Top 10 Ways to Grow Smarter, Not Harder
The process of growing cannabis can be complicated and may intimidate new growers. Small mistakes can have serious long-term consequences, making it seem like growers must do everything perfectly to prevent failure. While it is important to have a good understanding of what cannabis plants need and how they grow, there are strategies that growers can use to set themselves up for success, even on the first try.
1. Have a Strategy
The first step to success in growing cannabis is to have a strategy outlined ahead of time. It may need adjusting as time goes on, but having a base for operations set up will help keep growers on track. The strategy should include how and when to change lights, prune the plants, add nutrients, and harvest. Write this strategy down and keep it somewhere close to the grow room or equipment needed for growing. This ensures it can be easily referenced and helps to keep everything on track. After a while, growers may not reference it as often, but it will be there in case they need it.
2. Perfect the Growing Environment
Cannabis plants require specific growing conditions. Growers can limit their chance for error and increase their yield by perfecting the environment before they start. The major factors to consider are:
Cannabis plants require a varying number of light hours depending on their growth stage. In the beginning, the plants should receive 18 to 24 hours of light to help them grow fast. In the later stage, they’ll need 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark. As the plants grow, the light’s height will need to be adjusted so it is not too close to the top of the plant. Growers should prepare their grow room by investing in a timer to manage the number of light hours their plants receive and a pulley system to adjust the height of the light easily.
The ideal temperature to grow cannabis is between 65 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. The lights inside of a grow room give off heat, even if they are LED lights. Grow rooms often have issues with getting too hot, which has a negative effect on the plant. Growers can plan ahead with fans and a ventilation system that removes hot air from the grow room. An adjustable ventilation system that is simple to adjust is best so it can be altered as needed to allow for more or less ventilation.
Grow rooms that have a lot of indica or sativa plants often have issues with humidity. Keeping humidity low is an important step in preventing the growth of damaging molds and fungi, like powdery mildew. Molds and fungi can cause the plant to die if they grow unchecked. Additionally, if the humidity is too low, the plants are more likely to get dehydrated. It is important that growers have a thermometer that measures humidity as well as temperature to make sure they are within the ideal humidity range.
3. Keep Fastidious Records
Growers are sometimes faced with deficiencies in nutrients or issues with overwatering that require correction. Having detailed records of when the plants were watered, how much they received, and what nutrients they were given can help narrow down the problem. Additionally, tracking temperature and humidity can help growers identify any issues with too much light or temperature fluctuations.
A simple journal is all that is needed for this. Growers can create an entry when they do something like water or fertilize the plants and can track any signs of issues as well as what is done to correct them. This doesn’t need to be fancy, but it can help growers remember when they watered last and look back to see what they did a previous season with their cherry kush strain or sativa seed plants if they start to have an issue again the following year.
4. Remain Consistent
Consistency is key when growing cannabis. Inconsistent lighting can cause plants to become a hermaphrodite, which will result in cannabis flowers with seeds in it. Inconsistent watering will stress plants, reducing growth and quality overall.
It is critical that growers follow a consistent schedule. Not only will the plants respond positively to consistent light, nutrients, and water, but it will help keep the grower on track, as well. Timers set on phones can help with consistency, as well as keeping a written schedule so it is easy to see when the plant needs to be watered. Automation can also help with this, as water, lights, and more can be automatically turned on or off.
5. Don’t Rely Completely on Automation
While having an automatic timer for lights is nice, relying on automation for everything can have disastrous results. Cannabis plants are living things and can suffer infections, diseases, and pests that kill them quickly. Growers who rely too heavily on automation will miss important signs that their grand daddy purp or super lemon strain plants are suffering from a disease or infestation that needs to be addressed immediately. Even if automation is used to make it easier to ensure the plants are watered at the same time or that the lights turn on and off properly, it’s necessary to check on the plants.
Additionally, growers will need to adjust their growing strategy as their i 49 plants respond. They need to check daily for signs of nutrient deficiencies and lighting issues, which may go unnoticed if the grower relies on automation to do all the work. If they are checking on the plants daily, they can make adjustments to the automation as needed to minimize the potential for any issues and ensure the plants have what they need to grow.
6. Make Changes Slowly
Making drastic changes too quickly will stress cannabis plants. When a marijuana plant is stressed, it produces a hormone called jasmonic acid. Jasmonic acid is a growth inhibitor that will slow the plant’s growth. Small amounts of stress can improve the quality of the marijuana buds, but too much stress is not advised. Too much of this hormone means the plant isn’t going to grow as tall or thick as it could. When this happens, it means the harvest from the plant isn’t going to be as large, so it’s not going to produce as much as it could have.
7. Prune Effectively
Pruning is the practice of selectively removing certain parts of the cannabis plant to promote growth only in areas where the grower wants. Growers prune cannabis plants to encourage them to produce more flowers.
In addition to more flowers, the buds that grow from your feminized weed seeds will be much denser and heavier. Plants that have been pruned will not waste vital energy and resources of feeding parts of the plant that will not produce, so the parts of the plant that are left are of better quality. Growers must be careful not to over prune their plants, which will stress them and cause them to produce more jasmonic acid.
How to Prune
There are several pruning methods that growers can use to encourage growth and maximize their yield. For the best results, growers should focus on using one method of pruning at a time. Some methods are more stressful to the plant than others, so growers must be mindful of the condition of their plants when pruning. Below is a summary of the most common pruning methods.
Topping is one of the most widely used pruning methods for cannabis plants. It is best for this method to be used in conjunction with other pruning methods, as topping does not address the low-hanging, tiny branches at the bottom of the plant. Topping is done when the plant has grown taller and is meant to encourage bushy growth.
To top a marijuana plant, growers will cut off the top of the main stem of the plant. While this may seem like a terrible idea, it actually encourages the plant to grow two main stalks rather than just one. However, topping is stressful to the plant, as it interrupts communication between the main stalk and the plant’s leaves. Growers should make sure to top plants earlier in the vegetative stage, switching to different pruning methods later on.
The topping method of pruning is typically used on the main stalk, but it can be used on smaller branches to encourage new main stems, as well. When the main stalk is cut, the leaves directly below it grow exponentially, which will leave branches at the bottom lagging behind. To even out the plants’ growth, the topping method should be used a few times.
Lollipopping is an extreme method of pruning a cannabis plant that makes a lot of growers nervous the first time they attempt it. To use this method, growers remove all the smaller branches and leaves off of a plant’s stem, leaving only the very tip of the branch and a few fan leaves directly below it. It is called lollipopping because the bare branches and thick top resemble a lollipop.
Lollipopping should be done only one to two times throughout the vegetative stage, as it can be stressful for plants. This method removes all the unwanted small growth towards the inside and bottom of a cannabis plant, making it focus on growing larger branches with huge fan leaves at the top of each branch. Not only will this help produce a larger plant with a bigger yield, but it increases airflow inside the plant, which discourages mold growth.
Fimming first came about as the result of growers accidentally taking too little off of a plant when using the topping method. Rather than growers cutting the stem where the top two fan leaves emerge from the stem, they pinch new growth off the stem, leaving a portion of the new growth and stem behind. This is usually done with a person’s fingers rather than clippers or scissors.
This method is less stressful to the plant than topping, but it is also less consistent. If done correctly, a cannabis plant will produce four colas instead of just one. Fimming should be done when plants are younger, as larger plants will not produce consistent results. After fimming, the base of the stem should grow thicker, signaling its preparation for bearing the weight of extra colas.
8. Have Standard Operating Procedures
It doesn’t take much to introduce diseases to a grow room. One person who is careless on one day could introduce powdery mildew or insect larvae that quickly devastate the plants. By establishing standard operating procedures for cleanliness and handling the plants, growers can limit the plants’ exposure to deadly diseases and pests.
These operating procedures can include washing hands before entering the room, wiping down equipment between use or when brought into the room for the first time, and sanitizing the equipment at the end of each growing season. This is especially important if there are any issues one season, as it can help prevent the issue from automatically happening again the next season.
9. Don’t Take Shortcuts
As complicated as growing high thc cannabis or cbd hemp seeds can be, it is easy for growers to be tempted by short cuts. However, it is important to know that there are no quick and easy ways to increase yields. Growing cannabis requires attention to detail and takes time and there is no way around that.
10. Grow Strains with Similar Schedules
There are thousands of cannabis strains, and each one takes a different amount of time to reach harvest. Growers who choose strains that have similar schedules will have the easiest time caring for their plants. For example, growing strains that take an average of 20 weeks from seed to harvest will cut down on a lot of guesswork when adjusting lights and picking a time to harvest.
The Bottom Line
Growing cannabis can be complicated, but it is not impossible for new growers to get great results. Starting with a good growing set up and schedule, growers can limit the chances of making errors that ruin their plants. Also consider starting with one of i49’s recommendations of easy to grow weed seeds, which should be very resilient regardless of where you live in the USA. Use the tips here to get a good start on the first plants you grow and continue to get good results as you go along.
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