Once your plants start to bloom, they can double in height in a matter of weeks. If you have already implemented LST by that point, you can control the growth and maintain the fantastic canopy. If you have already begun low-stress training by that stage, you can continue implementing it for a couple of weeks. Make sure you avoid touching new buds if you can.
Rather than seeking sophisticated methods of boosting your cannabis garden’s yield, keep things simple with a low-stress training (LST) technique. It is a method of gently altering the shape of your plants to free space for further bud sites to form. When performed correctly, LST can increase the amount of weed you harvest per plant. Best of all, you don’t put your plants at risk as you do with high-stress training (HST).
LST and HST are different methods of helping change the chemical balances in the plants. The primary difference is that low-stress training doesn’t directly damage the plant, whereas high-stress training does. If you leave your marijuana plants to grow freely, they will produce a single main cola. It will grow as tall as possible and looks fantastic but doesn’t help increase your crop’s yield or the quality of the herb.
Before you begin LST, make sure you have the following equipment:
Other Quick LST Tips
Some growers like to ‘top’ their young plants when they have at least four nodes first. The goal is to eliminate the weed plant’s apical dominance. When you cut its main stem, it begins to branch out, and soon enough, you’ll find that it produces several colas. When you ‘top’ the plant, LST becomes easier because you’re no longer working with one stem only. Experienced growers say you should top plants down to the third node. You should end up with two main colas that split in the same area on the stem.
Ultimately, the idea is to keep all stems the same distance from the light. Therefore, you need to bend the tallest stems down continually, so they are at the same level as the others. Make sure you have several soft ties ready. Even if you choose not to top the plant, you can bend it in the direction you want.
Once your plants begin to flower, you will see several towering peaks emerging. At this point, they will grow extremely quickly. When this happens, prune any lower branches that have no shot of getting any light. This process encourages the plant to become even more productive rather than using energy on things that don’t benefit the yield. It also ensures your canopy gets better ventilation.
What Is the Purpose of LST?
You will find that the branches start growing around 24 hours after bending. However, it begins at the same level as the rest. When the secondary branches get more light and begin to grow, you will have to use LST on them as well.
When picking the stem you wish to bend, make sure you analyze it first to ensure it is flexible. If you suspect the stem could break, look for an alternative. Next, consider the type of shape you want your plant to grow in. For beginners, it is best if you stick with a basic ‘bush’ form. If you have pre-drilled holes in your container, you can easily tie the stem inside them.
How Does Low Stress Training Work?
Some growers like to install a tomato ring so there's something to attach the plant to besides the pot itself. These can also offer additional support if the plant gets very large down the road.
How to LST Your Cannabis Plants
Cannabis plants tend to grow into a formation known as apical dominance, where the plant is bushier at the bottom and narrows to a single elongated cola at the apex. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
LST is usually carried out during the vegetative phase while the stem and shoots are still pliable. The cannabis plant begins to grow in a circular pattern rather than straight up. When the plant enters its flowering stage, healthy colas will sprout upwards from the sideways-growing plant.
How is low-stress training performed on cannabis plants?
LST can be used on both indoor and outdoor plants, optimizing space and maximizing bud output. For outdoor cultivators, it can help to keep a crop low profile.