The Art of Plant Training and SCROG: Grow Bigger and Better

As a gardener with years of experience, I have worked with a wide variety of plants, from vegetables to herbs with a strong focus on the plant we all love. Saying that training your plants is an important part of gardening would be an understatement because once you master other variables in your garden it becomes perhaps the most critical aspect of your grow. You can easily differentiate a skilled grower just by looking at how well-trained their plants are. Training involves manipulating the growth of your plants to produce healthier, more robust yields as well as mitigate some potential issues. 

In this article, I will share some techniques for training your plant and focus your attention on my favorite: The SCROG technique. Here below I’ve listed a few popular training techniques. Please take note that these can be used individually or all at once. I recommend the latter. 

- Topping: Topping involves removing the top growth of the plant, which encourages the growth of lateral branches. This technique can increase yield and improve the quality of the buds.

- LST (Low-Stress Training): LST involves bending and tying down the branches of the cannabis plant. This technique allows the plant to grow wider instead of taller, which can improve yield and prevent the plant from getting too tall.

- SCROG (Screen of green): More on this technique below.

The ultimate training: SCROG

The Screen of Green (SCROG) training technique is a popular method used by many growers to improve yields and maximize light distribution in their plants. It involves using a screen or netting to create a horizontal canopy of flowers that grow at the same height, resulting in more even light distribution and a higher yield.

The SCROG technique begins by growing the plant to a desired height and then placing a screen or netting over the plant. In some cases, if the plant gets very heavy you might want to add another screen. The screen is typically supported by stakes or wires but if you are in a tent you can also use support bars such as those in the Growbuds SCROG trellis netting 

As the plant grows, the branches are constantly tucked under the screen, which helps create an even canopy of flowers. The result: a beautiful uniform canopy that fills the entire grow area.

Some growers begin doing this process very early in the vegetative stages while others wait until the early flowering stage when the plant is stretching before implementing the trellis. Personally if I am mostly looking to support my big heavy flowers I will start just before flowering and if I plan on doing a stunning uniform canopy that will provide all the benefits listed below I would start earlier.

Benefits of the SCROG training method

One of the primary benefits of the SCROG technique is that it maximizes the use of available light. By creating an even canopy of flowers the light is distributed more evenly across the plant, and each bud receives the same amount of light. This can help prevent light burn and improve the quality of the flowers, resulting in a higher yield.

Another benefit of the SCROG technique is that it allows for better air circulation around the plant, which can help prevent mold and other fungal diseases. By creating an even canopy of buds, the air can circulate more freely around the plant, preventing stagnant air pockets and reducing the risk of issues.

The SCROG technique also makes it easier to manage the plant's height and shape. By training the branches to grow through the screen, the plant is kept at a consistent height and shape, making it easier to manage and maintain. This can be particularly helpful for indoor growers who have limited space and need to keep their plants at a manageable size.

One last “bonus” benefit would be that it's very aesthetically pleasing and satisfying to watch.

How can someone easily implement this in a grow tent?

Implementing the Screen of Green (SCROG) technique in a grow tent is relatively easy and can be done by following these steps:

  1. Install a screen or netting: The first step is to install a screen or netting in your grow tent. The screen should be positioned at a level where you want your canopy to be uniform. I recommend using a screen made specifically for SCROG training such as this one from Growbuds. You can adjust the height at any time, it provides support poles to effectively tighten your net and those frame poles can even double as a high-CFM kit. Otherwise, you can create your own DIY SCROG net using strings or other trellises.

  1. Train the branches: Once the screen is in place, you can start training the branches of your plants to be tucked under the screen. As the plants grow, gently bend the branches and weave them through the holes in the screen, making sure each branch has its own space. This will create an even canopy of buds that will grow at the same height.

  1. Prune the lower branches: To prevent the lower branches from wasting energy and nutrients, you can prune them off. This will allow the plant to focus its energy on the flowers that are growing through the screen.
  2. Adjust the screen as necessary: As your plants grow, you may need to adjust the screen to accommodate their growth. You can raise the screen higher as the plants get taller, or you can move the screen closer to the plants to encourage growth in certain areas.
  3. Provide proper lighting: To maximize the benefits of the SCROG technique, it's essential to provide proper lighting. Make sure the lights are positioned at the correct height above the canopy, and use a timer to ensure the plants receive the right amount of light each day.

By following these steps, you can easily implement the SCROG training technique in your grow tent. Just make sure to do your research and adjust your technique as necessary to ensure the best possible results.