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Cannabis Plant Training: LST, HST, Mainlining, and Kyle Kushman’s Super Cropping Techniques

Cannabis Plant Training: LST, HST, Mainlining, and Kyle Kushman's Super Cropping Techniques

The 420 Gardener

Cannabis cultivation is an intricate art and science, and plant training techniques play a crucial role in maximizing yields, improving plant health, and optimizing space. This comprehensive guide explores four popular training methods: Low-Stress Training (LST), High-Stress Training (HST), Mainlining, and Kyle Kushman’s Super Cropping technique. Each method has unique benefits and applications, allowing growers to tailor their approach to their specific needs and goals.

Low-Stress Training (LST)

Overview:
Low-Stress Training (LST) involves gently bending and tying down the branches of a cannabis plant to create a more even canopy. This technique improves light penetration and air circulation, leading to healthier plants and higher yields.

Steps for LST:

  1. Preparation:
    • Start LST during the vegetative stage when plants are young and flexible.
    • Gather tools: soft plant ties, garden wire, or pipe cleaners.
  2. Technique:
    • Begin by bending the main stem gently and securing it in place with a tie.
    • Gradually train side branches by bending them outward and securing them.
    • Continue adjusting ties as the plant grows, aiming to create a horizontal canopy.
  3. Maintenance:
    • Regularly check and adjust ties to avoid cutting into the plant.
    • Monitor for any signs of stress, such as drooping or discoloration.

Benefits:

  • Enhanced light exposure and air flow.
  • Improved yields and plant health.
  • Greater control over plant shape and size.

High-Stress Training (HST)

Overview:
High-Stress Training (HST) involves more aggressive techniques that physically alter the plant structure. These methods, including topping, fimming, and super cropping, can significantly increase yields but require careful management to avoid plant stress.

Topping:

  • Process: Cut off the main stem’s top growth tip to encourage two new main colas.
  • Timing: Perform topping during the vegetative stage, ideally when the plant has at least four to six nodes.
  • Benefits: Promotes bushier growth and multiple colas, leading to higher yields.

Fimming:

  • Process: Similar to topping, but instead of cutting the entire growth tip, only about 75% is removed.
  • Timing: Like topping, it should be done during the vegetative stage.
  • Benefits: Can result in four new colas instead of two, increasing potential yields.

Super Cropping:

  • Process: Gently squeeze and bend branches until the inner tissue softens, then bend the branch at a 90-degree angle.
  • Timing: Perform during the vegetative stage, but it can also be done early in the flowering stage.
  • Benefits: Increases light penetration to lower buds and strengthens the plant’s overall structure.

Mainlining (Manifolding)

Overview:
Mainlining, also known as manifolding, is a training technique that involves creating a symmetrical plant structure by topping and training the plant from a young age. This method produces a uniform canopy with multiple colas, optimizing light distribution and yield.

Steps for Mainlining:

  1. Initial Topping:
    • Top the plant above the third node during the early vegetative stage.
    • Remove all growth below this node to focus energy on the main branches.
  2. Creating the Manifold:
    • Once the two new main branches grow out, top them again above the third node.
    • Continue removing lower growth to maintain focus on the main branches.
  3. Training:
    • Train the new branches horizontally, tying them down to create a flat, even canopy.
    • Continue topping and training as needed to develop a balanced structure.

Benefits:

  • Uniform canopy with optimal light penetration.
  • Improved airflow and reduced risk of mold.
  • Maximized yields with a more organized plant structure.

Kyle Kushman’s Super Cropping Technique

Overview:
Kyle Kushman’s Super Cropping technique involves intentionally stressing plants to enhance growth and potency. This method combines aspects of both LST and HST, aiming to increase yields and improve plant resilience.

Steps for Super Cropping:

  1. Identifying Branches:
    • Select healthy, flexible branches for super cropping.
    • Target branches that can be bent without breaking.
  2. Pinching and Bending:
    • Gently pinch the branch between your thumb and forefinger until the inner tissues soften.
    • Carefully bend the branch at a 90-degree angle, supporting it if necessary to prevent snapping.
  3. Securing the Bend:
    • Use soft ties or garden wire to hold the branch in its new position.
    • Ensure the bend is secure but not too tight to allow for natural growth.
  4. Monitoring Recovery:
    • Observe the plant for signs of stress, such as drooping or discoloration.
    • Super Cropped branches will typically recover within a few days, growing back stronger and more robust.

Benefits:

  • Enhanced light penetration to lower buds.
  • Increased production of beneficial compounds, such as cannabinoids and terpenes.
  • Improved overall plant resilience and structure.

Conclusion

Training techniques like LST, HST, mainlining, and Kyle Kushman’s Super Cropping offer cannabis growers powerful tools to maximize yields, improve plant health, and optimize growing spaces. Each method has its unique advantages and can be tailored to suit individual growing styles and goals. By understanding and implementing these techniques, growers can achieve impressive results and cultivate robust, high-yielding cannabis plants. Whether you’re a novice grower or an experienced cultivator, experimenting with these training methods can lead to a more productive and rewarding growing experience.

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