Quite simply super cropping involves snapping the bud bearing branches just below the flower cluster. When done well the bud will lie to one side and expose one side of the flower cluster to the light. The bud may seem disturbingly unsupported, but the plant will rally overnight. The idea is to expose the complete length of the bud to light. In this way the whole of each florette of calyxes gets more light during the flower cycle, rather than being shaded by its neighbours. More light means more growth which means more flowers and resin.
Cannabis responds well to being stressed. One tried and true technique for vigorous growth and extra flowering is super cropping. Royal Queen Seeds explains the simple steps to heavier buds with super cropping.
Softening the internal hurd and exterior fibres first makes the branch more pliable and easily bent. Apply a slight pressure while pinching the branch between thumb and forefinger. Not enough to crush it, but enough to show it who’s boss. Roll gently between your finger and thumb. You will instinctively feel the structure succumb. Young green material softens and bends easily. Older woody or scarred branches need a bit more coaxing. Don’t overdo it and turn it to mush, just noticeably weaken the spot.
Fortunately for marijuana fans the cannabis plant responds with vigorous growth to a number of types of trauma. Super cropping is probably the oldest and most commonly used positive plant trauma, yield boosting stress technique. When done properly super cropping promotes bigger cola sizes. When done improperly it is simply called “Whoops! I broke it off!”
Super cropping should be performed the moment the plants differentiate. This gives the new flower structures on the underside of the branch the opportunity to bend up to the light right from the start. It is done a number of times in the same spot to the same flower cluster, ensuring the bud is trained horizontally. Cannabis heals surprisingly quickly. The buds will try and return to their original position the moment they have been treated. Being overly gentle or not brutal enough, if you like, means the buds will certainly return to their original upright aspect.
Tying the super cropped buds into the new position with generic garden ties guarantees they stay where they are told. Tie the branch on the trunk side of the scar, not the bud side. Over time, when you develop a feel for the technique, there will be less need for tying down as every bend is perfect.
It isn’t really understood why super cropping works, only that it does. The proof is in the smiles on growers’ faces. Most first timers usually experiment on one plant and can’t wait for the next grow to super crop all their plants. Results are noticeable, with a capital noticeable.
Super cropping is a yield boosting technique, that you will quite literally need to develop a feel for. Different species have different tolerances and structural strength. Some are very woody and brittle and can break easily. Others can be very forgiving and bend willingly into place with minimal damage. Breaking the structural crispness of a branch so that it sags is something you need to experience to understand.
A little too much pressure can easily cleanly break a branch or snap it off completely. In case of emergency, don’t panic! Cannabis is a virulent plant and will recover 95% of the time, if an accidentally amputated branch is taped back together before the leaves droop. There is a good chance of success. Similarly, if a branch is broken and the bud is hanging upside down. Take a splint or use wide tape to fix it back into position.
Super cropping cannabis can substantially increase cannabis yields at harvest. Learn more here.