by Nebula Haze
What is Super Cropping?
Super cropping is the name for a High-Stress Training (HST) technique when you stress the plant by slightly hurting it in a planned way.
As a result, the plant will grow bushier, with more buds, and possible even higher THC levels! This is the plant’s natural response to protect herself in the wild, in case things go wrong. As the grower, you can take advantage of this technique to get bigger yields and more potent buds!
Why Does Super Cropping Work So Well?
THC is the principal ‘thing’ in the cannabis plant that causes the plant’s well-loved psychoactive effects. THC is produced mostly in the flowers of the female cannabis plants.
But cannabinoid-like substances are abundant in almost all plants and animals, including humans. In fact, humans and mammals naturally have a ton of receptors for cannabinoids throughout our brain and bodies.
If you’ve ever slept, eaten, forgotten, or relaxed, then you’ve used your Endocannabinoid system (yay for being a mammal!) and natural cannabinoids.
Ok, so why does the cannabis plant produce THC, which causes major psychotropic effects?
Did you know that THC is produced by the marijuana plant for protection?
Obviously it’s not doing a great job protecting the plants from humans! 🙂 (Or maybe it is good for them since we keep cultivating these plants…)
In the wild, deer and many other creatures might eat marijuana flowers which would prevent the plants from making seeds and reproducing.
Yet, as far as we can tell, most animals won’t strip a whole marijuana plant of ALL her buds. Either they think cannabinoids taste terrible, or maybe they hate the effects. Therefore we believe the plants use THC as a way to deter predators.
Maybe the animals just forget what they’re doing and wander off…
Because these plants use THC to protect against predators, when marijuana plants are stressed, they’ll put their bud and cannabinoid production into overdrive as a last ditch effort to protect themselves.
Why is that all important?
For a marijuana plant, creating the prized cannabinoid-laden buds (which are used to make seeds) is their life’s work.
As a cannabis grower, it’s your job to understand what causes cannabis plants to produce the biggest, most potent buds possible.
So I’m going to let you in on a big secret to getting the biggest, best buds when growing marijuana…
While marijuana growers want to make sure that these plants survive until harvest, keeping them as absolutely healthy as possible in a 100% perfect environment without any special techniques won’t get you the best results.
Instead, the best buds are produced when you learn how to stress the plants in just the right way to increase yields and cannabinoid production.
Which brings me to super cropping, one of the easiest, most effective ways to stress your marijuana plant for better harvests.
This remarkably simple technique will dramatically increase your yields, and all it takes is your fingers, duct tape, a bit of growing experience and the knowledge of what to do. It’s based on the idea we just discussed of stressing the plant so it goes crazy with bud production.
- Your fingers
- A bit of growing experience
- Something to tie down branches in place – plant twisty ties and regular zip ties both work great, or you can get creative! (just avoid anything “sharp” like string which can start to cut into your plant’s “skin” over time)
- Duct tape (if you make a mistake)
- The knowledge of what to do (jump to super crop tutorial)
First, a video example of an experienced grower supercropping his cannabis plants, and below I’ll go through each step along with another video to make it as clear as possible for you 🙂
Super-cropping is best done during the vegetative stage, once the plant has grown many healthy branches and is growing vigorously, but before it is full into the flowering stage.
- For super-cropping, you want to choose parts of the plant that are old, but still pliable (sometimes called ‘bendy’). The parts you use this technique on should still be green, and not wood-like the bottom of the main stalk.
- If your plant has multiple colas, you should super-crop the same location on multiple colas. When there’s only one main cola, you supercrop the pliable greener growth towards the top.
- Basically you’re trying to create a flat canopy at the top, without any stems sticking up taller than the rest.
The idea is to damage the inner tissue of the plant without causing damage to the outside ‘skin.’ This makes the stem super pliable so it can easily be bent in the direction that you would like for it to grow.
- Grab the branch and squeeze with firm pressure between your thumb and forefinger, as if you’re trying to crush the stem where you want it to bend. This helps “loosen” the joint you are about to make.
- Wiggle the stem between your fingers slowly back and forth for 10+ seconds while maintaining pressure, to loosen it up where you want it to bend.
- Continue wiggling until it feels like the inside of the stem has softened. The stem should feel pliable and loose at the joint you just made.
- Slowly and gently bend over stem towards the direction you want, and secure in place.
This video demonstrates a grower squeezing the stem, then bending it over. This was a very young and flexible stem. For stiffer stems, you may need to wiggle back and forth for up to 60 seconds while squeezing/crushing the stem between your fingers, before it “loosens up” enough to bend without breaking the skin. Never force it! If it feels like it’s going to snap it probably will!
Some growers just grab each branch and snap them quickly, but doing this makes it more likely you’ll snap the outside tissue and need tape.
With that being said, cannabis plants are surprisingly resilient. If you don’t bend the super-crop site hard enough, it will just bounce back to where it was in a few hours. You still may need to secure the stem down to prevent it from growing back up!
You know you’ve succeeded when the plant now appears somewhat ‘broken’ and now rests at a 90 degree angle where you bent it, and the branch stays down.
This illustration shows a perfect example of a super crop, one that doesn’t even need tape. Use tape if you go a little overboard.
In the best case scenario, the stem remains at a permanent 90° angle, while the outside tissue stays intact. At this point you need to secure the stem back down or it will come up again injust a day or two.
But no matter how you super crop, this process can cause your plant to grow a whole bunch of new colas and leaves. A plant doesn’t want to put all its effort into a branch that (as far as your plant is concerned) has probably just been attacked by animals!
In the best case scenario, you don’t even need tape, because the outside of the plant is still whole.
- If you’ve gone a bit overboard, you may need to use duct tape (or another strong tape) to reinforce the plant so it can heal properly, especially if you can see a open slit or crack on the outside of the stem.
- If there was no cracking (yay!) then you only need to secure down your stem (or it will flip right back up in a day or two). Plant twisty ties or regular zip ties both work great!
- Regardless, the place that you originally bent will grow a big ‘knot’ almost like a permanent band-aid, which can transport more water, nutrients, and other good stuff compared to before.
- Wait about one week before removing any tape. It’s normal for the tissues to have discoloration at the healing sites.
- If the site is still grey and appears totally wounded, just put the tape back on until it has grown her protective ‘knuckle’.
Until then, the plant will be able to transport nutrients and maintain all normal processes as long as it has the tape as reinforcement.
If plant tries to straighten any branches, just tie them down (using Low Stress Training techniques). Stems will easily give in to your will after being super cropped.
Unlike topping or extensively plucking leaves, super cropping does not dramatically slow down the growth of the plant (though you should expect to giver her a little time to recover), while giving you many of the same benefits of these other High Stress Training techniques.
Try super cropping today!