Training medicinal plants enables growers to increase yields, reduce pathogen risk, and improve the vibrancy of their crop. SCROG—or screen of green—is a training technique that forms an even and horizontal canopy. There are myriad benefits to creating this botanical structure.
What is the SCROG Technique?
Left to their own devices, medicinal plants grow taller than they do wide. The ScrOG technique aims to bring the lower branches up and the upper branches down, stretching them across an evenly distributed plane. By placing a screen above the growing medium, cultivators can weave branches through the mesh as plants grow and mature. By redirecting individual branches and running them lengthwise across the screen, growers achieve a flat horizontal canopy.
Advantages of Growing Medicinal Plants In A SCROG
But why ScrOG in the first place? Well, the technique offers plenty of advantages, including:
- Light exposure: A ScrOG canopy receives even light exposure. Untrained medicinal plants feature one main cola that rises above the rest of the plant, meaning the light rig must remain above this point. In contrast, the lighting rig can hang directly above every flower in a ScrOG setup.
- Yield: Because each bud site receives adequate light, they maximise their photosynthetic potential, leading to an increase in size and resin production. This level of training also transforms the main stem and central cola into a multitude of both.
- Aeration: The horizontal screen of green receives adequate airflow above and below the canopy. The addition of a fan will further enhance this benefit, reducing the risk of fungal pathogens.
- Maximise space: Many growers manage to obtain a larger yield from a single scrogged plant in a small space than with numerous smaller, untrained plants. Covert home-growers can maximise their output with this method. Cultivators can even train several plants and merge them into a single ScrOG.
You’ll start to guide your plants through the screen as soon as they start making contact with it. We recommended positioning the screen around 20cm above the base of your plants, so their rate of growth will determine when exactly you start to ScrOG.
Start the “tucking” process as the apex of each plant begins to grow through the screen. Wait for each tip to grow 5cm above the screen. Proceed to tuck each individual shoot under the screen and direct them through the next square away. Tucking will lay the foundation of the ScrOG process, so be mindful of the direction you want each branch to grow towards.
Continue this process throughout the vegetative phase. Switch to a 12/12 light cycle to induce flowering when the screen becomes mostly filled.
Continue to tuck and weave each branch over the next 2–3 weeks as your plants begin to stretch. This increase in growth will allow you to fill out the screen before your plants enter the true flowering stage and slow their growth.
How To SCROG: Major Conciderations
Although ScrOG setups can look complex, the technique requires little work. Even if you have limited experience growing medicinal plants, you can jump right into the technique and produce good results. Just make sure to follow the guidance below, and you’ll be in for a happy harvest.
Select the Right Strains
With or without training, growers should always tailor strains to their preferences, spatial limitations, and climate. Some genetics are far more compatible with the ScrOG technique than others. Check out the best characteristics for the job below.
- Stretchy sativas: Sativa-dominant cultivars are lanky, tall, and stretchy in nature. Growers can easily weave their branches and fill out a ScrOG. Of course, you can select smaller and bushier indicas too—just utilise more plants to maximise the potential of your space.
- Strain matching: Growers can cultivate several different strains in the same ScrOG setup for a nice variety of flowers. Try to choose strains that reach a similar average height to minimise the work you have to do.
Choose the Right Pots
You’ll need to select the correct pot size to optimise your grow. This variable will shift depending on how many plants you want to incorporate into your ScrOG. Consider the following factors:
- Multiple plants: If you want to grow several plants in a smaller space, you need to consider spacing (more on that below). For this reason, each plant will require a smaller pot. An 11l pot will make the most of the space while optimising plant growth.
- Single plants: You can increase the pot size when using a single plant in your ScrOG setup. A 25l pot will give your plant enough room to establish a substantial root system and large canopy.
- Fabric pots: The ScrOG technique greatly improves aeration of the canopy—using a fabric pot greatly increases aeration of the growing medium. The RQS Fabric Pot features a proprietary Aqua Breathe layer, resulting in increased oxygen levels and enhanced moisture retention.
Space Plants Appropriately
Growing multiple plants in a ScrOG means you can harvest several of your favourite strains. You can grow high-THC and high-CBD varieties together, and even match plants based on their terpene profiles.
As one of the most important factors when growing several plants, the correct spacing will help minimise mould formation while encouraging the best yield possible. The goal: Fit in as many plants as possible for best results, while keeping them far enough apart to increase light exposure and aeration.
You’ll get away with squeezing four small/medium-sized plants per m² in a maximum pot size of 11L.
Screen: Height, Size, And Materials
- Size: This depends on how many plants you want to grow, and their size. Your canopy needs to be completely even, so an oversized screen will cause fewer problems than an undersized one. If you're not sure of the dimensions, overshoot a little. If you’re really limited in space, build a screen as big as your area can handle.
- Screen: String or hemp cord does the job perfectly. Medicinal plants branches almost stick to the coarse texture of string, and you can easily dispose of the material afterwards.
- Frame: Make a square (or rectangular) frame using four pieces of timber which are slightly smaller than your growing space. Cut four evenly sized legs and attach them with screws from the top of the frame. You can also create the same design using PVC piping. Screw eye hooks into the top of the frame with 6cm in between. Attach the string.
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