Here’s how to control cannabis stretching in flower. If your plants are too tall and you dont want to top them you will need a way to stop stretch or at least manage it.
I will share a couple of more traditional techniques to manage the stretch and also some much more radical approaches that can actually stop stretching and may surprise you.
So here is my situation with plants that are too big to flower under an eight foot ceiling. Also my solution. Please dont waste your time giving me your negative comments about leaf stripping until you watch my second video. If this is too extreme for you dont do it but dont knock it unless or until you try it.
If you want to follow the full Death Bubba grow journal you can see it here: http://420grower.org/death-bubba-grow-journal/
How To Prevent Stretching
Plants can get tall for several reasons. Genetics play a huge part in how tall a cannabis plant will get. Sativa strains usually stretch the most but now many strains are hybrids so even mostly indica strains can get tall.
When you veg your plants crowding will result in taller plants. Give them room! When plants start touching each other in your veg room they will start to grow up instead of out.
Plants follow the light. When one plants branches touch another the plants sense shading and a lack of grow space so they react by growing up instead of out.
Sometimes we cant flower when we plan to because the crop in the flower room is taking longer to finish than expected. Sometimes we start our veg too early. I am definitely guilty of doing this!
The best way to prevent stretch starts out in veg. But what do you do when your plants are already too tall? That depends on timing and your comfort level.
How Much And How Long Do Plants Stretch?
Most indica varieties will double in size during the stretch. Sativa stretch can be 300%. Many strains are hybrids and some will get tall like a sativa, others will stay short and still others will be in the middle. It pays to know your strain but this is not always possible.
I would plan on a plant doubling in size. Look at the node spacing. If it is fairly long in veg you will most likely have a very tall plant but even tight node spacing does not guarantee plants will stay short.
How long a plant will stretch is also very strain dependent. Most plants will stretch for 2 weeks but some will stretch for three weeks. Some hazes can stretch even longer than that.
How To Stop Stretch In Flowering
There are 2 common ways to deal with cannabis stretching during flower. They dont stop stretch but they do help control it. The first way is to use a scrog. You spread your branches under a net or screen as they stretch. This can work really well and give excellent yields too.
The second way is similar and commonly called LST or low stress training and involves tying individual branches down. It may be used with a screen but many growers bend and tie branches down to the side of their pot.
This is really more training than stopping stretch but it can help give big lanky plants a lower profile. It really works best when plants are young. Once your plants are big and tall already you are better off using a scrog net IMO.
Now lets talk about ways to stop stretch or actually shut it down.
Leaf Stripping To Control Cannabis Stretching
What I am going to share is a more radical approach to prevent stretch and bring it under control. This is not for everybody or the faint of heart.
I understand some people are adamantly opposed to leaf stripping. That’s fine. Your plants, your choice. But I happen to believe in it. So with that said the normal time for leaf stripping is usually by day 21 which in most cases will be after stretch is done.
However I was faced with the prospect of removing a foot of growth from my plants or looking at other options. I chose leaf stripping over chopping my plants up.
Yes, many growers successfully top in early flower and it definitely will slow down and help control stretch. But I did not spend all this time growing a canopy just to whack it off just before flowering.
Doing a heavy leaf strip on day 1 of flower will stop plants from growing taller. They will spend the first week growing back their leaves instead of stretching. Yes it will slow growth down and also add time to your grow and it should only be done to healthy vigorous plants.
After one week I am seeing significant regrowth and equally as important almost zero stretch! The plants only had 2-3 inches of stretch the first week. Regrowth has been excellent and you cant really tell the plants were leaf stripped.
This worked so well that I am considering using it as a standard practice now. Even though there are 3 different strains it has helped keep the canopy fairly even. The short video below was actually shot at lights on on day 8 but you can see this technique definitely worked to control cannabis stretching.
View this post on Instagram
Death Bubba, GG4 and SFV OG Day 7. Leaf stripped day 1. Worked great to control stretch and ladies are looking great! Grown with Green Planet nutrients under a HLG 550. • @grandmasterlevel @horticulturelightinggroup @nlggrow @greenplanetnutrients @chycannallcgp @growingexpsd @tastiterps @solfiregardens2019 • http://420grower.org/death-bubba-grow-journal/ • #gpgrown #greenplanetnutrients #deathbubba #420grower #420growers #420instagram #420everyday #420nation #mmjlife #weedlove #weedlover #weedofinstagram #mmjgrower #mmjlife #budporn #howtogrowweed #growingweed #420dotcom #closetgrow #howtogrowweedindoors #growyourownmedicine #cobled #growyourownmeds #playingwithfire #greengenesgarden #closetgrower #closetgrown #quantumboards #hlg
I expect another week of slightly more aggressive stretching but it should slow down because I am already seeing white hairs which means flowering is close. It looks like any problems with plants getting too tall have been solved and I will continue to update their progress.