited indoor growing space.

Not only are pruned plants able to produce more flowers, but they also are able to produce bigger and heavier buds. This is because, by pruning, no energy is wasted on growing as many leaves and buds, leaving the remaining ones free to thrive.

Better than natural

When left on their own, plants will develop more branches than they can support. This leads to the eventual death of a certain amount of leaves. Over time, these dying leaves will fall off, but you can optimize the process by cutting them off instead. For plants that do not yet have dead leaves, removing weaker or less important branches (especially the lower branches) will also do the trick.

Pruning requires careful attention to your plants. You must keep an eye on the internodes – the space between its nodes- and remove any branch that has developed long ones. This is a sign that it is not receiving enough sunlight. You should also watch for branches that remain lower than the main shoots. They will not receive much light because they are blocked by upper leaves, and will ultimately be an energy drain.

Although most pruning refers to branches, some growers also choose to remove leaves. Whether the practice increases the positive effects of pruning is debatable, because leaves make and store energy. Growers should especially avoid cutting the large fan leaves, as they provide energy to the roots. Because leaf trimming is so risky, some growers only cut leaves in half, or tie them up to stimulate results without harming the plant.

Don’t stress out your plants

Although pruning has beneficial effects on a growing marijuana plant, it can also cause dangerous levels of stress. Like humans, plants respond to stress with a hormonal release. In the case of marijuana, the response includes the release of jasmonic acid, a growth inhibitor.

When jasmonic acid is released, plants stop growing and start healing. This is the reason why over pruning can lead to stunted growth. To prevent this from happening, prune over a period of time rather than all at once. A little bit of stress is okay for your plants (it encourages extra trichomes) but too much is torture.

Because pruning puts extra risks on plants, some growers prefer to let their plants grow naturally. These growers often are already growing high yielding plants, and do not want to risk slower or stunted growth.

Planning to prune

First of all, pruning should be done during the vegetation period of the plant’s lifecycle. This is so the plant has enough time to recover from the process and grow big leaves. If you are in a hurry to harvest, you can force them to flower afterward, but be sure to wait at least three days.

After pruning you will need to pay close attention to the health of your plants, ensuring they receive enough water and don’t suffer from a nutrient burn. Proper pruning can lead to a more valuable plant, but care must be taken not to harm your plant in the process. There are a variety of pruning methods that can increase the yield of your plant. We will discuss those below.

Topping marijuana for denser plants

If your plant is tall enough, you may want to consider trimming the top of its main shoot during the vegetative stage. Not only will this cut down on some of the height, but it can also lead to two main colas at the top instead of one. By simply pruning the tops of your plant, you can grow a bushier plant with more buds.

Topping helps marijuana plants grow bushier. When you cut a portion of the main shoot, you remove an important growth center in the plant, causing the growth patterns to change. The main shoot facilitates communication with the leaves, helping shaded branches to grow outward. This is potentially wasted energy if big buds are your goal.

Since topping involves the removal of the central stem’s main shoot, it encourages the plant to grow into a bush rather than something that looks like a Christmas tree. When you top your plants, they can grow in an inverted pyramid – like a cocktail glass with a whole bunch of buds on top. Cheers!

Topping is stressful on marijuana plants so it will extend the vegetative growing cycle. However, this extra time is spent growing those new colas. Despite the risk, it is still an excellent way of training your plant to fit into a limited grow space or to slow down stretching.

How to Top

Topping a marijuana plant is a common practice that can be used in conjunction with other advanced growing techniques to get the best yield out of your plants. To top your plant, simply cut the top at the stem (between the nodes) directly above the leaves of the next node when it is young. There should be between four and five nodes total on the plant when you attempt to top.

While topping typically refers to the removal of your plant’s newest node, it can sometimes refer to the process of cutting any tip off of any stem. When it is done to the main shoot, however, it causes the shoots directly beneath it to grow faster and get larger. It will also, however, sometimes cause the shoots beneath to slow down their growth. To balance out the growth throughout the entire plant, repeat the topping process a few times.

Topping a plant affects the hormones in your plant. This can ‘confuse’ your plant, and it may stop growing while it figures out what is going on. This period of stunted growth can last for up to a week. Some growers prefer to top at night to help prevent this reaction, as most of the hormones travel to the roots at night and are less likely to be affected. Plants that are topped too young are also more likely to experience stunted growth due to the loss of vital tissue, so look for strong stems and at least four nodes.

The FIMing technique

The dreaded, “Oh F*ck, I missed,” muttered by growers, has grown into a favorite pruning technique for creating additional colas without over-stressing your plant. Also known as pinching, the technique of fiming earned its name from unsuccessful attempts at topping. Whereas topping takes off a significant amount of the stem, Fiming removes less and is typically done by pinching, rather than cutting.

When done correctly, fiming can create bushier plants by creating four colas out of one pinch. It is less traumatic than topping and does not make your plant any shorter. Just like other types of pruning, fiming should be done during the vegetative stage.

While fiming is technically its own technique, it can produce less consistent results than other methods. The colas will not come out evenly spaced, and they will not join the stem at the same place.

How to Fim

Fiming is relatively easy and is one of the least stressful ways to prune your marijuana plants. To FIM, simply pinch the top at the newest growth, leaving some behind. If done correctly, four new colas will grow out of that area. If done incorrectly, you may only see two or three.

You should FIM a plant when it has either three of four nodes. Taller plants will not produce as good results. Fiming is done by pinching, however, if you choose to cut the new growth, you should be careful to leave around 20% on the plant to make recovery easier. You should also cut in a circular fashion so that what remains forms a cup. Leaving a small amount of the original new growth on the plant helps trick it into thinking it should grow four shoots instead of two.

After Fiming, your plant may look a little odd. This is normal, and not anything to be too concerned about. You will know your plant is doing well when the stems begin to thicken at the base. This is a sign that the plant is shifting its energies to new colas, rather than the one it had been growing. Also, because Fiming does not remove much of the plant, it does not slow down growth, and you should notice results relatively quickly.

Super cropping for stronger plants

If you’ve heard the statement, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, you already understand the concept of super cropping. Super cropping is a powerful pruning technique that helps stimulate a healthier plant and leads to increased potency and higher yield. Even though it is a pruning technique, there is no cutting involved. It is done by crushing the interior of a stem, damaging its access to nutrients and water. Once healed, you’ll have a more efficient plant with thicker stems and a stronger foundation.

When super cropping, you are damaging the soft inner tissue of your plant in order to detour growth hormones (auxins) to other areas. This soft inner tissues are made of cellulose and include two groups that are responsible for transporting nutrients and water throughout the stem. These are the phloem and xylem.

When those areas are damaged, the plant will naturally start to rebuild by expanding the cellulose, increasing the space for nutrients and water. With super cropping, the nutrient pathways within your plant go from being a congested roadway, to a major highway. With a simple pinch, you control the flow of nutrients and water so that it goes where you want.

Download my free Grow Bible for more about advanced growing techniques!

Super cropping can be used in a variety of ways. Pinch the main stem to affect the entire plant, or pinch and bend the side branches to affect how the plant grows. Heavy buds need strong stems to support them, and super cropping helps make it possible. Super cropping can also lead to new colas on secondary branches. This is because those branches can grow so thick that your plant will think they are dominant shoots and begin to form colas on them. You are basically training your plant into creating additional tops that can flower.

Super cropping is an easy technique that is completed during the vegetative stage. It is appropriate for non-autoflowering plants because you will have the most time to work with your plants (by extended the vegetative period). This is not an option with autoflowering plants.

How to super crop

Supercropping is one of the easiest techniques for helping your plant grow stronger. You’ll only need your fingers to trick your plant into thinking its top has been removed. Plus, it is more gentle than topping and finning, because you do not break the stems.

Before you begin, you need to confirm that your plant is ready to be super cropped. A good rule of thumb is 3 or 4 weeks old, but basically, it should be in its vegetative stage. Then choose your area of cropping – most growers stay near the 1st and 3rd nodes. Everything under that point will receive increased nutrients.

Do not cut this area. Instead, pinch and twist the branch (at the same time), holding it between your thumb and pointer finger. Bend the branch a little, but do not break it, you should only feel the soft interior collapse a little.

The area that you pinched may droop. That’s okay, it will heal (and grow back stronger). Just be careful not to snap off the branch – kink it like a gardening hose instead. If the healing process is taking too long, you can force your plant to remain in the vegetative stage until it is healed or string the branches up as support. You want the stems to fold over for a little while. If the plant stands up an hour after you’ve pinched it, you did not pinch it enough.

You can crop as many branches as needed, and you don’t have to do the entire plant at once. If you are a first-timer, test out a few branches first to see how the plant reacts. Not all marijuana plants respond favorably to super cropping.

Monster cropping huge plants

Creating clones out of flowering plants may have been unheard of before, but the technique of monster cropping is indeed alive and well. It earned its name from the results you can expect to see – huge monster plants — and it is the most involved technique for creating a bigger yield.

Monster cropping is useful because it eliminates the need for mother plants. By creating clones out of flowering plants, you can continuously make new plants while also cultivating your next harvest. For growers with limited grow space, it is the best way to maintain an endless supply of marijuana.

Besides creating an efficient way to grow marijuana, monster cropping also creates large, bushy plants. This is because the process of establishing the clones stimulates the offspring into becoming stronger and bigger. These plants, who basically go through the vegetative stage twice, grow with extra nodes and branches. They are indeed cannabis monsters.

Once the plant is fully grown you will need to start thinking about flowering and harvest time. Our free little Harvest Guide will help you determine the best moment to cut your plants.

How to monster crop

Unlike other pruning techniques, monster cropping is completed during the flowering stage, at least 21 days in. Choose from one of the softer, lower branches. They will root faster. Cut across the stem so that the largest surface area is exposed.

After this, move the young cutting into a glass of water to prevent air from entering its delicate vascular system. That air could kill it. A small hydroponic setup or even a propagation bubbler is the ideal way to root your young clone and trigger a second vegetative stage. Some growers also use humidity domes. Once your cutting is safely within water, the important thing is a constant supply of fresh oxygen.

Your clone will need a vegetative light schedule (18/6, 20/4, or 24/0) but it won’t need much light. A single small CFL bulb will work just fine. While it is rooting, light pruning techniques are okay but do not disturb the flower on the apex.

Your plant will not look very impressive at first. Once they have rooted they will grow, but rooting your clone may take weeks, or it may never happen at all. Look for the presence of un-serrated leaves. It is the first sign of growth. You can also do some training techniques to encourage the process, such as tying down branches or applying gentle heat.

The safe bet is to create a few clones so that you have a better chance at success. Once it starts growing, you will quickly understand why it is called monster cropping. Monster cropped plants create tremendous results without the risky practice of fiming or topping.

Thanks for reading and feel free to drop a comment below or join fellow growers on our support forum!

Robert

The founder of I Love Growing Marijuana, Robert Bergman, is a marijuana growing expert that enjoys sharing his knowledge with the world. He combines years of experience, ranging from small-scale grows to massive operations, with a passion for growing. His articles include tutorials on growing…

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