Since the dawn of civilizations, man has cultivated different types of plants that bear fruits, flowers or vegetables and we have developed many different ways to affect the way they grow and produce the food we eat every day. Through modern methods, we bred special types of plants that naturally adapt to different environments, produce the fruit we want or look the way we want them to be. Autoflower cannabis seeds and plants have been discovered and have been bred with other different types of marijuana plants for better quality while having the quality that auto flower cannabis seeds are known for – fast growth.
This is also true with marijuana plants. We now have hundreds of breeds to choose from and every one of these has unique traits and attributes that make them unique. One of the easiest ways that we could change the way our plants behave is through plant training.
Have you ever seen a bonsai tree? A bonsai plant or tree is a mature one, yet its growth was stunted making it show mature leaves and trunks in a small body. This gives the bonsai tree a surreal look and this could only be achieved by plant training.
Although plant training is more about changing the appearance of the plant. This change of appearance could mean a definitive advantage to the plants’ way of growth and development. Marijuana plants could be trained so that they could grow differently from how they normally develop but this change is for their advantage.
Plant training is done by putting the plant under stress and making them adapt to the stress that is artificially put into it by the grower to affect its growing behavior. Different kinds of plants may need different kinds of training. One such training is the Low-Stress Method or LST. This method requires bending the stems of the plant to bend so that light gets distributed evenly across the plant especially those leaves on the lower part.
One such method of putting the plant under stress is by pruning. Pruning the practice of removing certain parts of a plant, such as branches, buds, or roots to remove deadwood removal, shaping by controlling or redirecting growth, improving or sustaining health, reducing risk from falling branches, preparing nursery specimens for transplanting, harvesting, and increasing the yield or quality of flowers and fruits. In nature, natural conditions such as wind, ice and snow, and salinity can cause plants to self-prune or cut their parts. This natural shedding or pruning is called abscission.
Two of the Most Common Methods of Training Marijuana Plants is by Topping and FIMing
Topping is also a technique that means cutting the main stem for the plant to grow from more than one cola or big stem rather than one. Topping marijuana plants is as simple as cutting the top of the main stem using sterile scissors. This stress caused by the cutting will redistribute growth hormones to the new offshoots.
Topping is the process of cutting the main growing tip of the main stem of the marijuana plant which usually is the top, hence, it is called topping. Topping or cutting off the top of the main stem during its vegetative growth phase will induce your plant to develop more than one main stems naturally.
Having more than one main stem will give the plant a low profile stance and allow more even light distribution in the different parts of your plants from top to bottom. This is especially advantageous for indoor growers where light is static and very limited, unlike those outdoor growers where the sun may move across the sky providing light to different parts of the plants during the day.
In an indoor growing environment, a normal marijuana plant that has an apex or is shaped like a Christmas tree may have a problem in light distribution due to the shadow that is cast by the top stems and leaves. Making the plant grow laterally or horizontally will ensure better light distribution.
Topping will also make the plant develop more leaves due to more branches growing on its sides instead of having one dominant stem growing upwards. If the grower wanted, he may further top the side branches as well that creates a bushier plant than ever before. More stems meant more leaves that shall absorb light and more buds to grow leading to a bigger harvest or yield.
There are other techniques of pruning your marijuana plants to induce some desirable changes in their physical properties. FIMing, for example, is another technique. Fiming is done by shaving the top of the plant instead of completely cutting it. This shaving or slightly damaging the top stem may require some support or trellis for it to not completely break. Some growers see fiming as superior to the topping.
Topping your marijuana plant may prolong its vegetative state more than usual by making it 4-6 weeks instead of the lesser number of weeks in normal plants that are not topped. This is due to the complex healing process that the plant does to itself and making it naturally grow more than one main stem through its instinct. Instead of growing stems, branches and leaves vertically, topped marijuana plants grow horizontally.
This lateral growth poses another major disadvantage which could be easily remedied, fortunately. Normal marijuana plants look like Christmas trees that are wide at the bottom and sharp at the top making it balanced. However, since topped cannabis plants grow from the sides more than at the top, it may need to be supported using bamboo stalks and others.
Having too bushy plants may also pose ventilation problems as well or even light distribution problems that topping tries to solve in the first place. This disadvantage could easily be remedied by putting more space between the plants.
FIMing is another method like topping but it only requires a slight cut on the top of the plant without cutting it entirely just like in topping. Marijuana plants normally grow like a Christmas tree but topping and FIMing will make it bushier with leaves more scattered and ready to absorb more light. It is important to note that training could only be done on healthy plants as sick plants may die due to the stress of the training procedure.