Topping is an invasive training method. Contrary to Low Stress Training a plant needs a significantly longer recovery time from an amputation, which sounds reasonable.
Timelapse of a topped cannabis plant
As you can see, the plant is developing more than one main branch. This happens due to the amputation.
The right moment to top – mainline or spreading
The right moment to cut of the head of a young cannabis plant is to choose carefully. What to you want to achieve? If you want to spread out her sideshoots you can wait until two weeks before flowering to cut off the main. The plant will distribute more energy and growth into the sidebranches which will develop much better after that. So you end up with more thicker branches at even height which will also optimize growth overall. Growers who do that, like to top a bit later into the vegstate (after the 5th node) and refrain from low stress training in the way to let the shoots go upwards.
Mainlining your plant has a different approach: Its more of an artform and maintops will be developed in a more symmetrical manner. The topping has to happen much earlier in is my favourite approach to HST or high intensity stress training. It combines HST with LST very early on in the life cycle and gives you the ability to guide the growth of the plant in a more detailed fashion. It also let the plant stay small and bonsaiesque which is favorable for small grow spaces with low heights.
Mainlined plants are split up immediatly with next to no internodial growth. That results in a distinct number of tops: If you cut away the mainshoot n times you will end up with 2^n mains.
Pros and Cons of topping
First of all topping costs time. Flowers need to heal up of that for about two weeks before you can think of switchting them to flower and establish a healthy branch structure again. You will end up with a more even canopy, can bring the light lower and will ultimately get more yield since more buds are in close proximity to the light source. Mainlining takes even more time than just a single top, but you will be able to shape your plant in various ways because all fresh branches are still young and flexible.
My recommendation: Take your time and let her veg for 2-4 weeks longer. You wont be disappointed in the end.
Yes, topping autoflowers is definetly possible. The best strains to try this in are the ones with a longer life cycle like most sativa dominant strains. The moment of the amputation has to be crucially timed tho. If you think the plant is already about to strech or shows early signs of sex, you should refrain from it. The time window to properly top an auto is pretty thin. Be careful here. But as I said: Its worth it in the end.
Infusing some liquid with THC or CBD rich plant material is a whole new consuming experience. While smoking burnt leafs is not for everyone and very much unhealthy, eating ennobled products can help you out. If you want to bring some products of highness to a place where smoking a cone would be weird this might be for you!
500 gr (about 1 lbs.) of honey. I took the one that is a bit darker and more liquid.
1 tbsp of odorless oil.
2 pots or pans of different sizes, so that the smaller one fits in the bigger one
4 hours of time
about 5 – 7 gr (~1/4 oz.) of weed. I suggest you use your top shelf! I used Mephisto Genetics Alien vs. Triangle autoflower. You need way more if you use our trim.
fine net drainer
How much weed do I need?!?!
I do not know man. I can just say this: My consumation pattern is pretty light. I smoke in 1-3 days a week and two tablespoons of honey on a toast or in a cup of tea will get me going. I would start with less than more and test things out.
What kind of weed do I need?
I took some really sweet and earthy smelling AvT by Mephisto Genetics. The taste is so unique and sweet that it combines very nice with the greek honey I used. I do not know about the potency. Since this is subjective to everyone it is also not needed for that recipe. Just take whatever you like, f.e. Lemon, fruity and sweet profiles work very well. I would for example not use gassy or diesel profiles for honey.
Step 1: Grinding and decarboxylation
Grind up your grass and put it in the oven for 60 minutes at 110°C (230 F). This is the environment your fresh weed needs in order to change the non-psychoactive THCA to the famous THC we all want in our food. The reason why you will not get high if you just eat fresh or dry weed, without exposing it to a good amount of heat, is exactly that. The process of decarboxylation in the oven with a realtive cool temperature preserves most of the terpenes and and will leave the taste intact.
Step 2: Infusing
Get the larger pan or pot and fill it up with some water. After that you put in the smaller pan or pot fill it with the honey and let the water simmer. The honey will liquify and you can now mix in some oil with it. This is important: The honey itself will not be infused with THC, or at least not very effective. The oil is very good at doing so.
Try to keep the temperature for infusing the honey below 100 °C (boiling point of water)
Now you sit back and just stir your honey-oil mixture with the decaroxyled weed for four to six hours.
Step 3: Draining, storage and use
In the last step you just drain the whole weed/oil/honey mixture through a fine mesh to get rif of the weed pieces. You can also leave them in, because the material is still very potent. Do not eat big amounts of it! The material in the net drainage is very much psychoactive THC and your body will have a hard time get rif of it, if you eat it by the gramm. Be careful! If you want a horrorstory about some THC overdose (yes, this is possible) DM me.
I suggest you use the honey container and label it correctly. Do not let people eat any of the honey without proper labeling. It is a very potent mixture. I needed about two toasts with honey to have a proper effect. You can also put in 1-2 table spoons into your tea as a sweetener. Try to get the correct amount for your needs. Take it slow and wait a little before eating great margins of that honey. Oral use of THC takes several times longer to take effect than a bong rip or a dab. It also will stay for a much longer time, so be prepared for a longlasting effect after consumption.
Buds tent to develop best, when hit by direct light. If a bud is overshadowed by big green fan leafs the bud will develop not as good. Defoliation is the key to make the most of your plant and maximize flower development. This grow tech requires a bit of experience and knowledge of a Cannabis plants structure. I do not recommend this if this is your first grow. After a full run, without removing leafs you will know exactly what to look out for the next time.
There are growers out there removing nearly every fan leaf that a plant grows after 21 days and after 42 days of flowering. This is called schwazzing and a rather extreme manipulation technique. The other extreme is to remove nothing. My way of defoliation will remove a lot of leafs in the process, but will leave a lot of leafs for the plant. Its kind of a middle way.
The Pros way: Moderate or selective Defoliation
Not every plant needs to be defoliated the same amount. There also no godly plan to defoliation for all the plants.
Defoliation in the vegetative state
If you have a very bushy indica dominant strain or applied a lot of LST to your plant it will potentially grow very bushy. In extreme scenarios only a few leafs on the top of the plant will be necessary to build up a full canopy. This is not good if you want to encourage branches under there to develop! Remove the big fan leafs from the top of the plant to make sure that budsites below get direct light aswell.
How to check if a certain fan leaf should be removed:
If the fan leaf creating a shadow to budsites below remove it.
If the fan leaf is growing “inwards” or growing bigger and bigger, remove it.
If the fan leaf grows at the edge from the plant away, it can stay.
This way you will remove the leafs very selectively and keep the plant not as stressed out. Its also not feasable to potentially stun the plant because you removed so much.
Defoliation in the vegetative stage can be tedious since it could be applied about every third day from a certain plant size on.
Defoliation in the flowering process
This is pretty similar to the vegetative state. Since the plant will still grow new green material, remove the leafs that steal light from buds. Just look closely at every bud and check if there is a leaf above. Remove all the leafs. From about week 3-5 the green development of the plant will be reduced because the plant packs more supply into the flowers. Your work is pretty much done then regarding defoliation.
Extreme Defoliation: Schwazzing
Widely in use by certain industrial grow operation schwazzing is the process of removing nearly every fan leaf that grow on a plant at the beginning of the flowering stage, leaving only the top of every budsite intact. This method also involves some kind of lollypopping since every side branch is pretty much removed as well. Just leave the first 2 to 3 nodes from every branch intact.
I would not recommend schwazzing for every strain out there. There are alot of cannabis varieties that are able to put on serious weight on the side branches where you would harm more than you do good if you remove too much. Branchy indica type plants are very much content with selective defoliation while some other plants like to be cut more heavily. I suggest you.
Defoliation is a pretty harmless tech, since a plant will develop way more fan leafs than needed to survive. A grow tent is also an environment where the plant is enclosed and save enough so that it can deal with this harm without having to fight pests or difficult weather patterns while at it.
Germination is the first step to start a run. If you start from seed I would count the moment you put the seed into moisture to activate it as Day One in the vegetative state (D1V) of the grow. This is important to know, to keep track of your grow. After you have chosen the right genetics for your operation and a working setup its go time!
How to germinate Seeds
It does not seem very important how you do it. Do it the way you are the most comfortable with. Success depends on the age, storage properties and quality of seeds.
The Pros way: Paper towel method
The paper towel method is a good way to keep an eye on your babies while having full control over the properties. The items I am using include:
Paper towels (kitchen paper, toilet paper, handkerchief…)
Depending on you water: carbonized water or lemon concentrate to alter the pH value. Tap water is usually a bit basic. Change that!
The lid of an old jam glass as some kind of petri dish.
Unfold the paper, and place it into the lid. Sprinkle some water in there. place the seeds in the middle and fold back the paper towel. Thats it! Keep the petri dish in a dark and warm (about 25°C – 28°C) environment and wait. The lid is a great way to keep the paper towel moist. Do not wet it too much! The initial root needs some motivation to search for moisture and will grow better that way.
Advantages of the paper towel method
You have full control over the process and you can look at the seedling soaking up moisture and grow every day, and more important you can check seeds that don’t germinate and sort them out from the start. You are also able to use a lot of different grow media with this method. The seedling could be placed into a hydroponics setup aswell as soil-like media.
Disadvantages of the paper towel method
You need to interact more with the seed. Once its sprouted you need to place it into your grow medium and this could potentially be very risky. Im always using a pincette to do that. It is better to not have to interact with the plant at that stage. It is also possible that the small root hairs that grow out of the main root will get stuck in the paper towel fibers. If you remove the paper towel to hasty you could rip apart the whole root. So be careful! You will also have a hard time distinguish strains, if you have only one lid available.
Jiffy pot method
This is also a great way to do it! Jiffy pots are small pellets that get soaked with pH regulated water. Once it reaches it maximum size you can just put in a seed and wait. Keep the pot moist at all times until the seed sproutes. The material of the pot is actually designed for root penetration. Once you see roots coming out of the sides you can put the seeds with the pot into a bigger container.
Advantages of the jiffy pot method
You can actually distinguish different strains by putting name tags into the pots. You also dont have to interact with the seeds after putting them into the pot, that reduces the risk of killing them by transplanting. Its also possible to use the jiffy for different grow media. Hydro and soil alike. Do not use jiffys in high pressure aeriponic setups.
Disadvantages of the jiffy pot method
If you are not sure that the seed is actually germinating you cannot look at that easy. That way you might wait for a seedling to sprout that is not even germinating. This could cause frustration. In high pressure aeroponic setup debris from the pot can fall into the water circulation, clogging your system. Use rockwool instead.
Method 3: Put the seed right away into its final container
Thats also possible. Considering the timeframe from activation to sprout to first green it can take up to 14 days until something is happening. Since you should NEVER EVER look for the seed in your medium this could potentially be a game of luck considering that a cannabis seed is inherently more valuable than a tomato seed if bought from a breeding company. You just keep the medium moist and wait, until you see it sprout. I would suggest you turn the lights on AFTER the seed shows itself.
Advantages of method 3
No interaction with the seed reduces the risk of loosing it to poor handling. Less transplantation means less stress which is good for the plant.
Disadvantages of method 3
As stated before, this is potentially a game of luck: You never know if the seed just took its time to get sprouted. You might even end up with two plants in the same pot if you decide to use another seed in there. It is also more difficult to dial in the right amount of moisture to get everything done. Keep in mind that moist is better than wet in that case…
Cheap Hydroponic start
IKEA offers a 4$ starter kit for seedlings. It works great if you add some air stones to keep the solution oxygenated. Rockwool and hydrostones are also available dirt cheap there. If you want to germinated in rockwool and still want to be able to change the environment of the plant, this could be your choice!
Germination Tips & Tricks
The Cookie Box
Place your seeds in an old cookie box, or something similar thats opaque and can be sealed. It keeps the moisture in there, and you do not need to remoisture it every other day.
Use excess heat
Your PC, TV or is creating a nice amount of heat. Place your seedlings on there to make it nice and warm for them. If you do not seal the seeds in a some kind of enclosure this kind of heat will dry out paper towels. This is why I am using the glass lids: You can create a pool of water in there that will take a lot longer to evaporate!
24 hours in water
This is done by alot of growers: Just submerge the seeds 24 hours in pH corrected water. The seeds will soak very effective in that time. After that you just use one of the methods above and make sure that the environment is more moist than wet.
Rougen up the surface
George Cervantes is one of the godfathers of growing weed. In one of his books he describes his method of preparation: Put the seeds in a match box and shuffle them a bit. The surface will be roughed up and can soak up the moisture better. I never did that tho, but George knows his shit obviously!
When is my seed ready to get potted?
Assuming you used a method, where you just watched the seed germinate you will notice that the initial root coming out of it. Since its possible to place it right away into a grow medium it really does not matter when you put it in.
I WOULD WAIT AT LEAST UNTIL THE ROOT HAS A LENGTH OF 0.5 cm to 1 cm TO GET STARTED!
This way you can maximize the probability of success.
What is so important about the pH, can’t I just use tap water?!
I could and probably will write lenghty articles about the importance of pH values in growing weed. In short: Cannabis loves a slightly acidic root environment. This means 6.0 to 6.5 for soil and 5.5 to 6.0 for hydroponic setups. This is a question of optimazation, and a pH meter plus some additives to regulate it are a meaningful and cheap resource of optimazation. If you do not care pH lockouts of several important nutrient sources are the result. Spend the ten bucks for some pH-down and some pH test stripes and never care anymore.
I did everything you said, but I some seeds just don’t wanna sprout 🙁
Dont worry! There is not a 100% success rate on germination. This can have several reasons. Bigger seeds tend to be more sproutable than smaller ones. If you have problems sprouting seeds a good breeding company will replace your order with new ones. Just write them a nice email, instead of flaming their product in the reviews and you are fine.
I put my seeds into the towel yesterday and nothing happend!
Dude, relax! The first virtue to develop while growing your own weed is PATIENCE. You cannot imagine how often you will get tested on that. It can take up to seven days for a root to show from the seedling. And another seven days from planting the rooted seedling into a medium until you see the sprout! Give it some time and be rewarded later. ITS WORTH IT!
Disclaimer: Blue/Purple grow “lights get the job done”. But do not expect more than that.
This article is a rant. Its subjective, but backed with sources, experience and knowledge from over four years of growing with alleged top notch technology.
People are pretty simple if it comes to marketing. Everyone wants to buy the best valued components for the best price to get going. If you ever build your own PC or a drone you will know what im talking about. Creating a grow setup was a simple task ten to twenty years ago. You just had to go to one of these grow shops, where you talked with a clerk to get the best out of your budget for your operation. You got a tent, a HPS light, soil, nutes, seeds and some ventilation. Online and offline sources were limited to a few books the old masters wrote.
With spreding legalisation many companies jumped on the grow train trying to advertise their products to you. And i have to admit: They are good at it!
Just google “grow light” and you are flooded with the infamous blue/purple spectra of common grow lights you find on amazon or alibaba. But a great search engine optimization does not equal the quality of the product.
To be honest: There is nothing wrong with running these lights. They are getting the job done. They will not get you near the results you always see on the famous pictures circulating on the internet. The lights are often praised with heavily exaggerated numbers. I will discuss the most bought LED grow lights from amazon.com and show you whats wrong with them.
Example One: Phlizon 600W LED
NO REFLECTOR NO DANGER- Many others’ grow lights are used led spotlight reflector to make the light look beautiful, but we don’t use it because the led reflector is not heat-resistant. If a short circuit occurs，reflector at 80℃ is easy to melt and fire. we do not use the reflector, we can not give up the safety beause of beauty.
Reflectors are a thing of beauty huh? Phlizon claims, that reflectors are useless and just melt, if there is a short circuit. Do they assume their light will short curcuit at one point? LEDs are emitting light in all directions. It actually enhances the optical properties of a light if you use reflectors. They just ditch them, because they think its just a cosmetic element. You actually need them to focus the light more in the direction of the canopy.
FULL SPECTRUM- We did lots of experimentation to ensure that this full spectrum design promotes plant growth. It includes universal Blue Red IR UV and white light provide everything plant desire in the natural sunlight. The expensive IR UV led promote plants to defense mechanisms, blue and red led is essential light for plant growth.
Okay! Thats bold. The spectrum is one of the least “white” ones you could imagine. Its mainly blue and red. The McCree curve, where you can see, what intensity distribution your light should have is vastly different from Phlizons “white” light. White light is created if the spectrum contains of every wavelengths in equal parts. Its fine to build an only red-blue light, but do not call it white.
DOUBLE SWITCH- Veg and Bloom button have different function. Veg switch: It’s blue led and white led. For seeding or young vegetative growth,you can use Veg switch only. Bloom switch: It’s red led and white led.for flowering/blooming,you can use both Veg and Bloom switches. View Angle of LEDs: 90°and 120°
Thats actually cool to save money on energy. I really doubt that your plants do well under one of these lights switched to veg, but useful nontheless. Good LED COB or Quantum Board system got a dimmer as well to do save energy.
COMPARE TO HPS/MH- The 600W LED grow light can replace traditional 400 watt HPS/MH while consuming only 108 watts! More effective coverage area than any reflector series lights. perfect for a 2x2ft growing area at 24″ height. The difference of us is that we use double cooling fans. Can most extend the light life.
There is so much bullshit in here… WHY would you name it a 600W LED if its an ACTUAL 108 Watt LED claiming it will replace a 400 Watt HPS. It will not even come close to a 400 Watt HPS output. The only honest fact in there is, that this light is perfect for a 2 x 2 environment. No grower with the right mind would setup a REAL 600 Watt light in that, nor a 400 W hps. What other purpose is there but to confuse the customer?
More confusing info
The made up 600 W are pulled entirely through the hole descripton. You can actually light up an area of 1.44 m² with a high quality 600 Watt LED light. This area is about 4x bigger than the 2′ x 2′ space advertised.
They also claim that a hanging distance of about 24″ (61 cm) is the perfect height. I will not believe them any further but a PPFD value of 260 is way below the 700-1000 a high quality COB/Quantum Board light will deliver.
Conclusion: Phlizon 600 W
No, it is nowhere near a 600 W LED light. It is a 108 W low quality LED. You can replace your 100 Watt HPS with that, and will be happy, that this abomination will run a bit cooler.
No, the spectrum is not the perfect fit for your flowers. It is mass produced lowball asian LED that get put into mass produced low quality LED arrays.
You need actually 6(!) of these to light up a 5′ x 5′ tent. Thats about the size a high quality LED with 600 actual Watt could light up. That will cost you about $540. Buy a real light instead.
Do not buy this light if you expect a high yield, high quality harvest.
Buy this light if you just want to take a look into the hobby. But you might want to upgrade as soon as possible….
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.)
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).
What is Low Stress Training?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Grow high quality Cannabis at home