While the scrogging method is more commonly associated with the indoor grow room, it is also possible to scrog outdoor cannabis and there are some real advantages to using this method. Scrog is short for Screen of Green and the technique is becoming increasingly popular amongst small scale cannabis cultivators looking to maximize their growing space.
Scrogging uses a wide holed mesh (or screen) that is positioned above cannabis plants. Starting in the veg phase the plants are tucked/weaved through the mesh in order to promote sideways rather than upwards growth. The method sounds a lot more complicated (and daunting!) than it actually is, and this Paradise guide answers common questions associated with the process.
Outdoor Cannabis Scrog to Weather Proof Plants
An outdoor cannabis scrog is universally effective, but the method has more benefits for growers planting outdoor cannabis seeds in more northern regions. Such growing sites are characterized by more temperate climates with changeable summer weather (ie lower temperatures, inconsistent sunshine, cloud cover and periodic rain) and a swift change in temperature and weather conditions in the Autumn/Fall. This method is also advantageous for those growing in southern regions where the local climate is wetter (due to coastal positioning for example).
The flowering of photoperiod plants begins at the end of August/early September and in these regions coincides with the onset of Autumn conditions when the drop in temperatures and more frequent rain raise the risk of mold affecting their crop. Scrogged outdoor plants allow the grower to manage the process in order minimize the issues that accompany this change.
Firstly, this method cultivates plants with an even covering of buds. There will be no monster top buds to attract the attention of mold, but instead numerous buds which are more modest in size (although still fat and chunky). The spread growth, with buds spaced out and separated, means that shade leaves can be thinned out to provide good air circulation, a key defence against mold. Many outdoor cannabis scrog growers report that even if a couple of bud sites get infected with mold, it doesn’t tend to spread in the same way and these can be easily isolated and removed.
The other great advantage of this technique is that a scrogged plant grown with outdoor cannabis seeds is far easier to cover in the face of an impending rain shower (or a number of days of Autumn rains in some places).
Outdoor Scrogging to Camouflage Cannabis Plants
An outdoor cannabis scrog is also a very effective method to use as part of a stealth set up, for example in a garden overlooked by other buildings. It counters two of the most common issues which cause anxiety for the outdoor grower – problems with height associated with a cannabis plant growing wildly out of control in a garden plot and the risk of detection by a nosey neighbour.
Spreading the growth out horizontally is incredibly effective for masking the presence of cannabis in a garden plot. While a traditional vertical growth cannabis plant is an obvious presence in any garden, to the untrained eye it is very difficult to identify a scrogged cannabis plant. This is particularly true if the plant is surrounded by other plants and vegetation, causing it to literally merge into the background.
Tips for a Successful Outdoor Scrog
– Adjust the height to account for the Autumn sun. While indoors, the screen is often applied to plants at heights of 25 – 35cm, outdoors growers will need a bit more clearance. This will help the plant to compete for sunshine with those around it and especially absorb those precious Autumn rays. As the line of the sun dips as the summer ends, make sure the plants are still in its line. Scrogging at a height of 50 – 100 cm therefore provides some assurance in this respect.
– In order to get that vertical growth going, mainlining is an excellent technique to use which will produce a sturdy stem base and healthy side branches to begin the scrogging process (as explained in our Skunkworks video tutorial).
– Adapt your screen. As mentioned in an indoor grow room, it’s easy, outside however there are no fixings so the outdoor grower needs to be a little more inventive. A screen can be fixed using stakes (these can be as simple as bamboo garden canes) and cable ties.
– Choose cannabis seeds which are recommended for growing as part of a scrog set up. Paradise Seeds has a number of varieties which are suitable, including big yield Sativas (L.A. Amnesia, Atomical Haze), Indicas (Ice Cream and Durga Mata) and hybrids (Opium and Nebula). Autoflowers are not recommended for scrogging due to their fast growth pattern.