Low stress training (LST) is a method used by growers to increase their yields and manipulate the plants’ overall size and shape. It derives from the ancient practice of espalier; cultivating or pruning a plant to grow up and across a trellis or other type of flat 2D structure.
- Allow more light to penetrate to the new growing bud sites
- Control the overall level and height of the canopy
- Control the overall size and shape of the plant
- A young cannabis plant seedling (or two, or three!)
- Twisty ties or plastic clips
- Sharp scissors
- Duct tape – this is invaluable in securing ties or canes or repairing accidentally snapped branches
- To provide support for the bend, there is a range of options. You could use bamboo canes or drill small holes near the rim of the pots.
Stems should be pre-bent before tying down to reduce the likelihood of snapping. Once the stem is bent, secure it to the pot using some coiled ties. It is also a good idea to remove some of the larger fan leaves that even after training continue to block the light to the lower branches.
When growers LST their plants, the general idea is to gently pull branches away from the middle of the plant so that the plant looks like a star when viewed from above. This helps expose the lower branches to more light, while also keeping plants short.
As its name suggests, Low-Stress Training is a technique that allows a cannabis plant to grow more productively without experiencing much stress. LST involves bending the top branches of a cannabis plant so you have much more control and uniformity over your entire canopy. Low stress training allows you to easily double your yields as every branch can develop into a fully-fledged thick, heavy top.
The main idea is to keep all the stems about the same distance from the light. So, you want to continually bend the tallest stems down to the same level as the others, and use a twisty tie to secure it gently but firmly in position.
Even if you never top the plant, you can simply bend it in the direction you want it to go.
As cannabis plants get older, their leaves become increasingly thick and bushy and resemble a Christmas tree with a pyramid shape, which is wider at the bottom and narrow at the top. Their inner node stacking may be pleasingly tight, but this also causes much-needed light from reaching the bottom of the canopy. The solution is low stress training and we’ll take you through how to do it in this step by step guide.
Growing a female strain or an autoflower? Increase your yield with Low Stress Training (LST)! Curious how and when to apply LST? Check it out!
A more complicated version topping, FIM involves removing a very specific amount of the top portion of the plant. By scoping out only the topmost region of the new growth, the goal is to produce four off-shooting branches instead of two. Because of the complexity, this method takes significantly more time. It also puts your plant at greater risk of infection because you’re no longer making a clean cut on the stalk of the plant.
What other tips do you have for cannabis growers looking to increase yield and potency? Leave your best advice in the comments section below!
To tie down the plant, you can use green plant tape which can stretch to prevent the plant from being choked off. The end goal is to have the stalks of the plant snake around the pot, exposing a large number of bud sites at a level height. Once the plant enters its flowering stage, the colas will then sprout upwards from the sideways plant and produce an even level of healthy colas.
This process can easily be repeated multiple times as the plant grows in its vegetative state. It will produce a well-rounded, healthy plant with numerous colas.
This method shares its name with the style of training, which can be confusing when first learning training techniques. The LST method involves bending the plant as it grows, tying branches down that are becoming too long. When the top of the plant is pulled downward in a loose ‘L’ shape, auxin is distributed more evenly in the plant. As the plant grows, continue to tie down the top, resulting in more of the hormone auxin being distributed.
Stem mutilation is a more aggressive version of LST. Instead of tying down the top of the plant, you’re bending the branch until the fibers break and it folds over. The goal is to not snap the branch or even tear the skin of the stalk. You simply want it to kink and bend over.
LST generally requires more time and effort, but will significantly improve your cannabis crop. A common training technique for indoor grows, LST can be used on plants in either vegetative or flowering stages. There are two types of low stress training methods to know about, low stress training and screen of green.
These HST methods are much more useful for large outdoor gardens than LST methods, and they generally require less time and materials. Although HST should primarily be done in the vegetative state, “super cropping” can be done early on in flowering, but stressing your plants during flowering is not recommended.
Topping is a simple HST method and requires no tools besides your fingernails. The goal is to remove the top of the plant, which will result in the top buds turning into two new branches. Additionally, it sends a shock to the rest of the plant that promotes growth in the lower branches.
Learn how to high stress train (HST) and lows stress train (LST) your cannabis plants to improve yields and potency of your harvest.