If you’re a cannabis grower, you may be familiar with the technique called super cropping. Super Cropping involves intentionally breaking the stem or branch of the cannabis plant, causing it to heal and grow stronger. While this technique has numerous benefits, it also has a few drawbacks that inexperienced growers or even advanced growers should be aware of. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of super cropping in detail, giving you the information needed to decide if it is right for your cannabis garden.
What are the pros and cons of utilizing super cropping techniques for cannabis cultivation?
Super cropping is a high-stress training technique that can significantly increase yields and improve the bushiness of female cannabis plants and auto-flowering plants. But before you go about supercropping your weed plants, here are some pros and cons.
- Increased Yields: Super cropping can increase the yield of cannabis plants by promoting the growth of additional colas and buds. By breaking the stem or branch of the plant, it redirects the flow of nutrients and water, resulting in more abundant and dense buds.
- Bushy Plants: The technique promotes a more even distribution of growth hormones, creating a bush-like plant structure with more lateral branches and bigger leaves. This structure allows for better light penetration and airflow, leading to healthier plants and higher yields.
- Ideal for Vegetative Stage: Super cropping is typically done during the vegetative stage when the plant is growing rapidly, and the stem is flexible. It allows for the plant to heal and develop stronger stems, leading to bigger yields and stronger plants.
- Breaking Branches: Super cropping carries the potential of causing harm to the plant if executed improperly. Breaking the plant’s stem or healthy branches at the wrong angle can result in irreversible damage and negatively impact the plant’s overall health and yield.
- Flowering Stage: Super cropping during the flowering phase can be risky, as it can cause the plant to go into shock and lead to a decrease in yield.
Factors to Consider:
- Stage of Growth: Super cropping during the vegetative stage is more ideal as the plant is growing and can quickly recover from the stress. Avoid the flowering phase as the plant is already under stress, and there could be nutrient deficiencies in the stems as more of the nutrients are in the buds.
- Plant Health: It is essential to consider the overall health of the plant before super cropping. Healthy plants with strong stems and branches are likely to benefit more from the technique. It is important to note that you should only super crop plants once and during the vegetative stage of your cannabis plant.
- Precautions: To avoid damaging the plant, it is necessary to practice the correct technique and use appropriate tools such as scissors or garden stakes. A bit of duct tape can help secure the broken branch in place so that the plant can recover quickly and effectively.
There are different levels of stress that the plant can undergo when super cropping, and each level affects the plant differently. A 45-degree angle results in low-stress training, leading to a more controlled stress level that promotes healthy growth. A 90-degree angle is considered high-stress training, leading to a much more significant growth response that can either positively or negatively impact the plant’s overall yield and health.
At what point is super cropping recommended for a cannabis plant?
The practice involves breaking or bending the main stem or branches of the plant to promote the growth of additional lateral branches and bigger colas. However, super cropping requires caution and expertise since it can damage the plant if not done correctly. In this section, we will explore the best practices in super cropping a cannabis plant and the ideal growth stage that benefits most from this training technique.
Ideal Growth Stage
Super cropping is advised during the late vegetative growth stage when the plant is flexible and can quickly recover from the stress. This stage is the perfect time to train the plant and encourage the growth of lateral branches, leading to a thicker and bushier plant. Super cropping during this stage also promotes a more even distribution of hormones, resulting in healthier plants with higher yields.
Attempting to super crop woody branches can be challenging and may result in irreversible damage to the plant. It is crucial to avoid super cropping during the flowering stage since the plants are already under stress. The risk of damaging the plant is higher during this stage, and any adverse effect can result in significant yield loss.
Super cropping with these four techniques
There are various training methods to perform super cropping, but the four main techniques are branch and node pruning, topping and training, snapping, and twisting. These techniques are designed to cause slight damage to the stems or branches to induce healing responses that result in stronger and bushier plants. Here we will delve into each supercropping method, its benefits, and how to execute it correctly.
1. Leaf Pruning
The purpose of this method is to encourage lateral growth by removing fan leaves from the lower portion of the plant. Leaf pruning is a low-stress technique for super cropping that can be used to improve the quality and yield of your cannabis plants. This technique helps promote the growth of new branches, increasing the number of colas as well as light exposure to each bud site.
To start leaf pruning , you should first identify the fan leaves that are blocking light from reaching the lower portions of the plant. Once you have identified these leaves, gently start removing them one by one using sterilized scissors or fingers. After pruning a few fan leaves, observe the plant’s response before removing more leaves.
2. Branch and node pruning
Branch and node pruning is one of the most effective ways to promote a healthier cannabis plant and increase yield. To start, identify the right branches for pruning. These should be pliable and green, indicating they are still actively growing. Avoid branches that are woody or stiff, as they are unlikely to respond well to pruning.
Removing sucker branches and nodes is also crucial to maximizing growth and yield. These are small branches that grow in the crotch of larger branches and can drain energy from the plant. By removing them, you can redirect the flow of nutrients to the healthier branches that will ultimately produce larger and more potent buds.
It’s also important to thin out the plant before entering the flowering phase. This involves removing some of the lower branches to create a more manageable and open canopy. By doing so, you increase light penetration and air circulation throughout the plant, which is essential for healthy growth and flower production.
3. Topping and training
Another effective technique for promoting healthy growth and increased yield in cannabis plants is topping and training. This supercropping method involves cutting off the top of the plant, also known as the “apical meristem,” encouraging the plant to grow two or more main colas instead of just one. In addition to increasing the number of main colas, topping and training can also create a more even canopy, ensuring that light and nutrients are evenly distributed throughout the plant.
To apply the topping and training technique, you will need a few tools, including plastic clamps, plant ties, bamboo sticks, and a bit of tape. These materials are used to gently bend and hold the branches in place, creating the desired shape and direction for growth.
Choose a mature branch and cut off the apical meristem, leaving behind two or more nodes. These nodes will grow into the new main colas. Then, gently bend the remaining branches towards the desired direction and use plant ties to secure them in place. This will encourage the plant to grow in a bushier, more productive shape, rather than shooting up in a single, thin stem.
4. Snapping and twisting
This technique involves physically breaking the inner hurd of the stem while leaving the outer layer intact, which creates a knuckle that increases the strength of the plant and widens the cell to cell highway for faster nutrient uptake. By using this method, growers can help their plants develop stiffer stems that can support larger yields, even during the flowering period.
To crop cannabis using the snapping and twisting technique, start by grasping a branch with both hands and twisting it in opposite directions until you hear a snapping sound. This sound indicates that the inner hurd has been broken, which is what creates the knuckle. After the snapping sound, you should notice that the branch is limp and hanging down.
Don’t worry, though – this is just a temporary state as the plant will repair itself over the next 24 hours. During this time, the plant will redirect the flow of nutrients to the damaged area and repair the damage, which will make the branch stronger and sturdier.
Once you are comfortable with the technique, repeat the snapping and twisting process on every stem from the bottom to the top. However, it’s important to never super crop in the same place twice, as this can cause too much negative stress on the plant and stunt its growth. Additionally, it’s a good idea to start on a sacrificial branch that you don’t mind messing up until you become more comfortable with the technique.
Super cropping to boost your yield
In conclusion, the best time to supercrop your cannabis plants is during the vegetative phase, as this will give them time to repair and strengthen before entering the flowering period. When done correctly, super cropping can help you boost your yield by encouraging more even light penetration and air circulation throughout the plant, creating a bushier shape for increased bud sites, and increasing nutrient uptake for larger yields. Just make sure you are gentle with your plants and always practice super cropping on a sacrificial branch before moving onto the main colas.