When to Start Low Stress Training for Cannabis

Low-Stress Training or LST is being used by marijuana growers if they want to have a greater yield, taking control over the height and shape of their marijuana plants. When to start low-stress training? Let’s find out in this article.

When training marijuana, the two methods are low-stress training and high stress straining. Generally, low-stress training is a gentle manipulation of cannabis plants, whereas high-stress training is aggressively done to stress the plant.

What are the Benefits of Low-Stress Training

  1. Greater Yields. Even if you use the identical setup as an untrained marijuana crop, LST can provide you a maximum amount of yield.
  2. Full Control. You have a full control over your cannabis plant’s size, shape, and height.
  3. Multiple Beneficial Sites. Growth sites, bud sites, or different colas are created instead of a single site each branch. Low-Stress Training causes a chemical reaction in your cannabis plants, giving more colas that produce more buds.
  4. Less Invasive. LST is gently done so no stress is experienced by cannabis plants. It does not involve cutting any part of the plant unlike high-stress training or “topping”.
  5. Lateral Growth and Bushy Canopy. LST encourages a plant to form a bushy canopy and lateral growth, improving canopy control and promoting the development of thick and large independent shoots and uniform buds.

How Low-Stress Training Works

Unlike high-stress training, LST is done by simply bending the upper branches away and out from the center of the cannabis plant, tying them down in a better position with the use of soft ties or wire, thus creating a more even surface. All bud sites will receive approximately the same light distribution instead of only the top getting the maximum exposure like what happens in untrained plants.

When a shoot from the cannabis plant is bent and then tied down, it is tricking the plant to think that it lost a shoot completely. The natural tendency of the plant is to release a chemical that will allow growth to more growth sites or colas. It works by auxin redistribution. Auxin is a hormone responsible for apical dominance or the “main cola”. When the apical dominance is taken away, the plant will be forming side branches faster. The marijuana plant focuses more energy on growing a bushy or wide plant. When the branch that has been tied down becomes the highest point, auxin will start to accumulate on the top, restarting vertical growth.

This will lead to more bud sites, giving the cannabis grower a greater yield. There are cannabis growers who also top their plants aside from doing low-stress training. However, this is not pure LST because true LST should not harm your plants in any way. Low-Stress Training should only involve bending and tying, not cutting.

When to Start Low-Stress Training

Generally, LST can be done throughout your marijuana plant’s life cycle. When you start from the seedling stage, you will have a greater control over your plant. Low-Stress Training is performed when a marijuana plant begins stretching, about halfway through flowering. Keep in mind that performing LST during the flowering stage won’t cause any other growth.

Working on Autoflowering Cannabis Strains

Low-Stress Training can be beneficial to autoflowering strains, by providing the buds more light and beefing them up. Of course, autos still possess a short vegetative period and training won’t bother them in any way. Low-Stress Training is totally fine as long as you begin early.

Best Materials to Use for LST

The ultimate goal of LST is to manipulate a marijuana plant without causing undue stress. With this being said, you’ll need a rubber-coated metal wire, specifically designed to tie down plants without causing damage.

You may use anything that is not too sharp such as pipe cleaners or clothing hangers. Chicken wire and string are considered too sharp that may cut through the marijuana plant. Other growers use SCROG nets, but this is not the best option if you like to begin training your cannabis plants straight away.

To attach the LST wires or strings, you have to attach these materials to the plant pot or container. You can use bendable metal wires or just simply stuck them in the soil. You can drill holes in the sides of the container or tie a band surrounding it.

LST Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Grow a cannabis plant until it reaches 3 or 5 sets of leaves. There are growers who prefer to wait until there are 5 sets, but caution should be done. As your cannabis plant grows, the main or primary stem will become firmer, thus making harder to bend without breaking. It is important not to break the plant’s stem because it will greatly stress the plant. If the main stem is broken, your entire cannabis plant may die.
  2. Select the ties. Some growers use hooks. They hook into the ground after bending a branch
  3. Choose how your marijuana plant will be tied.
  4. Tie your marijuana plant around the last internode or the area in between the last set of cannabis leaves and the second-last set of leaves. You need to gently tie this area, then secure to the spot that you chose.
  5. The top of your cannabis plant that was bent will eventually start to bend towards the light. This can take as long as a whole day under powerful lights or as little as 3 hours.
  6. Just wait. Remember that tying shouldn’t be performed not until a new leaf set forms. The new branches will form at the sides of the cannabis plant because more light will get into the main stem.
  7. Tie down the new leaf sets once they start to form. You can bend stems horizontally on the inside edge of the container.
  8. Repeat step 7 for repeated growth. Wait for the cannabis plant to flower. Switch to 12/12 light cycle.

Conclusion

Low-Stress Training can be beneficial for every cannabis strain. There will be minor differences like using LST for various reasons with various strains. LST greatly improves the quality of buds, most especially among cannabis indica strains. Cannabis sativa plants benefit from the reduced height. LST generally works best to naturally bushy cannabis strains because a shorter internode space keeps new colas closer. Now you just learned when to start Low-Stress Training, its benefits, and the steps. Happy cannabis growing!