Benefits of Super Cropping Cannabis
Wondering if super cropping is worth it? It can seem daunting to apply high stress training if you have never done it before. However, we can assure you there are numerous benefits to doing so. High stress training is a proven practice amongst growers and has shown great results on many occasions. This article outlines the benefits of super cropping so you can feel confident training your cannabis plants.
What Is Super Cropping?
Super cropping essentially means to ‘crop’ a cannabis plant. Technically speaking, cropping is a term used to describe the reduction in the composition of an image or object. Cropping enhances the final result by manipulating the shape and size of said subject. When applied correctly, cropping means the contained information can make more efficient use of its available space.
When we super crop a cannabis plant, we are not actually cutting off any plant material. Super cropping is the act of strategically bending branches at roughly a 90° angle to limit their upward growth. Branches are tied or supported and allowed to recover, creating strong knots at the bend points.
Super cropping can encourage a cannabis plant to bush out by allowing lower branches to catch up in height. These branches can also be super cropped until a desired shape and size have been achieved. For best results, super cropping is normally combined with other training techniques such as topping or FIMing.
Super cropping involves:
- Bending branches at a 90 degree angle
- Supporting trained growth
- Tying down branches
- Allowing plants to recover and grow upwards again.
Super Cropping by MrJoint from GrowDiaries.
The Benefits of Super Cropping
Cannabis plants have to work fairly hard in nature and do a great job of it, but their efficiency can be improved with just a few changes. The typical structure of a cannabis plant is relatively tall, with one main stem and symmetrical lateral branching. The plants expand through their life in order to make use of the light, as well as to increase their chances of mating (pollen carried through the wind).
Most the time we are not trying to pollinate our female cannabis plants, so the intention is to control size as a way to increase the surface area to which light is able to reach. With a little training, a cannabis plant can make even better use of the sunlight, or for an indoor grower, the grow lights he/she is using. If you hadn’t guessed already, that means bigger yields of your favourite bud.
Stressing a cannabis plant causes it to respond in different ways, depending on the technique used. With super cropping, heavily bending branches strengthens the plant significantly. The trained spots tend to recover within a few days, forming a knot or thick joint which acts as extra support once branches develop buds.
Benefits of Super Cropping Cannabis:
- Short plants with a wide, bushy structure
- Thick nodes on branches for support
- Flat canopy with more access to light
- Bigger yields
- Efficient use of space.
Super Cropping For Bigger Yields
The main reason for super cropping is undoubtedly to achieve larger harvests in the space available. Height restrictions, light spread, and floor space all determine how plants can be manipulated to perform better under their conditions.
As an example, if we grow one cannabis plant under a 400w HPS without training, the likelihood is that the lower branches will not be receiving as much light as they could. The main cola limits how close the light can be placed to the top buds. It blocks light from reaching further down, meaning the plant is not producing at maximum efficiency.
Super cropping the main stem breaks the upward pattern and encourages sideways growth. Once lower branches catch up in height and an even canopy has been achieved, hormones in the plant become fairly distributed across the top buds, rather than primarily at the top of the main stem. Now, the plant has full access to the light, can absorb more energy and will be more productive.
Tip: Check the strains you are growing to see if they can handle stress otherwise HST may do more harm than good.
Best Time To Perform Super Cropping
The recommended time to perform super cropping is during the vegetative stage once the plant has at least 4-5 nodes on the main stem. Doing it too early could be too stressful for the plant and doing it late (in flowering) may affect yields. The idea is to prepare the plant for flowering by manipulating it in vegetation so it has plenty of time to heal.
Indoors, the timing is more flexible because we can keep our plants in vegetation for as long as we need to achieve the ideal structure. Cannabis plants perform best when they are at optimal health before flipping the schedule. Outdoors, we need to apply training with plenty of time before the flowering season.
Tip: Super cropping is best performed no later than 2-3 weeks into the flowering stage.
How To Apply Super Cropping To Cannabis
Super cropping sometimes occurs naturally outside without warning. An intense gust of wind can be enough to bend and break the leaves or branches of a cannabis plant. Depending on the level of damage (and the type of plant), the recovery is generally well handled and even without support a branch can be healed and growing vertically again in a matter of days.
Super cropping is often combined with low stress training techniques (LST) to hold branches down. Instead of the branch returning to its vertical position, just the tip turns to face the light. Scar tissue develops at the bend, leaving a knuckle-like deformation which provides support to the newly positioned branch.
How To Apply Super Cropping:
- Disinfect/wash your hands
- Select a tall branch – normally the main stem is super cropped first. Choose branches that are still soft and haven’t got a rough, woody texture.
- Use your thumb and forefinger to rub and roll the point you want to bend. This can be any point on the branch up until the 2nd or 3rd node from the tip. Warm the core for 30 seconds to exercise the fibres on the branch.
- Bend/fold the branch against your thumb or forefinger into the required position. You may want to bend multiple sites on one branch to achieve the right positioning but be careful not to bend too many points at once.
- Provide support to the branches if necessary, i.e. The branch breaks or can’t hold itself up at a minimum 90° angle.
- Tie the branch down (LST) between the bend point and branch tip using soft ties to prevent it from completely returning to vertical position.
- Wait 3-5 days for the plant to heal before super cropping further. As branches extend higher you may want to continue super cropping to maintain an even canopy.
You may want to look into other stress training techniques as they may be useful towards your goals as a grower. Super cropping is worthwhile on its own, but bigger, better results can be achieved with extra training and the right guidance.
Tip: If a branch snaps/breaks while you are trying to bend it, do not worry. Use tape to bandage it up and provide it with some support (e.g. With sticks or string).
Super cropping is fairly easy to perform but it might take a bit of practice to achieve the desired results. With this information you can put it to the test and see for yourself how super cropping can improve everything we love about cannabis growing; large yields of terpene-rich, THC loaded nugs.
An article about the benefits of super cropping cannabis plants. Learn about this highly effective training method to improve your cannabis yields.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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
- Wait about one week before removing any tape. It’s normal for the tissues to have discoloration at the healing sites.
- 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!