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Benefits of Super Cropping Cannabis

Created by
JoshuaHolt JoshuaHolt
Added 12 November 2020

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.

Super Cropped Cannabis Plant

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).

Knuckle Formation From Super Cropping

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.

Super Cropping Can Improve Yields

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

Extreme Super Cropping Of Cannabis

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 Steps

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:

  1. Disinfect/wash your hands
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. Provide support to the branches if necessary, i.e. The branch breaks or can't hold itself up at a minimum 90° angle.
  6. Tie the branch down (LST) between the bend point and branch tip using soft ties to prevent it from completely returning to vertical position.
  7. 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. 

LST (High Stress Training)
  • Tying/Bending
  • SOG (Sea of Green)
  • ScrOG (Screen Of Green)
HST (Low Stress Training)
  • Defoliation/Pruning
  • Topping
  • FIMing
  • Main-lining
  • Super Cropping

Heavy Super Cropping + Training

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).

Conclusion

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.

External References

Auxin, cytokinin and the control of shoot branching, Annals of Botany, Volume 107, Issue 7 - Dörte Müller, Ottoline Leyser (2011)

Shaping Plant Architechture, Front. Plant Sci. - Thomas, Teichmaan and Merlin Muhr (2015)

Early topping: an alternative to standard topping increases yield in cannabis production. Plant Science Today. - Gaudreau, Sylvain & Missihoun, Tagnon & Germain, Hugo. (2020).

This article was updated October 2020.






Comments

420_TRON
420_TRON

Hi great article, there's a typo in the table at the end..

HST ( high...)
LST ( low...)

kudos