Every grower wants to yield one pound or more of marijuana from a single plant, and many of them claim to do just that. It is possible to yield that much under the perfect conditions, but there are several variables that growers need to control precisely to achieve it. It is difficult to measure exactly what a person will get from their plants and there are no hard and fast rules for getting the most out of each one. Understanding the factors that determine yield and how to adjust them can get growers moving in the right direction.
Before a grower can fine tune the details of their grow operation, they need to decide whether they will grow indoors out outdoors. Plants grown indoors typically produce more because of the controlled growing environment and reduced exposure to the insects and plant diseases. However, growing outdoors requires less equipment and has a lower startup cost. To get a comprehensive understanding of the variables that affect yield and which option is best for you, the following information is divided into two categories: growing indoors and growing outdoors.
For a plant to thrive indoors, growers must replicate the plant’s ideal outdoor environment while minimizing its risks and challenges. They will need to provide their plants with ample space in a controlled environment with minimal light, temperature, and humidity disruptions. Growing indoors is a complex process that involves many upfront investments, meticulous planning, and constant care. When done successfully, the result is a beautiful, high-yield plant. Below is a guide on the variables that affect yield when growing indoors.
By far the most critical factor in setting up an indoor grow operation is perfecting the lighting. Most marijuana strains require set hours of light and dark to maintain each stage of growth. For example, most plants that receive less than 12 hours of light will begin the flowering stage. Some Sativa strains will flower with less than 13-14 hours of light, so it is important to know what the strain requires when planning out lighting.
On average, an experienced grower can yield one gram of marijuana per watt of light used. So when growers use a 400-watt bulb, they can expect to yield 400 grams of dried marijuana. However, the more plants there are per bulb, the lower the yield will be. If growers want to maximize their yield, they must have enough light bulbs to sustain the number of plants being grown.
Many growers try to force their plants into the flowering stage by aggressively reducing the number of light hours that the plant receives. While sometimes this is necessary, forcing a plant to flower before it’s ready has risks. The plant is more likely to turn into a hermaphrodite which is a female plant that produces male flower anatomy. These plants have smaller, less potent buds that are filled with marijuana seeds. Even one hermaphrodite plant can ruin an entire grow because it will pollinate the rest of the plants. To get the highest yield possible, it is best to plan the grow schedule around the plant’s natural cycle.
Another critical consideration when trying to maximize marijuana yield is whether plants are grown in soil or hydroponically. Heavy-yield seeds are a good place to start but the growing method is also an important determining factor. While both hydro and soil methods can produce significant amounts of marijuana, there are important things to know when choosing which method to use.
When growing in a hydroponic system, growers use an inert medium like coconut fiber or perlite to support the plant’s roots and maintain a good water-to-oxygen ratio. The plant is provided a pH-balanced water and oxygen mixture and is given a nutrient solution, the contents of which is determined by its growth stage. Growing plants in a hydroponic system produces higher yields on average, but is more difficult to manage than growing in soil.
Growing in soil provides growers with a buffer that guards their plants against mistakes. Beginner growers who have not perfected their method make common mistakes like giving their plants water with a high pH or miscalculating the amount of nutrients to give the plant during each stage. In a hydroponic system, this could seriously damage the plant, which will affect the number and quality of the buds that plant produces.
Good quality soil has a nutrient content that can protect plants given too few or the wrong ratio of nutrients. Additionally, soil holds onto nutrients, giving plants the time to absorb what they need.
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The timely addition of the right ratio of nutrients can transform a mediocre marijuana plant into something worthy of the cover of High Times Magazine. Many growers take their method of adding nutrients seriously, brewing compost tea and aerating their solution before adding it to the plants. Regardless of whether a person chooses to spend hours making such a nutrient solution, the most important factor is what nutrients are being added and when.
Marijuana plants require a range of nutrients to get a high yield, but the most important ones are the macronutrients nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Nitrogen is used in the early vegetative stages to encourage chlorophyll production, helping the plant grow tall and produce stems and leaves. Once the plant buds, its need for nitrogen drops and it uses phosphorus and potassium to help it produce large, dense flowers. Marijuana plants also require the micronutrients calcium, magnesium, copper, and iron, but it smaller quantities.
Perhaps the most important factor in maximizing a grower’s yield is the genetics of the plants they grow. Some strains are bred to produce more buds than others. Indica strains produce many dense buds, but they are less potent than Sativa strains. While Sativa strains have some of the highest levels of THC, the plants are much taller and produce less. Additionally, starting plants from seed, rather than from a clone, will typically give growers a higher yield.
Some autoflower strains produce less overall because they begin to flower after a fixed number of weeks, limiting how big growers can get their plant. However, auto-flower strains are much easier to work into a rotating schedule, so growers may increase their total amount of marijuana grown yearly by using them.
Growing outdoors eliminates the stress of perfecting a lighting schedule, but it gives growers less control over the environment in which their plants grow. With ideal weather, plants grown outdoors can yield up to 500 grams each. Growers need to pay special attention to the amount of space each plant has. They should have either two meters between them or a 15-gallon bucket for proper root development and space to grow.
There are critical risk factors of which growers should be aware when planning an outdoor grow operation. Because they don’t have control over the weather, excess moisture can cause significant damage either through over watering or mold development. Outdoor plants are more susceptible to dangerous insect infestations, such as aphids and spider mites. Growers need to be meticulous when checking their plants for insects, as a few can turn into thousands overnight.
It’s true that different marijuana strains require different conditions, but there are things that growers can do that will increase their yield regardless of the strain grown. Below are some tips on how to maximize yield for any plant variety.
Sometimes less is more, and that is the case when growing marijuana. This is mainly because of the amount of light the plants need to produce viable buds. When there are too many plants per light, the plants won’t produce as much and it could be a waste of resources.
Marijuana plants produce their biggest buds at the top of the plant, or the canopy. Growers can increase how many stems reach the canopy by manipulating them as they grow. There are a variety of methods to maximize the canopy, including pruning and using a screen to force the canopy of the plants to grow flat, called a “screen of green” (SCROG).
Once you’ve watched your seeds become mature plants, it may be hard to resist harvesting buds once they’ve started to look big and beautiful, it is important to time it correctly. If harvested too soon, growers reduce yield and the buds are less potent. Buds can increase in size up to 25% in the final week of growth, so it is worth the weight.
It is equally important to dry the harvested marijuana correctly. It takes ten to fourteen days of being stored in a dry, dark room kept at 64°F to ensure it’s done properly. Growers can expect their buds to weigh 20-25% of what they did when harvested.
So many factors affect how much a person can yield from a marijuana plant that it is difficult to calculate what to expect. However, there are proven methods growers can use to increase how much marijuana they got from each plant, regardless of the strain they grow. Check out i49 USA to get started with some heavy-yield cannabis seeds.