Advanced Cannabis Training and Growing Techniques for Experienced Growers

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Added 14 June 2023

Growing cannabis is a journey — we always say that — but over time, many intermediate growers find themselves on a plateau. After all, what else can you do to improve your cannabis cultivation after you’ve set up a hydroponic system, trained your plant, and used other methods to improve its yield?

You’d still be surprised to know that you may still be scratching the surface. There are way more things you can do to boost your cannabis cultivation process, including some advanced techniques that promise tremendous results. Learn about some of the best cannabis training techniques in this article.

1. Practice Advanced Cannabis Training Methods

Practice Advanced Cannabis Training Methods

One of the most effective ways for advanced growers to boost their plant’s health and yield is to use training methods like mainlining, fluxing, or manifolding. Unlike other training methods like LST or ScrOG, these training methods are less forgiving and more complex, but they promise tremendous results when executed correctly. These methods are excellent tools to further optimize your plant’s growth, yield, and quality. 

Here are some of the best advanced cannabis training methods.

  • Mainlining and Manifolding

Mainlining or manifolding — no matter what you call them — are essentially the same. In this technique, the cannabis plant is split into two parts evenly when the plant is still very young. People get confused between the two terms as you have to manifold the plant to achieve mainlining. As mentioned already, splitting your plant into two (not ripping it apart) will produce a Y-shaped structure, and you train the plant further to get huge multiple colas. 

In this method, you first create a manifold by splitting the plant into two. Next, you remove all growth, including the leaves and stems, leaving the two main stems intact. Of course, you have to let two big fan leaves remain, too, or the plant won’t have any source of food. 

As you can understand, this can be very stressful for the plant. Once the initial job is done with the plant split into two, you then make more cuts in specific areas as the plant continues to grow. Mainlining is like any other training technique; however, you must know what you’re doing to achieve good results. 

Mainlining is a technique where you break the apical dominance of the plant to force it to grow multiple colas without putting too much effort. This is very similar to topping, where you cut the top during the early vegetative stage to encourage the plant to grow more bud sites. However, topping doesn’t involve removing most of the growth unline mainlining.

Since this goes beyond topping, it requires a meticulous approach and, given its less-forgiving nature, should only be reserved for the most experienced growers. But if you use this method properly, expect a yield like never before, thanks to the highly optimized canopy with numerous bud sites that enjoy maximum light exposure. 

Mainlining is a complex training method for cannabis plants where you create a symmetrical plant structure by strategically pruning and training the plant. The aim of this method is to encourage the growth of several uniform colas, not just one, hence the symmetry. 

In short, mainlining begins during the early vegetative stage of your plant, where you must top and split the main cola, which then grows into two colas. These resulting colas are topped again to create more colas, and this cycle can be continued for as long as you desire. The result is a plant with an even canopy of colas that produce bigger buds, resulting in a much higher yield. 

  • Fluxing 

Fluxing is also known as the professor’s technique, and it focuses on achieving the most yield by manipulating the plant’s natural growth patterns. Think of this method as a combination of LST, ScrOG-ing, topping, and manifolding. This process begins by manifolding the plant and spreading the two main stems apart, creating a flat plant with evenly spaced bud sites. 

The advantage of fluxing your cannabis plant is, when done correctly, it will create a flat plant with a grid-like pattern where the bud sites are equidistant to the light source while improving air circulation within the canopy. Do note that fluxing is one of the most meticulous training methods, and it requires a lot of patience, skill, and effort. This method should not be taken lightly. 

  • Monster Cropping 

Monster cropping is an interesting training method, albeit a little intimidating for beginners, as you need to take clones from a flowering plant and root them. Once the clone cuttings are rooted, they are reverted back to the vegetative stage to benefit from the dense, bushy growth. 

The resulting clones from a flowering mother plant exhibit unique growth patterns and characteristics, including increased branches and vigorous growth. This method offers another benefit over other advanced training methods: you can preserve desirable traits while potentially producing more resilient or productive plants. 

  • Super Cropping

Super cropping is another advanced high-stress training method for cannabis plants, where you intentionally damage the plant’s stems by bending or squeezing them to create kinks or breaks. This stimulates the plant to divert its energy toward healing the damaged area, which results in thicker stems and stronger branches. This helps support heavy bud development while promoting nutrient uptake, which results in a better yield. 

  • Backbuilding

The next training method, backbuilding, focuses on optimizing bud development and density during the late flowering stage. In this training method, you need to strategically remove small and immature buds from the lower branches of the plant, encouraging the plant to redirect its energy toward larger colas on the top. This also improves airflow and light exposure to the remaining bud sites, resulting in a much higher yield. 

These advanced training methods are only suitable for experienced growers as they require careful observation, precise timing, and skilled execution. It’s essential to consider your plant’s growth pattern, flowering time, and health before using any of these methods. 

2. Master Light Optimization

Master Light Optimization

Light is one of the most critical factors for your plant’s growth — cannabis uses light to produce energy that is then used to grow bigger and healthier. So if you are an experienced grower, you can use advanced techniques to optimize light for your plant, resulting in much higher-quality cannabis plants. 

Here are some of the techniques you can use. 

  • Light Spectrum Manipulation

Did you know that different light spectrums can have varying effects on your cannabis plant’s growth and development? Essentially, different light spectrums encourage different processes within the plant. For example, blue dominant light during the vegetative stage promotes compact and bushy growth of the plant, and using red light during the flowering stage stimulates bud development. 

You can use this phenomenon to your advantage by using specific spectrums of light as per your plant’s growth. So, with the help of customizable LED lights, you can set the light spectrum to match your plant’s growth — blue dominant during the vegetative stage and red to far-red during the flowering stage. 

Here, using LED grow lights is the best option since they are easy to customize, versatile, and energy efficient. They even allow you to experiment with different light spectrum outputs to find a spectrum that works best for your plant. 

  • Light Movers

Light movers are automated systems that move grow lights across the plant canopy, simulating the natural movement of the sun. Such systems ensure that each plant in your grow room receives an even distribution of light while minimizing shading and optimizing light penetration to the lower tiers of the plants. This can tremendously improve bud development and yield potential. 

Yes, these systems can be a bit expensive and tricky to set up, but they bring your grow room one step closer to the outdoor environment where light is generally better optimized. You can then benefit from a light that is akin to outdoor light while growing your plants in the comfort and safety of an indoor environment. 

  • Light Intensity Management

You should also monitor and manage light intensity levels throughout your plant’s life cycle. With the help of light meters, you must measure the amount of light reaching your plant’s surface — the best metric for measuring this is PPFD. Fine-tuning light intensity allows precise control over your plant’s growth and can result in a better yield and resin production on the buds.

During the vegetative stage, you must set higher light intensities to promote vigorous growth. Once the plant transitions into the flowering stage, you need to gradually adjust the light intensity to ensure optimal bud development without any risk of light stress. 

  • Light Supplemental Techniques

To further optimize light conditions, you can employ supplemental techniques like light diffusers, light reflectors, or light deflectors. For instance, you can strategically place reflective materials like mylar or aluminum foil to bounce light back onto the plant to reduce light wastage and improve light penetration. You can also use light diffusers to scatter light evenly across the canopy to ensure each leaf receives enough light. 

Optimizing light for better plant growth seems like an endless affair, but these techniques are a good starting point for advanced growers to improve their cannabis yields. These techniques do require a deep understanding of plant physiology, light dynamics, and careful experimentation, but as you explore more of them, you’ll learn what works best for your cannabis operation and what doesn’t.

3. Administer Nutrients Correctly

Administer Nutrients Correctly

Nutrient management is another crucial aspect of growing cannabis, but most growers simply rely on off-the-shelf formulas or grow mediums for plant nutrients. However, as an advanced grower, you can do much more for your plant, significantly benefiting your cannabis plant and its yields. 

Here are some advanced nutrient management strategies for cannabis cultivation.

  • Customize Your Nutrient Formulations

Don’t just rely on the formulations that work for most cannabis strains; your cannabis plant is unique even if you grow the most popular strain. Every cannabis operation has its own climate, risk factors, preferences, and goals; depending on these factors, you must carefully craft your nutrient formulations. 

For example, you can use formulations containing more nitrogen during the vegetative phase and bloom boosters containing more phosphorus and potassium during the flowering phase. Although this isn’t mandatory, and many growers stick to formulations that have worked for them over the years, you can experiment with different ratios to see how your plant reacts. If the results are good, it’s amazing for you; if not, you simply stick to your previous nutrient solution. 

  • Experiment with Nutrient Feeding Techniques

As an advanced grower, you should try various nutrient-feeding techniques to improve your plant’s nutrient uptake while minimizing nutrient waste. There are a few nutrient-feeding techniques that you can try, including split feeding and foliar feeding. 

Split feeding is a popular technique where nutrients are divided into multiple smaller doses throughout the day instead of a single large feeding. This method ensures the nutrients are supplied consistently and in a balanced manner, thereby promoting efficient nutrient uptake by the roots. 

The second technique is foliar feeding, which involves applying nutrient solutions directly to the leaves, allowing for quick nutrient absorption through the plant’s stomata. You can use this technique to feed your plant to also address nutrient deficiencies or to simply supplement nutrients during critical growth stages of your plant. This technique is also quite useful if there are any limitations in nutrient uptake. 

  • Use Living Soil 

If you focus on the organic cultivation of cannabis, you should consider using living soil to establish a healthy and diverse soil ecosystem. With this approach, you get to incorporate organic amendments, compost teas, cover cropping, and beneficial microbial inoculants into the soil, which fosters a balanced soil food web. This web gradually releases nutrients, promoting a symbiotic relationship between plants and soil microorganisms. 

4. Set Up Better Hydroponic Systems

Set Up Better Hydroponic Systems

Hydroponic systems have revolutionized the cannabis cultivation process by providing precise control over nutrient delivery, water management, and environmental conditions. But there are so many hydroponic systems that experienced growers can up their game with better hydroponic systems, such as the following.

  • Deep Water Culture (DWC)

DWC is a popular advanced hydroponic system where your plant’s roots are suspended in nutrient-rich water. Generally, a DWC system is paired with individual plant reservoirs, recirculating systems, or oxygenation systems. These systems work together to ensure consistent nutrient delivery, increased oxygenation of the roots, and better nutrient uptake. The DWC hydroponic system can be a bit tricky to set up, but it promises to boost your plant’s growth rates and even improve its yields. 

It’s pretty easy to set up a DWC system to get great yields. 

First, pick an ideal area for your DWC system. Use exhaust fans to increase air circulation. Remember, ventilation is essential. Next, you need to ensure that the temperature and humidity levels are steady and within the ideal ranges for marijuana growth.

Your next job is to set up the DWC reservoir. Start by extensively cleaning the tank to remove any impurities that could hurt your plants. You can use a detergent to wash it thoroughly. The reservoir should be strong and opaque to prevent light from passing through it, as it can cause algae buildup. 

Next, you must fill your reservoir with clean pH-balanced water in the range of about 5.5 to 6.5, leaving sufficient space to accommodate the plant's root system. Place air stones at the reservoir’s bottom. Now, link the system to an air pump using tubing. This is to ensure that there are a lot of air bubbles oxygenating the nutrient solution for healthy and balanced root growth.

Now, we move on to the net pots. First off, pick pots that are suitable for the plants you’re growing so there’s enough support for the plants while the roots access the nutrient solution below. The pots should be sturdy enough to prevent the plants from toppling. 

Next, set up the lights at an appropriate distance, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure the plants have enough coverage. Position the fans to create a gentle air movement throughout. 

And that’s about it! You’re done. Now, you only need to monitor the pH and nutrient levels so the plants get everything they need. Also, don’t forget to adjust the lights as the plants grow. 

  • Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)

Nutrient film technique, or NFT, is another advanced hydroponic system experienced growers can use. In NFT, the plant’s roots are continuously submerged in a thin film of flowing nutrient solution, which provides them with a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients. Some NFT systems can also incorporate features like automated nutrient dosing, pH adjustment, and sophisticated drainage systems. NFT is preferred for its water efficiency and suitability for high-density cultivation. 

  • Aeroponics

Aeroponics is the system that NASA prefers to grow plants in space — that’s how good it is, but it comes with its own set of difficulties and complexities. Here, the roots are suspended in a chamber and regularly misted with a fine nutrient solution. These systems employ high-pressure misting nozzles, nutrient atomization, sophisticated control systems, and much more. 

Aeroponics isn’t everyone’s cup of tea as it is complicated, requires precise maintenance, and is a significant investment — but if you get it right, you will be surprised by how well your cannabis plants grow due to precise nutrient delivery and optimized oxygenation of the roots. 

  • Ebb and Flow

Ebb and flow is similar to NFT, but it uses a system that periodically floods the roots with nutrient-rich water and then allows the water to drain back into the reservoir. This system relies on a flood table with drainage, automated nutrient dosing, advanced timers, and a reservoir system. With the help of ebb and flow, you can enjoy meticulous control of how the nutrients are delivered to your plant without robbing it of oxygen, which leads to a significant boost in your plant’s yields.

  • Vertical Hydroponics

Sometimes, improving quality isn’t the concern, but increasing the number of buds produced is. In such cases, especially if you are constrained by space, you can choose vertical farming, which works by stacking multiple growing layers. Such a setup uses various levels of plants, maintained with the help of dynamic lighting setup, automatic irrigation, et al., to maximize space utilization. 

  • Aquaponics

Sometimes, you only want to employ a system that is unique or minimizes your operation’s environmental impact. If that’s the case, you should consider using aquaponics, a unique hydroponic setup that uses fish poop to nourish cannabis plants. 

Essentially, the plant’s roots are suspended in a reservoir with fish. The fish poop acts as the primary nutrient source for the roots, and in return, the roots keep the water clean for the fish to survive. You must also add an airstone to the tank to keep the water oxygenated for the roots. 

Aquaponics is an efficient way of growing cannabis since you don’t have to invest in expensive equipment or constantly work on the nutrient solution. You only help create a symbiotic relationship between the plant and the fish under it.

5. Control the Environment

Control the Environment

The next move you can make is to invest in advanced climate control systems and automation that can play a significant role in boosting your plant’s quality and yield. By implementing these technologies and strategies, you can achieve precise control over various environmental factors like temperature, humidity, lighting, airflow, etc., in your grow room. Let’s take a look at some of them below.

  • Automatic Climate Control 

One of the first additions to your grow room should be an automatic advanced climate control that includes things like sensors for temperature, humidity, CO2 levels, and airflow, along with devices that can control them. This integrated system can be a bit expensive, but it takes the load off your back and can help control the environment more sustainably and efficiently. 

Here are a few ways automated climate control systems can help you get better yields:

  • Temperature control: Maintaining a consistent and optimal temperature is crucial for cannabis growth. Automated climate control systems can monitor and adjust temperature levels within the desired range. By preventing temperature fluctuations, these systems create a stable environment that promotes optimal photosynthesis, nutrient uptake, and metabolic processes. This leads to healthier and more productive plants, ultimately resulting in higher yields.
  • Humidity regulation: Cannabis plants have specific humidity requirements at different growth stages. Automated systems can monitor and adjust humidity levels accordingly. During the vegetative stage, maintaining a higher humidity range promotes vigorous growth, while reducing humidity during flowering helps prevent mold and bud rot. By carefully managing humidity, automated systems create an environment that minimizes the risk of disease and maximizes plant health, leading to better yields.
  • Ventilation management: Adequate airflow is vital for preventing heat buildup, removing excess humidity, and replenishing fresh air. Automated systems can regulate fans, exhaust systems, and air circulation to maintain proper ventilation. By ensuring a constant supply of fresh air, removing stale air, and controlling temperature differentials, these systems create an environment that encourages healthy transpiration and efficient nutrient uptake, resulting in better yields.
  • Light cycle automation: In addition to climate control, automated systems can synchronize lighting schedules for different growth stages. Maintaining consistent and appropriate light cycles is critical for cannabis development. By automating the light schedule, including the duration of light and darkness, these systems ensure that plants receive the required amount of light for optimal growth and flowering. This precise control of lighting cycles can significantly improve yield potential.
  • Carbon Dioxide Enrichment

One of the best ways to boost your plant’s yield is by using carbon dioxide as it can help your plant grow a lot bigger and produce more buds. CO2 promotes photosynthesis, which means that your plant uses it to produce energy; so, the more CO2 it receives, the more energy it produces. 

You can add CO2 to your plant in various ways, including using compost, but the best way is to use CO2 canisters with adjustable valves that release the gas gradually into the atmosphere. You can also invest in CO2 generators, but these are expensive and require a lot of maintenance and monitoring. Choose a CO2 enrichment method that works best for your grow room. 

  • Automated Irrigation 

Another addition that’s worth it is an automated irrigation system that ensures your plant gets the right amount of water and nutrients at the right time. Such a system utilizes sensors to monitor the moisture content within the growing medium and automatically administers water whenever required, based on the preset parameters. 

The benefit of automated irrigation is that it optimizes how you feed your plant, but it offers a lot more than that. Such a system also saves time, prevents underwatering and overwatering, and ensures no water is wasted during the entire process. 

  • Environmental Monitoring and Data Analytics 

If you want to truly take your cannabis cultivation to the next level, you should invest in an environmental monitoring and data analytics system. This system collects data on various parameters, including temperature, humidity, light intensity, soil moisture content, CO2 levels, etc., which is then analyzed to identify patterns, optimize strategies, and make data-driven decisions. 

When this system is paired with an integrated automation dashboard, the data helps the software make decisions that are ideal for your plant with minimal input from your end. Thanks to AI and IoT, the system takes care of most of the things on its own. With the help of this system, you can truly push your cannabis cultivation’s boundaries and grow your plants unlike ever before.

Summary: Advanced Cannabis Training And Growing Techniques for Experienced Growers

Advanced cannabis training or growing techniques are an excellent way to boost your plant’s health and yield. But remember, whether you train your plant or add advanced climate control to your grow room, each of the techniques mentioned above is suitable for experienced users. The margin of error is slim, and these techniques are less forgiving, so even minor problems can quickly cascade into major issues for your plant. 

However, as long as you are confident in your skills, do enough research, and use the right steps, you don’t have to worry much. These systems or methods are only a bit difficult to set up, but after that, they more or less handle themselves while only requiring minimal maintenance from your end. 

Also, the tips mentioned in this article only give you a rough idea of what the method is and how it works, but if you want to learn more about it, stay tuned to our blog. We post regular guides that can help you become an advanced cannabis grower. 


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