Maturing cannabis plants in a canopy will always compete for light, air and other nutrients. In the end, its survival-for-the-fittest where the most aggressive gets to survive. Tall and bushy trees may look promising, but when you go to harvest you will discover that there isn’t much to fill your basket. This is perhaps why trellising your cannabis is a must-do if you hope to get high yields.
What is Trellising?
Cannabis trees, especially certain strains, have the tendency to grow haphazardly as they compete for resources. Such canopies will look disorganized, with some trees vary tall and drooping and others short and malnourished. A few plants will have average height and moderate yields, but the majority will be out of order. This happens because the plants are competing for light, air, and nutrients. In the process of doing this, they end up overlapping onto each other; in the end, no plant wins.
Trellising is the procedure used to avoid the uneven growth of cannabis plants by using horizontal or vertical grids to support and separate the plants. Trellising is usually done outdoors.
A trellis will have a screen and a frame to support the screen. The screen resembles a net and it is used to direct the growth of the plants. The trellis also keeps the plants off the ground in the event that the vines stoop low. This protects the plants from soil bacteria and keeps them in view of direct light.
Plants that are not trellised may seem large, but this does not translate to higher yields. Trellising is also good for aesthetic purposes. Canopies without a trellis have uneven and haphazard plants. Such an arrangement causes uneven distribution of light and other resources; some plants will get nourished while others will not. This results in a waste of resources and low yields in the end.
How to Trellis Cannabis Plants
Trellising is done with what is known as a trellis. For outdoor trellising, a trellis with a stretchable network best. This means that you can use the same trellis even as the size of your canopy grows. Good trellis can be found online or garden stores and most are affordable.
Once you have acquired your trellis, the next thing is to set it up. The best time to do this is before the plants begin to flower. The stalks at this time will be easier to work with; mature stalks easily snap when you try to bend them.
First, secure the net firmly to the frame. Then stretch the net above the canopy, 5 inches above will be great. Ensure that the net is well fastened to each corner. Now drop the net gradually until the canopy is above the net and there’s a distance of 5 inches from the top of the canopy. Lastly, bend the plants back to the net, the largest plants should be stretched outwards. The general idea is to help the plants grow horizontally as opposed to vertically.
As you bend the plants, be careful not to break the stalks of mature plants. You can end up incurring a huge loss by being over-enthusiastic in the process. Younger plants are easier to work with.
The buds above the screen will grow dense while the buds below will get shaded out.
You can also carry out selective defoliation to maximize your yields. This involves trimming leaves that are not attached to major buds in the plant. Extra leaves compete for resources and eliminating them will increase the resources available for major buds. Selective defoliation also improves the circulation of air in the plant and reduces the chances of mold formation. This process leads to higher yields.
The Screen of Green Technique In Trellising
SCRoG is the short form for the screen of green technique, a common term in the world of cannabis cultivation. If you’ve seen a few images of indoor grows, you must have seen SCRoG; it’s basically planted shooting through a nylon screen. This technique is used for indoor trellising.
Just like outdoor trellising, scroggin involves stretching out branches so that they grow horizontally. This helps to expose more buds to light and air. It also prevents molds and rot. The buds above the screen are left to mature while the buds and leaves below are trimmed out. This ensures that resources are maximized. Ultimately, scroggin leads to higher yields.
Trellising isn’t as easy as it may sound; it takes time, skill, and effort. But if you follow the correct technique and exercise patience, you should be on your way to reaping a bountiful harvest. To start you off on the path to success, here are a few tips:
- Get a high-quality trellis
- Time your trellising for when the plant stalks are still bendable
- Make sure your trellis has a stretchable net
- Trim out excess leaves not attached to major buds – selective defoliation
- Make sure that there are no leaves or buds touching the soil
- Exercise patience, trellising takes time.
A trellised canopy may not appear as large as a canopy that is untouched. However, the buds in the former tend to be dense and rewarding. Trellising comes in handy when you have limited space and want to make the most out of it. It is also useful when you are growing Sativa strains and you want to squeeze every ounce of bud from these plants.
1. Scientific Reports (2017): Plant-plant competition outcomes are modulated by plant effects on the soil bacterial community. Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-18103-5
2. NCBI (2014): The dynamics of recovery and growth: how defoliation affects stored resources. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3996606/
3. WikiLeaf (2018): Best Trellis Setups for Growing Cannabis. Retrieved from https://www.wikileaf.com/thestash/best-trellis-cannabis/