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Grow Guide

Low Stress Training Cannabis: Everything You Need to Know

LST (Low Stress Training)

Low Stress Training or LST is simply bending and tying plants, to train them into a shape that grows more efficiently. Typical high stress techniques such as Topping, Fimming, and Supercropping all fall into the pruning for yield category and are not part of LST. All three are discussed in detail with a specific grow guide for each. Our present focus is on training cannabis plants rather than cutting away parts.

LST of course, can be combined with high yield cultivation methods, most notably Topping and the ScrOG method. In this grow guide, we will explore both simple stand alone LST and how to combine LST with other techniques for maximum yield.

WHEN TO LST

It is always preferable to begin LST with flexible plants still in vegetative growth. Stems and shoots tend to harden and develop thicker bark as flowering progresses. This makes LST risky. However, sometimes desperate situations require desperate remedies.

LST is the preferred last resort. It's better to bend colas away from the grow lamp to prevent late bloom light burns. But be careful: an LST past the first three weeks of flowering can be more of a break than a bend. If you do break a branch don’t panic. Patch the wound with duct tape.

Most growers planning to LST for maximum yield start early. US growers favour the 4-way LST method. This requires pinching off the top from infant plants, then bending back the 2 new shoots and the 2 lower secondary shoots that will eventually form a cannabis bush. This is a blend of topping and LST which can later be weaved into a ScrOG. An extended vegetative growth phase will be needed to facilitate this mix of methods.

A more typical European style LST is pure LST, without any pruning. European growers prefer to allow plants to develop in vegetative growth for at least 2-3 weeks before getting hands-on with cannabis plants. No pinching off tops or topping with scissors.

Instead, the main stem is treated just like the secondary branches and bent down to fill out the lateral space with the rest of the branches. Some extra time in vegetative growth may be required. But plants will recover faster than if they had been pruned. This style of LST is favoured by autoflowering cannabis growers seeking to boost yields without long recovery periods.

When To LST

HOW TO LST

In order to successfully LST your marijuana, you need a few simple tools, a steady hand, and patience. First, let’s begin with the tools for LST. You need some soft gardening wire, or a packet of plant ties, or cable ties, or roll of hemp string. You really don’t need much to LST cannabis.

Cable ties and string are pretty old school and can cut into stems if tied too tightly. We recommend soft plant ties or soft gardening wire, especially for newbies. If you happen to be particularly clumsy stake your plants with bamboo and tie bends with soft wire around the stake.

Before you LST you need to prep your pots too. Drill a few holes into the top rim of your pots or containers. Next bend the still flexible fresh growing shoot using the soft wire. Finally, run the wire through the hole in the pot to hold the bend in place and that’s your LST. Repeat on surrounding branches. Continue LST until you are happy with the size of your weed bush.

By fixing all bends to the pot the grower can still pick up and move the cannabis plant without undoing the LST. Auto growers don’t have as much time to play around with. Although, early LST on larger Super Autos can work wonders in just a couple of weeks.

As plants develop maintenance will be required. Moreover, additional new growth will require bending and tying down. LST cannabis grow ops need to be carefully monitored. The grower must control vertical growth and encourage lateral growth to produce thick canopied cannabis bushes.

LST - No Time To Waste!

BENEFITS OF LST

Growing marijuana LST style can be tremendously rewarding, especially come harvest. The primary objectives of the LST method are to give the grower control over vertical growth and to increase yields. By training plants to bush out and fill the lateral grow space, huge harvests can be achieved. Heavy harvest are even possible in small grow ops with LST.

More fat colas will grow into the sweet spot under your grow lamp with LST. Creative cultivators can bend and twist branches like a corkscrew to develop an artistic and productive cannabis bush. Plus, LST does not involve sniping off branches so plants require minimal recovery time. Typically just 3-4 days will suffice.

Lest we forget. In an emergency, the LST method might just save your crop. If you run out of grow space but don’t want to further stress plants by pruning, the LST is your go-to remedial procedure. So long as branches are somewhat flexible and you have a steady hand, a late LST in the bloom phase is possible. Worst case scenario: it’s Supercropping. That being said it’s best to LST early to avoid running out of grow space later.

Benefits & Disadvantages Of LST

DISADVANTAGES OF LST

No high yield cannabis cultivation technique is without its drawbacks. The LST method gives the grower the greatest amount of hands-on crop control and therein lies the problem. A large cannabis garden is not ideally suited to the LST method as it is far too labour intensive.

However, for the ordinary decent home grower, the LST method is the perfect choice for cropping a cannabis bonsai or two. But if you are planning on growing more than a handful of marijuana plants the LST method might prove to be too much of a handful.