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In a previous article, we explored the so-called Low-Stress Training techniques, which allow for increased plant productivity, especially in tight environments such as grow-boxes and home grows.
Some other techniques aim for the same goal, only with a more traumatic approach for the plant. That’s why they are called High-Stress Training Techniques, although our grandparents called it simply “pruning.”
I think the term “high-stress” also refers to the stress of practicing these techniques: thinking you might make a mistake and end up with no crop or with a severely compromised yield is certainly not relaxing. So before you venture into these techniques, make sure you have read all the sources well and watched one or more videos before you try it!
This article from 2fst4buds lays out the pros and cons of High-Stress Techniques very well to make things even clearer.
And now, let’s take a look at some of the most used techniques.
Topping to the top
The topping technique consists of cutting the apical part of the plant at a precise point in order to obtain a series of advantages:
- decrease the height of the plant (which is very useful for domestic crops and Linfa users);
- modify the structure of the plant, which will grow more flattened and will better exploit the light;
- increase production, creating two main colas instead of one.
Cannabis University’s topping guide is one of the most comprehensive on the web.
If you are a lucky Linfa user, this video shows you ho easy is to perform the topping.
Fim(m)ing or pinching
Pinching, also known as Fiming (which stands for Fuck… I missed) is an apparently more awkward technique, discovered by chance (oh serendipity…) by a grower who had poorly executed a topping.
Fimming consists of cutting off about 75% of the tip of a plant. After you FIM your marijuana plant, it grows 4 main colas instead of one. But beware, micro-growers: fimmed plants can still grow tall. If you’re using a grow box or planning on doing a scrog, topping makes things more manageable.
It is not a stone-carved law, but most Linfa growers who have tried both techniques suggest using topping combined with Low Stress Tecniques such as SCROG
Royal Queen Seeds has a very informative article which compares the two techniques in great detail.
Grab the tip of your plant and gently elongate the growth with one hand. Use a pair of clean scissors to snip about 75% of the top. You’ll be left with a small turf of growth that will eventually give life to four colas.
Another high-stress training technique is what is known as super cropping. It consists of causing deliberate damage to the plant so that it reacts with a defensive response that makes it more robust and increases yield.
Apparently, it’s not for the faint of heart because it involves bending, almost to the point of breaking, a small branch of the plant. Yet, once learned, this technique is among the simplest and most effective. Here are all the secrets of super cropping, explained by Royal Queen Seeds.
And here is also an exciting super cropping video tutorial.
What are the best training techniques for micro growers?
In short, training techniques, whether low-stress or high-stress, are a smart way to optimize production in domestic and micro-growing crops. Which technique is best must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. There are many variables: the type of cultivation, the variety of cannabis, the equipment, and much more.
For example, there is a vast debate among growers about applying high-stress training techniques to autoflowering plants. The fixed length of the vegetative season, some say, would prevent the plant from fully recovering from stress, thus leading to a poorer yield: the exact opposite of what these techniques aim for. Others assert that it’s just a matter of experience and that with time you can apply truly extreme techniques even to these plants
My advice is to read a lot, hear the opinions of other growers, then start experimenting.
Joining a community like We Love Growing Cannabis is very important, because it allows you to confront yourself with other growers, give and receive advice and exchange opinions.