How It Works Start My Diary Login Sign Up

How to Repair Broken Cannabis Stems?

Added 27 July 2022

Did you just break one of your plant’s branches? No need to panic! 

It's daunting, of course, especially when you've taken care of your plant for a long time.

But, it's all too common. 

The good news is that you can fix a broken branch or stem easily. 

All it needs is some care, attention, and duct tape to be fixed. 

And some TLC.

Learn all about fixing broken cannabis stems in this article.

Why is a Broken Cannabis Stem Bad for Your Plant’s Health?

broken cannabis stem

Image Credit - Gnugs87

Whenever you notice a broken stem on your cannabis plant, you must treat it as soon as possible for a few reasons.

The first reason is that a broken arm is often accompanied by open wounds, which can lead to infections. And infections can deteriorate your plant’s health, lower its yield, and can even kill it.

Another reason is that the stems consist of the vascular system, responsible for transporting nutrients and water around the plant. The system is made up of phloem and xylem tissues, which use the transpiration pull and root pressure to transport nutrients. 

So, if a stem is broken, it can significantly hamper the vascular system’s function and halt the stem’s growth and even kill it. The broken stem must be fixed so that the nutrients can continue flowing. 

Stems break due to several reasons, such as the following:

  • Moving the plant carelessly, especially if your plant is rigid or tall
  • Excess wind or airflow in the garden
  • Incorrect LST or HST techniques that put excess stress on the stems

But they aren’t the only reasons for a stem breaking. Stems are delicate and can break due to several other reasons ranging from human error or equipment failure.

What are the Types of Broken Cannabis Stems?

How to fix a broken stem

Image Credit - JamesA

Just like the variety of bone fractures in humans, plants also experience a few types of broken stems, such as the following:

  • Broken stems

Broken stems are slightly snapped branches with a distinct break, but not detached or completely hanging from the branch. These are the most common types of breaks, but if left untreated, the stem may experience stunted growth. 

  • Folded Stems

Here, the stems are snapped but not detached, and this type of snap is more severe than the previous category, so you will notice the broken stem hanging down from the base. 

This usually occurs due to incorrect training techniques, where the branch fails to support itself. And they are worse for your plant’s health because they may affect the stem’s ability to transport nutrients. 

  • Detached Stems

The worst type of a broken stem is the one that’s detached — completely snapped off. This is a serious problem, but it can still be fixed with some attention and care. However, if a small stem has detached or is on the lower tiers of the plant, it’s best to just toss the stem instead of trying to fix it. Fixing a small or low-hanging branch is not worth it.

How to Fix a Broken Cannabis Stem?

fixing a broken cannabis stem

Image Credit - Timbarin

While a broken stem can be scary to deal with, it is fairly easy to mend. For a broken or detached stem, all you need is some duct tape, and for a bent stem, a regular bamboo stake.

Fixing a Broken or Detached Stem

detached cannabis stem

Image Credit - Jobbie

The most common method to fix a broken or detached stem — which works surprisingly well — is the duct tape method. If you don’t have duct tape handy, you can even use scotch tape or gardening tape. And you may also need a pencil. 

Follow these steps to fix your broken or detached stem:

  1. Cut small pieces of duct tape — about 10-12 cms. You may need a longer piece of tape for larger stems.
  2. Next, hold a pencil parallel to the broken stem, lining the center of the pencil to the break. The pencil will act as a brace.
  3. Then, wrap the tape around the stem and pencil. Ensure the tape is right enough so the branch does not sag but don’t make it too tight as that may damage the stem’s delicate tissues.
  4. Leave the tape on for 2 to 4 weeks and keep checking the stem daily.
  5. Once the plant has healed completely, gently take off the tape without damaging the stem. 

Fixing a Bent Stem

fixing a bent cannabis stem

Image Credit - Gnugs87

If your stem is broken, you need some duct tape, a pencil, gardening ties, and a bamboo stake. Even a trellis would work instead of the bamboo stake.

Follow these steps to fix the bent stem:

  1. Follow the steps mentioned in the above section to tape the bent branch using a pencil as a brace.
  2. Next, anchor the stem to the bamboo stake or trellis.
  3. Tie the stem and stake using soft gardening ties — apply one tie before the bend and one after it — and do not over-tighten the ties.
  4. Let the branch heal for a couple of weeks and remove the ties to allow the stem to adapt to some stress (read: gravity).
  5. And a week later, gently remove the tape and pencil.

Do I Need to Change the Nutrient Administration Routine?

Yes, you may have to administer slightly more nutrients for the healing plant. Your plant needs nutrients now more than ever so that it can heal the broken stem properly. 

But you only need to administer more nutrients if you notice the plant healing too slowly or notice any signs of nutrient deficiencies.

Otherwise, stay consistent with your regular nutrient schedule and treat your plant with some fertilizers. The fertilizers contain crucial minerals that aid in the photosynthesis, protein-building process, and enzymatic reactions, which will help the plant heal faster.

You should also administer some natural fertilizers like worm casting, microbe-rich compost tea, or bat guano. These fertilizers will leach the nutrients slowly over time during the healing period.

How To Prevent Breaking Cannabis Stems?

Fixing your plant’s first broken branch is alright — happens to the best of us — but you must avoid a broken branch in the future at all costs. One broken stem may not affect your plant’s health as much, but if the branches keep breaking, your plant will be busy healing the break and not growing bushy buds. 

Follow these tips to avoid broken stems in the future:

  1. Be cautious when moving or handling your plant; avoid sudden movements.
  2. When training your plant, be gentle even if you are using high-stress training. And take extra care if the stems are rigid. Rather than doing it all at once, treat it like phases where you bend the branch a little at a time. Train your plant progressively. 
  3. Protect your plant from excess airflow and wind since they can snap the branches or even topple the plant over. For this, you can use a windbreaker to prevent the harsh force of the wind; you can use things like a row of hedges, a tree, or a fence. You can even use shade cloth, plastic film, or bamboo mats.
  4. Another way to protect your plant from strong winds is to use trellising — just tie the protruding branches to the trellis, which will prevent them from snapping. You can use a cylindrical trellis (like a tomato cage) or the ScrOG training method for horizontal trellising.

ScrOG is a terrific way to protect your plant from strong winds because it also helps you shape the canopy of your plant. With ScrOG, you can bring the canopy to an even height, which will optimize light exposure and aeration, leading to better yields. 

Summary: How to Repair Broken Cannabis Stems?

When we see a stem broken on our beloved plant, our first reaction is panic. However, knowing how to fix it can help you avoid panic and start the task immediately. Remember, as soon as you see a broken stem, gather the supplies as required and work on fixing the fracture. 

If your stem is broken or snapped, a pencil and some duct tape are all you need. Use the pencil as a brace and wrap the stem and pencil in duct tape. And if the stem is bent, wrap the bend in tape and use a bamboo stake to hold it in place until it heals.

One of the most important things you should keep in mind is that when applying tape to your broken stem, you need to keep it snug so that the break does not worsen, but not too tight that it damages the stem tissues.

And once you're done fixing the broken stem, you need to take some measures to prevent it from happening again. For this, remember to be gentle with your plant when moving or training it, and progressively train your plant.

If the break has happened due to strong winds, use a windbreaker to protect your plant from strong winds and stakes or trellis frames to tie the stems in place. Trellis frames will not only let you protect your plant but also shape them for optimal light and air exposure, which will result in bigger yields.