Tom’s facts on Low Stress Training !
- Introduction – What Is LST ?
- Why Practice LST ?
- How to LST By Confinement !
- LST By Manipulation !
- Incorporate Fimming or Super Cropping with LST
- Typical Results !
- Conclusion !
LST is Low Stress Training. Low Stress Training is a training method or methods, that incorporate manipulating the growing organic marijuana‘s stem and branches without causing any cellular damage.
The reason to use LST techniques is to grow a very short bushy plant. If you have a very small grow space or you are just growing a couple of plants It may be well worth your time to Low Stress Train your organic medical marijuana. LST training is used to shape your plant the exact way you want it to grow instead of its natural Christmas tree shape. The idea with LST is to force your plant into a specific shape, usually a star shape, or like a wheel with spokes coming from the center, making the plant flat and wide. Plants are trained forcing the main stem and branches to grow horizontally. This in turn forces the sub-branches (branches off of the main branches) to turn up wards toward the light making many new tops that will turn into many new colas. This LST training will maximize the yield on very small plants. The folks that practice this method of training are actually turning their plant into a bonsai, although I don’t think most of them realize it. LST training can be rather labor intensive and take an extra amount of time in the vegetative stage. It is for that reason large grows do not usually practice LST training, while those with very small grows do. Most growers that use LST techniques also incorporate some HST techniques to obtain the shape and bushiness they desire. Cutting back, Fimming and Super Cropping may be used along with LST to obtain those results.
The most overlooked form of LST is to keep your plants in
a small pot and let it get root bound. This is the first step in keeping your plant small and miniaturized. This method of miniaturizing is best done with plants from clones and not seed plants. Putting your rooted marijuana clone in a 4” pot or at the largest a 6″ pot and leave it in that pot for two months or longer. Marijuana plants like to spread their roots out fast and when you restrict the marijuana’s roots by keeping it in a small pot, the top growth of the plant slows down while the inner most branches continue to grow and fill out the plant. This miniaturizing can then be followed up with another LST method or by Fimming or Pinching Back, maybe even by Super Cropping. How the plant is trained depends on the varieties grown and how it develops as all plants develop differently even with the same genetics.
The most common practice using “low stress training” is manipulation of the plants branches while the plant is still very small. This method incorporates tying or weighting the main stem and branches down making the plant fairly flat across the pot. This method is best practiced on marijuana plants from a clone. If you have started your plants from feminized seeds you may also use this method. If you don’t know your plants sex this method is probably not a wise choice for training. By the time you are able to sex your plants they may have already grown to large to incorporate this method.
The manipulation ! The training starts first, by forcing the main stem to grow horizontal. This must be started while the plant is very young and while the main stem is still very pliable. There are different ways to accomplish this. The plant may be tied down, weighed down, or wired down. Tying to the plant without breaking branches can be a challenge so a fairly stiff wire may be the easiest way to accomplish this. The wire can be bent in to a Shepherd’s crook which can be easily hooked over the stem and pulled down across the pot and hooked to the rim of the pot. You may also tie some string, twist ties or something similar to the stem and pull it down by tying to the pots rim or by tying a weight ( like a lead fishing weight) to the other end pulling it down. Take great care not to snap the stem. Bonsai training wire is an excellent choice for this method and may be purchased in different diameters (thicknesses). Bonsai wire may be wrapped around the stem that is stiff enough to bend the plants stem or branches to the desired place and shape without weights or tying down. Bonsai training wire is made of aluminum which is stiff but easily pliable.
The next step after the initial tie down, is waiting for the plant to adjust to its new position. This is also a good time to incorporate a little HST such as Fimming or Super Cropping. The HST at this point will stimulate the branches to grow faster catching up with the top making it easier to incorporate the next step sooner. With the main stem bent over the branches will turn up toward the light. Fimming or Super Cropping the very top directs the plants energy to grow those branches faster allowing you to train those branches sooner. Once those branches have grown out enough you will be able to tie, or wire those branches down in a circular manner forming a star shape or forming spokes from the center stem like those of a wheel. As those branches that form the spokes grow out and turn back up towards the light you may want to pinch the tops of each branch or fim each branch. This will again will force more branching from the branches giving your plant many more tops or colas. After each step the plant will need time to adjust to the new position. How much time it takes to recover will depend on many factors such as genetics, strength of the light, and nutrient uptake.
The picture below shows a marijuana plant grown using the tie down method along with fimming the top of the plant. This plant is now ready to flower.
This picture below shows the LST tie method In use. The plant is in full flower with very heavy buds, but the branches are strong. This plant is very close to being harvested.
The young plant below is being trained with looped yarn taped to pot !
The next drawing is by Dier Wolf, I believe, but I’m not sure. This shows different ways to train your growing organic marijuana around the pot the most efficient ways.
The set of drawings below show a progression of growing with Low Stress Training except for the first drawing which is the topping of the plant.(HST) I have no idea who made these drawings, but I am thankful they did.
The plants below are good candidates for becoming bonsai marijuana !
Miniaturized sativas caused by keeping the plants root bound. Even though these plants are older, they are good candidates for some Low Stress Training ! The one on the left is in a 4″ pot and the other is in a 6 ” pot. They have grown in these pots for three months now without any training or cutting. They started as clones four months ago.
Typical Christmas tree shaped but miniaturized compact sativa. This plant is a good candidate for some HST, such as topping, and then begin the Low Stress Training !
What is LST ? Low Stress Training! Training your medical marijuana without doing damage to any plant cells. Growing organic marijuana using Low Stress Training methods is a labor intensive method of growing that is best for small grows. It is a rewarding and educational experience that can bring out the best in a small plant for a small growing space. Many growers incorporate some HST(high stress training) such as topping, Fimming and Super- Cropping along with LST. If you follow the advice above and with a little practice you will learn how to LST.
Author, Tom D.