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A Guide to Super Cropping Marijuana Plants for Higher Yields

Are you looking for a relatively easy way to get your cannabis plants to produce dense and heavy buds aplenty? If so, then this is the place for you, as we will explain what super cropping is and how it can do all of that and more if you know where to start.

What is super cropping?

Super cropping is a method of training cannabis plants, and though most cultivators aren’t quite sure exactly how it works, if it’s performed correctly, you can get your plant to produce larger buds and more substantial yields by methodically inflicting trauma to stimulate growth and increase light efficiency.

Is super cropping a form of high-stress training (HST)?

Yes, super cropping is one of many different high stress training techniques used by cannabis growers. The reason it fits into this category is that you need to hurt the plant, which in turn causes stress to the maturing plant.

Benefits of super cropping

iStock / Yarygin

  • Expose whole buds to the light
  • Removes just enough plant materials to stimulate new growth on barren branches
  • Most significant yields
  • Higher quality product
  • Minimal risk
  • Excellent for beginners

How super cropping impacts yield

As you work to remove very specific portions of the plant, like the fan leaves, you will realize how much of what you see is truly unnecessary and, in some cases, even detrimental to your cannabis plant’s growth. Fan leaves soak up the sun and help to feed the plant, but they also block it out from lower portions that are often left unattended. Removing the unnecessary bits, a piece with help to improve the number of nutrients that you plant receives thereby increasing growth.

Why does it work?

There isn’t much for scientific study into super cropping, so we can’t say with certainty why or how this high-stress method of training cannabis plants can work so well, but we can speculate on what could be responsible for the massive stint of growth after it’s been performed.

It is believed that causing small and calculated amounts of trauma and damage to a marijuana plant, releases a rush of hormones and other chemicals to the cut site. This reaction is meant to heal, but if there isn’t too much damage to come back from, it will eventually stimulate extra growth that otherwise would not have occurred.

When can I start super cropping?

iStock / Tinnakorn Jorruang

Super cropping should be performed as soon as you notice that your cannabis plants begin to differentiate. What that means is that once you start seeing small buds making an appearance, it is likely time to get to work. The window of time in which this method remains effective is incredibly small, so it is important to start it as soon as possible.

When to stop super cropping

This is a question that experts everywhere seem to have slightly differing opinions on, as some marijuana strains are tougher and can handle remaining in this state of limbo for much longer. There are a couple of things however, that most growers will use as guidelines for the ideal time to stop super cropping.

1. Halfway through the flowering cycle
Stopping at this point will ensure that your plant has plenty of time left to continue producing buds. If you keep going, the portions of the plant that are trimmed away will not grow back, which will ultimately reduce your yield.

2. When lights on indoor plants are switched to 12 hours on 12 hours off
This usually happens once your cannabis plants reach nearly full maturity, as it helps to boost the size of the buds and the production of cannabinoids. A process that you do not want to be hindered with further trauma.

3. If plants begin to show visible signs of stress
If your marijuana plant starts to change to a yellow or brown shade or shows any other major signs of distress, then you should stop super cropping immediately. Going any further can kill the plant, so if you notice this symptom, then it is time to stop and focus on essential nutrients and care for recovery.

4. After the very first round of cuts
Some cannabis growers feel that too much manipulation can cause irreparable damage that simply isn’t worth the risk, and to them, the best time to stop super cropping is immediately after they’ve cut away the first round of trimming. This allows for plenty of healing time, and the least amount of risk while performing a high-stress training method, but the splints and ties remain in place until the plant forms in the bent way naturally, which typically occurs after one week.

How to perform super cropping step by step

This is an excellent starting point for anyone who needs to know how to super crop cannabis, however, pay attention to each direction. Seeing that each plant is different, we’ve provided some guidelines rather than precise instructions.

1. Remove excess fan leaves
Cut away only the largest sun blocking fan leaves, as they tend to add unnecessary weight and removing them will help to improve your plant’s exposure to the light.

2. Pick a branch
Choose a branch that contains at least one cola and has a stem that is still relatively easy to bend. Start with the oldest branch growth, as it will sustain through this type of treatment the best.

3. Bend the branch
Grip the middle of the branch where you would like it to bend and press down hard until you feel some slight crunching. This should loosen up the plant fibers and bend the branch downwards.

4. Tie the branch down
In some cases, ties may be necessary to get the effect right, and this can be done with twine, elastics, and a twig or stick that is sunk into the soil. Continue to repeat steps 2, 3, and 4 until your plant’s branches form a canopy.

5. Tape up injuries and breaks
Healing tape is a handy tool in any grower’s toolbox, especially through high-stress training techniques like super cropping. Once you are finished with bending and typing, go over your plants and look for any cracks or cuts and get them bandaged up.

6. Remove tape and ties after one week of healing
After a full week of waiting, the plant will be ready to let loose from any restraints, and at this point, some people like to do a second round of bending for all the latest growth.

How long until plants recover from super cropping?

It is always recommended to wait at least one week in between super cropping to allow the plant time to heal, but in some cases, it can take up to 2 weeks before you really start to see the fresh new growth begin to appear.

Growing Marijuana- Tips and tricks to maintain a healthy plant

Growing marijuana can be a rewarding experience for both beginner and experienced cultivators but knowing some of the basics can help with success.

Super cropping is one of many different high stress training techniques used by cannabis growers.

Super Cropping Marijuana: Simple Secret to Bigger Yields

Table of Contents

What is Super Cropping?

Super cropping is the name for a High-Stress Training (HST) technique when you stress the plant by slightly hurting it in a planned way.

As a result, the plant will grow bushier, with more buds, and possibly even higher THC levels! This is the plant’s natural response to protect herself in the wild, in case things go wrong. As the grower, you can take advantage of this technique to get bigger yields and more potent buds!
Why Does Super Cropping Work So Well?

Cannabis is the only known plant that naturally creates THC (which, along with CBD and other cannabinoids, make these plants of particular interest to humans).

THC is the principal ‘thing’ in the cannabis plant that causes the plant’s well-loved psychoactive effects. THC is produced mostly in the flowers of the female cannabis plants.

But cannabinoid-like substances are abundant in almost all plants and animals, including humans. In fact, humans and mammals naturally have a ton of receptors for cannabinoids throughout our brain and bodies.

If you’ve ever slept, eaten, forgotten, or relaxed, then you’ve used your Endocannabinoid system (yay for being a mammal!) and natural cannabinoids.

Ok, so why does the cannabis plant produce THC, which causes major psychotropic effects?

Did you know that THC is produced by the marijuana plant for protection?

Obviously, it’s not doing a great job protecting the plants from humans! 🙂 (Or maybe it is good for them since we keep cultivating these plants…)

In the wild, deer and many other creatures might eat marijuana flowers which would prevent the plants from making seeds and reproducing.

Yet, as far as we can tell, most animals won’t strip a whole marijuana plant of ALL her buds. Either they think cannabinoids taste terrible, or maybe they hate the effects. Therefore we believe the plants use THC as a way to deter predators.

Maybe the animals just forget what they’re doing and wander off…

Because these plants use THC to protect against predators, when marijuana plants are stressed, they’ll put their bud and cannabinoid production into overdrive as a last ditch effort to protect themselves.

Why is that all important?

For a marijuana plant, creating the prized cannabinoid-laden buds (which are used to make seeds) is their life’s work.

As a cannabis grower, it’s your job to understand what causes cannabis plants to produce the biggest, most potent buds possible.

So I’m going to let you in on a big secret to getting the biggest, best buds when growing marijuana…

While marijuana growers want to make sure that these plants survive until harvest, keeping them as absolutely healthy as possible in a 100% perfect environment without any special techniques won’t get you the best results.

Instead, the best buds are produced when you learn how to stress the plants in just the right way to increase yields and cannabinoid production.

Which brings me to super cropping, one of the easiest, most effective ways to stress your marijuana plant for better harvests.

This remarkably simple technique will dramatically increase your yields, and all it takes is your fingers, duct tape, a bit of growing experience and the knowledge of what to do. It’s based on the idea we just discussed of stressing the plant so it goes crazy with bud production.

What You Need to Super Crop Marijuana:

  • Your fingers
  • A bit of growing experience
  • Something to tie down branches in place – plant twisty ties and regular zip ties both work great, or you can get creative! (just avoid anything “sharp” like string which can start to cut into your plant’s “skin” over time)
  • Duct tape (if you make a mistake)
  • The knowledge of what to do (jump to super crop tutorial)

How to Super Crop Marijuana

First, a video example of an experienced grower supercropping his cannabis plants, and below I’ll go through each step along with another video to make it as clear as possible for you 🙂

STEP ONE: Choose the branches you would like to super-crop.

Super-cropping is best done during the vegetative stage, once the plant has grown many healthy branches and is growing vigorously, but before it is full into the flowering stage.

  1. For super-cropping, you want to choose parts of the plant that are old, but still pliable (sometimes called ‘bendy’). The parts you use this technique on should still be green, and not wood-like the bottom of the main stalk.
  2. If your plant has multiple colas, you should super-crop the same location on multiple colas. When there’s only one main cola, you supercrop the pliable greener growth towards the top.
  3. Basically, you’re trying to create a flat canopy at the top, without any stems sticking up taller than the rest.

STEP TWO: Squeeze and bend branches

The idea is to damage the inner tissue of the plant without causing damage to the outside ‘skin.’ This makes the stem super pliable so it can easily be bent in the direction that you would like for it to grow.

  1. Grab the branch and squeeze with firm pressure between your thumb and forefinger, as if you’re trying to crush the stem where you want it to bend. This helps “loosen” the joint you are about to make.
  2. Wiggle the stem between your fingers slowly back and forth for 10+ seconds while maintaining pressure, to loosen it up where you want it to bend.
  3. Continue wiggling until it feels like the inside of the stem has softened. The stem should feel pliable and loose at the joint you just made.
  4. Slowly and gently bend over stem towards the direction you want, and secure in place.

This video demonstrates a grower squeezing the stem, then bending it over. This was a very young and flexible stem. For stiffer stems, you may need to wiggle back and forth for up to 60 seconds while squeezing/crushing the stem between your fingers, before it “loosens up” enough to bend without breaking the skin. Never force it! If it feels like it’s going to snap it probably will!

Some growers just grab each branch and snap them quickly, but doing this makes it more likely you’ll snap the outside tissue and need tape.

With that being said, cannabis plants are surprisingly resilient. If you don’t bend the super-crop site hard enough, it will just bounce back to where it was in a few hours. You still may need to secure the stem down to prevent it from growing back up!

You know you’ve succeeded when the plant now appears somewhat ‘broken’ and now rests at a 90-degree angle where you bent it, and the branch stays down.

This illustration shows a perfect example of a super crop, one that doesn’t even need tape. Use tape if you go a little overboard.

In the best case scenario, the stem remains at a permanent 90° angle, while the outside tissue stays intact. At this point you need to secure the stem back down or it will come up again injust a day or two.

But no matter how you super crop, this process can cause your plant to grow a whole bunch of new colas and leaves. A plant doesn’t want to put all its effort into a branch that (as far as your plant is concerned) has probably just been attacked by animals!

STEP THREE: Fixing any tears in the outside stem & tying down

In the best case scenario, you don’t even need tape, because the outside of the plant is still whole.

  1. If you’ve gone a bit overboard, you may need to use duct tape (or another strong tape) to reinforce the plant so it can heal properly, especially if you can see an open slit or crack on the outside of the stem.
  2. If there was no cracking (yay!) then you only need to secure down your stem (or it will flip right back up in a day or two). Plant twisty ties or regular zip ties both work great!
  3. Regardless, the place that you originally bent will grow a big ‘knot’ almost like a permanent band-aid, which can transport more water, nutrients, and other good stuff compared to before.

STEP FOUR: Removing ‘bandage’ tape

  1. Wait about one week before removing any tape. It’s normal for the tissues to have discoloration at the healing sites.
  2. If the site is still grey and appears totally wounded, just put the tape back on until it has grown her protective ‘knuckle’.

Until then, the plant will be able to transport nutrients and maintain all normal processes as long as it has the tape as reinforcement.

If plant tries to straighten any branches, just tie them down (using Low-Stress Training techniques). Stems will easily give in to your will after being super cropped.

FINAL RESULT: More buds, more branches, and a shorter, more controlled and bushy plant. Perfect for closet, stealth grows.

Unlike topping or extensively plucking leaves, super cropping does not dramatically slow down the growth of the plant (though you should expect to give her a little time to recover), while giving you many of the same benefits of these other High-Stress Training techniques.

Super cropping is easy, free, and surprisingly effective at getting your current grow room to produce bigger yields in the exact same setup. Find out exactly what to do right here!