Supercropping, also known as high-stress training (HST), is a method used by cannabis cultivators to optimize plant health and increase yields. It involves intentionally inflicting non-lethal damage on plants to stimulate a growth response that improves their overall health and productivity. The technique requires precise control and understanding of plant biology to ensure its successful implementation. This article will delve into the principles of supercropping, its benefits, and step-by-step guidelines for its application.
Supercropping is a plant training technique that involves gently bending and manipulating the branches of a cannabis plant to promote a more uniform and healthy canopy. This technique is applied to control the vertical growth of plants, which is particularly useful in indoor growing operations where space can be a limiting factor. In addition to controlling plant height, supercropping can also increase the plant’s yield and potency by encouraging the growth of more flowering sites and improving light penetration to lower branches.
At the heart of supercropping is the principle of hormesis – the process by which organisms respond positively to low-level stress. When a cannabis plant is supercropped, it undergoes a stress response that leads to a surge in protective secondary metabolites, including cannabinoids and terpenes. This response, when carefully managed, can result in a plant that is more resilient and productive.
Benefits of Supercropping
There are several notable benefits to supercropping in a cannabis cultivation operation:
- Increased Yield: By creating a uniform canopy, supercropping ensures that all buds receive an equal amount of light, leading to an overall increase in yield.
- Improved Light Penetration: By breaking up the apical dominance, or vertical growth, supercropping allows light to reach the lower branches and leaves, resulting in healthier and more productive plants.
- Greater Potency: The stress induced by supercropping can stimulate the production of cannabinoids and terpenes, potentially enhancing the plant’s medicinal value and potency.
- Space Management: Supercropping can be a useful tool in indoor and space-constrained cultivation scenarios where maintaining plant height and maximizing the use of space are critical.
The Supercropping Process
Supercropping can be a delicate process, but when done correctly, it can greatly benefit the growth and development of cannabis plants. Here is a step-by-step guide to supercropping:
- Choosing the Right Time: The ideal time to begin supercropping is during the vegetative stage, when the plant is sturdy enough to handle the stress but still flexible enough to be manipulated without breaking.
- Identifying the Branches: Choose the branches that are reaching higher than the rest of the canopy. These are your targets for supercropping.
- Manipulating the Branches: Gently squeeze the chosen branch between your thumb and forefinger, bending it carefully until it forms a 90-degree angle. The goal is to damage the inner tissue without breaking the skin of the branch.
- Securing the Branch: Once you have successfully bent the branch, secure it in place using gardening tape or soft ties. This will ensure that the branch grows in the desired direction.
- Monitoring the Plant: After supercropping, monitor the plant closely to ensure it recovers properly. Healthy plants should start showing signs of recovery within a few days to a week.
Aftercare and Recovery
Post-supercropping care is crucial in ensuring the success of the technique. Maintaining a steady environment with appropriate light, temperature, and humidity levels can support the plant’s recovery. It’s also critical to monitor the plant for any signs of infection or pest infestation.
Additionally, proper hydration and nutrients can help accelerate the healing process. Supercropped plants may require a slightly higher nutrient uptake due to the increased metabolic activity associated with healing and growth.
Supercropping is a high-stress training technique that, when done correctly, can result in a healthier cannabis canopy and increased yield. It leverages the plant’s natural response to stress to enhance growth, cannabinoid production, and overall plant health. While supercropping requires a bit of skill and understanding of plant biology, the results can be incredibly rewarding. It is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the cannabis plant and a powerful tool in the cultivator’s arsenal.