Having a true understanding of how a specific cannabis strain grows can give you the edge when it comes to canopy control. The ability to manipulate the growth structure of your plants will have an impact on the number of flowering sites that are producing top heavy buds. This is how a SCROG setup works and the advantages associated with using this method.
What Is SCROG?
A strange sounding word, however is an abbreviation for the term Screen of Green. Firstly, it is important to be familiar with Sea of Green (S.O.G). This describes the characteristics of a large growing area when multiple plants are grown closely together, given a short vegging time. Typically, cannabis plants that are better suited for Sea of Green growing are indica dominant varieties. This is because they have a similar growth structure in regards to height and uniformity.
The Advantages of Sea of Green:
- A uniform crop.
- Short growing phase for quick turn around times.
- Grow more bud with smaller plants to maximise space.
Now you have an understanding of how the Sea of Green method benefits, imagine what will happen if you add a screen for the plants to grow through into the equation! This is where SCROG originates from and stands for Screen of Green. The science behind growing with a screen and heavy amounts of canopy control is very simple and can lead to enormous harvests.
The screen will act as a point in the canopy that will determine what grows through and will receive intense lighting, and which parts below the screen will be stripped away. By using the screen as a way to measure what parts will be left for the growth energy of the plant to fully commit to. Using this means easily achieving a top canopy of 24-36 inches of prime flowering sites.
The Advantages of Screen of Green:
- Enhanced yields
- Maximising space with multiple flowering sites
- You can utilize multiple training techniques
- Only top-heavy buds are produced
- All the growth energy is efficiently used
- Zero lower grade flower produced
What Do You Need To SCROG?
There are a number of things you will need to successfully perform a SCROG, and the most important is patience. In order to create a huge yielding cannabis plant, it takes time to achieve the best results. When a Screen of Green technique is performed correctly, a grower can achieve exceptional yields off a single plant. However, there are multiple factors that need to be considered.
- You will need to have a strain that works well for tying down, bending, snapping and pruning. The best strains for working with SCROG are usually hybrids which naturally express both indica and sativa characteristics. Autoflowers won’t work for this.
- A screen that will be set over the plants as they grow through it. The screen does not need to be in place until the plants are at a certain size. This can be made from chicken wire, plastic squared pea netting or bamboo trellis.
- Tools to allow you to tie plants down, top plants and to prune. These may range from twine string, metal wire, tweezers, a pair of sterile scissors or a sharp scalpel depending on which you prefer to use.
Multiple Training Techniques Used
The Screen of Green technique is certainly the most demanding in terms of maintenance as well as prolonged vegging periods. A grower is expected to hand feed their plants through designated parts of the screen and over time, remove any lower growth that may have an impact on the performance of the top growth above the screen. The best way to get the most out of your plants during the growing phase is to use the following techniques.
A great way to promote multiple top shoots and to enhance yields. Creating as many tops as early as possible will give you a big advantage when it comes to filling the screen later on.
A method that involves removing 75% of the top growth tip, allowing the plants to temporarily focus their energy on the lower growth. This technique will promote bushy, thicker shaped plants.
Further Reading: A Guide to FIMMING
Basically, snapping a main stem and purposely causing a break. The inner walls of the stem will repair and form a solid wooden knuckle, and as this happens growth hormone is flushed through the plant causing a stronger growth structure and improved vigour.
Further Reading: Super Cropping 101
Clearing away all of the vegetative growth below the screen, will mean on the growth above the screen will be productive. The screen effectively acts as a control point and will dictate how much of the much-needed growing energy the buds will receive once 12/12 has begun.
Further Reading: Pruning Cannabis Plants
A Step by Step Guide
You will need to grow your plants to promote as many tops as possible. Use the techniques stated above and each week, allowing the plants to recover before applying further training methods.
Top Tip: Give your plants up to 6-8 weeks to really get the most out of them during 18/6
Place your screen over the tops of the plants and set the frame in place. From this point you will use the screen as a point of reference to what is valuable and what can be discarded later on.
Top Tip: Make sure the net size is large enough and flexible enough to work with
Once the screen is fixed in place, designate a particular square in the net that each top will grow through. At this point you may have a plant with 12 main tops, so you will need to feed the 12 tops through different parts of the screen.
Top Tip: Make sure the screen is fixed, yet can be pulled off the plants is something goes wrong
When the canopy above the screen line is totally full, and there is no more spacing in the net, now you will want to focus on maintaining all of the growth below the screen.
Top Tip: Make sure you use sharp scissors when pruning to achieve clean cuts
Take a pair of sterile scissors or scalpel and cut away and fan leaves, smaller sized leave and softwood growth. Clear away until the parts below the screen is completely empty and bare.
Top Tip: Below the screen needs to be 100% clear of any growth
A side profile of the plant and screen should look like a woody main stem with plenty of thick strong side branches that have been stripped bare beneath. Above is a healthy, vigorous canopy of 30cm of vegetative growth. Now you can flower the plants
Top Tip: Depending on your strain, it may differ but aim for a top canopy of 30-45 cm before flowering your Cannabis plants
As your plants begin flowering under 12/12 you will notice the plants stretch very little and will consume all of their time and energy on growing dense, fat buds. Your total height of buds will be around 60-75 cm in height.
Top Tip: All of your buds will be thick buds ranging in size from 1-3 inches
Once your plants are ready you can move on to harvest, trimming and drying your buds.