If you are familiar with any growing methods for maximizing the growing season of marijuana plants, then you may have already heard about scrogging. The term comes from “ScrOG,” which technically stands for “screen of green.”
Scrogging is intended to get the most (and highest quality) growth and yield from within one growing season. The lighting your plants use is optimized with scrogging, making the flowering phase of your marijuana plants particularly effective.
Scrogging is an especially good idea for people who don’t have much height available in their indoor grow setup. It encourages horizontal growth rather than only vertical growth. It is also useful for individuals who don’t have much in terms of light power. Let’s look at some ways for beginners to effectively use scrogging on their marijuana plants.
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The basics of scrogging
There are a few basic steps that any grower can follow to get started with scrogging. First of all, start by buying a screen, wire, or tight rope. The most ideal type of screen has squares that are 2 by 2 inches. They should be sturdy and strong so that the growing marijuana plants don’t overpower them. Don’t skimp on the screen, as this is the most foundational and important piece of equipment when it comes to scrogging.
The theory behind effective scrogging is to “train” your marijuana plants. That means that you are getting them to grow in a specific way – the way that you want. Sometimes there is a fine line between training and damaging your plants, so new growers should be especially careful. That said, scrogging is a relatively safe type of training.
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Placing a screen over the tops of your plants allows them to remain shorter without limiting their growth. Instead of only growing tall, your plants are going to grow wide, allowing for the light you do have to distribute evenly among the branches and leaves. Bushy plants tend to have greater yields.
Scrogging at its most basic is as follows: Place the screen between 20 and 25 inches away from the pots your plants are growing in. Next, chop off the topmost cola of each of your marijuana plants. Once your plants have grown tall enough to touch the screen, start pruning the branches at the bottom of the plants.
Once you have pruned the bottom, wait for two days and then force your plants into their flowering phase. Keep all the branches of your marijuana plants attached to the screen, allowing for more light exposure and horizontal growth.
Cutting off the colas
Unfortunately, this step in the scrogging process is not quite as easy as simply chopping off the top colas of your plants and calling it a day. You should first make sure that your plants are around 10 inches tall before cutting off their colas. Ideally, you will wait until they are already touching the screen, which is about 20 or more inches high.
Before cutting off the top cola, there is another step you can take. Cut off the smaller branches and side shoots at the base of each of your plants. This will boost your plant’s growth temporarily until the time has come to cut off the cola.
Encouraging horizontal growth
After that, you should physically move every branch of your plant to put it through holes in the screen. Make sure they are arranged in a way that allows horizontal growth without issues or obstacles. You can use the “tucking” technique to help do this effectively.
Tucking involves gently moving the branches of your plants from one hole in the screen and into a hole that is further from your plant’s stem. It is key to make sure that you don’t break the branches at all, as that can stress the plant or at least slow down growth. Generally, the more tucking you do, the higher the yield of your marijuana plants.
Some people prefer to have a screen that is adjustable, letting them raise the “roof” if the growth beneath the screen gets to be too bushy and wild. If you have the extra space and plan on keeping your plants in the vegetative state for as long as possible, that could be a worthy investment.
The flowering phase
Since scrogging is for indoor growers only, timing the flowering phase correctly and strategically is just as important as the scrogging technique itself. Depending on the grow setup, the differences in preferences and methods can vary greatly. For example, people who are growing their marijuana plants in a hydroponics system might choose to keep their plants in a vegetative phase for about half the time that a person growing in soil would want to do.
The key to forcing the flowering phase is to pay attention to your plants’ growth, and when they have (more or less) reached their maximum. You will need to think about how much extra growth will come with the flowering phase, which requires leaving enough space in your grow space for it.
Change your lighting schedule to 12 hours on and 12 hours off, and you will start to see your marijuana plants enter their flowering phase. Keep training your plants throughout this phase, as it will enable the buds to get as much light (and therefore energy) as possible.
When you get the yield at the end, you will be happy with the result. Generally speaking, marijuana plants that have been effectively “scrogged” will achieve nearly double a regular yield from the same plants.