There are a number of techniques that cannabis cultivators use to control the growth of their weed plants and a number of reasons for employing these techniques. This article explores the detail of one such technique and provides tips for super cropping cannabis plants, including super cropping autos.
What is super cropping?
The definition of super cropping refers to a high stress weed training technique which involves pinching the stem of a cannabis plant branch to break the inner lining so that it can be bent into a new position. It is used to train branches to grow horizontally rather than vertically and increase harvest yields.
When is super cropping a cannabis plant advised?
The technique is most effective and useful in the late stages of vegetation (2-3 weeks before flowering is a good time), when the plant has healthy growth and is approaching the flowering stage. The method can be used in the first few weeks of budding – for example if a plant is stretching and causing a potential height issue (see below) – but giving it such high stress at this stage is not ideal. Definitely avoid super cropping in the final stages of flowering for this reason.
- It’s a very easy technique which requires no tools apart from a working forefinger and thumb and a bit of patience!
- Only perform this procedure on a healthy plant as the stress may cause damage to a weaker specimen.
- Take the stem of the branch and, without rushing the process, gently pinch it (make sure there are at least 3 to 4 nodes extending to the tip beyond the pinch point).
- You will feel the stem pop a little and the surface will crease. This is because the inner lining has been broken.
- It may need some extra manipulation to increase flexibility, but do not over pinch and cause the stem to snap.
- Now bend the stem gently into the position you want and tie it into place (ie anchored to the pot with garden wire and kebab sticks, attached to the side of the grow tent with string, or supported).
- The branch will look a bit sorry for a couple of days but will soon bounce back.
- The fixings may need adjusting a few days later to stop the plant’s natural desire to grow vertically.
- After a while the pinch point will display a tough calloused ‘knuckle’ where the plant has repaired itself.
Will super cropping cannabis plants improve yields?
Yes it will. By encouraging the stems of your marijuana plant to grow in a horizontal direction you are effectively exposing more bud sites to light, which means those buds will grow bigger.
Can the technique be used for super cropping autos?
Yes, super cropping autos is possible and indeed many growers use the method to avoid the plant focusing its energy on one or two prominent top buds and increase the number of sites producing bigger buds. However, time is against the grower with this type of plant, so super cropping autos relies on a narrow window of growth – when the plant is mature enough (when the skin of the outer main stem has developed a ‘woody’ appearance) and before the flowers appear.
How many times can you super crop a cannabis plant?
In theory, so long as the cannabis plant is healthy, you can super crop several times, depending on when you start. As it’s a high stress technique, the plant will need 5 -7 days to recover after each super crop while in the vegetative state. However, inexperienced growers are advised to play safe and do it once.
Why is super cropping cannabis plants advised?
It is commonly used to prevent marijuana plants from growing too tall ie the new position will encourage horizontal growth. This could be because of the variety grown – such as a sativa like Rainbow Road or Apricot Candy which tends to stretch a great deal and create height issues in a grow tent. However, it also has huge harvest benefits as discussed above..
Is super cropping used for indoor or outdoor plants?
Yes. While super cropping is a common technique for indoor setups where it is a useful tool for managing growth, it is also an effective way of training outdoor marijuana plants. Stealth growers like the way it changes the shape of the plant to make it less detectable, and combined with a method such as SCROG, it can be used to increase airflow and reduce the risk of mold developing.
Is super cropping the same as monster cropping?
No! Both terms carry the same sense of hype, but monster cropping is a very different process. Monster cropping refers to the technique of taking clones from a weed plant which is flowering and re-vegging it. Forget about monster cropping for now!
What if you snap the stem while super cropping a weed plant?
Don’t worry! A snapped stem can be repaired using a bit of tape or plaster. Just wind it around the split and it will seal itself within time. Just be careful manipulating it so you don’t snap it off entirely.
Is super cropping cannabis plants risky?
No. Not if you get the timing right. Whenever we give growing advice about weed training techniques, it’s important to emphasise that plants are incredibly flexible and resilient during the veg stage. You can bend them, twist them and even half break them but they will quickly recover (with a bit of help for breaks!) and continue to grow. Nature is a wonderful thing!