As you spend time training and observing your plants, you’ll begin to get a much better understanding of exactly what you're working with. I highly recommend viewing some cannabis time-lapse videos to get a better idea of how the cannabis plant grows.
If you accidentally snap a stem while bending, tape it up immediately! Most of the time your plant will recover just fine.
Choose a too-tall stem that you want to bend over
Soft wire ties are much stronger and can hold on in almost any situation
It is essential that you start any Low Stress Training as soon as possible. It's best to start when your plant is very young, though with LST, it's better late than later, and better later than never.
Bigger yields from the exact same grow lights and setup
Start Training Early – Start low stress training early in the plant life so you can avoid every having to try to bend thick stems. If you keep on top of plant training from the beginning, you will only even need to bend new growth and it will go much more easily.
The purpose of any cannabis cutting technique is to break the apical dominance of a cannabis plant. When you cut the "trunk" or main stem of a cannabis plant, the plant tends to start branching out and allowing lower growth tips to rise up and become colas.
Don't use string or anything sharp to tie down plants for LST!
Typing plants down using the LST method ensures better light dispersion across the entire plant for improved health and more efficient use of the grow lights. Tying down can be done to the edge of the containers or grow beds, to a surrounding wall, or even to the irrigation system if necessary.
To carry out LST, growers simply tie plants down when they are young, forcing them to grow outwards instead of upwards. It can be considered a form of plant trellising.
As the young plants begin to grow horizontally, a grower simply has to continue to tie them down. Some growers prefer to train their plants to grow directly out in a horizontal direction. However, others gently curve the main stem around the plant itself. This allows other tips to grow from the center, which can also be trained.
Low-stress training, or LST, is a method of training plants, usually cannabis, to grow horizontally, rather than vertically. Horizontal growth can allow for stronger overall growth, and when done correctly, allows you to maximize your growing area and yields.
Maximum Yield Explains Low Stress Training (LST)
Low-stress training begins when plants are young and more flexible. Simply bend them to the side, and then tie them down using anything from twine to plastic zip-ties. It's important not to damage the stem in any way, as this can lead to unhappy plants.
Finally, low-stress training also allows you to lower the grow lights in your gardening area closer to the plants than would be possible if you allowed the plant to grow vertically. This could allow for the use of lower-wattage bulbs and improved energy savings over time while still ensuring that the cannabis is able to absorb as much light as possible.
LST is generally not initiated on plants that are mature and fully flowering. Constant LST, however, throughout both the vegetative and early flowering phases, can help keep mother plants healthy and capable of producing robust clones.
LST is most commonly performed during the vegetative period when the shoots are pliable and the plant’s growth can be more easily directed. That being said, low-stress training can also be used during the flowering phase . Bending stems during flowering can help ensure even exposure to light. For growers looking to redistribute the plant’s energy from many growth sites to a few, the first couple of weeks of flowering can be a good time for low stress training.
Cannabis plants tend to grow into a formation known as apical dominance, where the plant is bushier at the bottom and narrows to a single elongated cola at the apex. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
LST can be initiated when the plant’s stem and shoots become long enough to be tied down. Make sure you use stretchy plant tape, pipe cleaners, or rubber-coated wire as they are more gentle on shoots and stems. Regular wire or string should be avoided as it may cut into the stems as they grow, causing damage.
Can you low-stress train in the flowering stage?
LST is usually carried out during the vegetative phase while the stem and shoots are still pliable. The cannabis plant begins to grow in a circular pattern rather than straight up. When the plant enters its flowering stage, healthy colas will sprout upwards from the sideways-growing plant.
Low-stress training enables growers to fully exploit the available space and light by manipulating the growth pattern of plants. Cannabis plants tend to grow into a formation known as apical dominance , where the plant is bushier at the bottom and narrows to a single elongated cola at the apex. This natural formation tends to result in a single dominant bud at the top of the plant, which monopolizes nutrients and hormones, leaving smaller buds on the lateral branches.
LST can be used on both indoor and outdoor plants, optimizing space and maximizing bud output. For outdoor cultivators, it can help to keep a crop low profile.
Autoflowering cannabis plants grow rapidly as they do not require a change in light to commence flowering. High-stress training methods can cause problems for autoflowering strains as their two-to-three month life cycle leaves little time to recover from damage. Low-stress training methods, however, represent an ideal way to manipulate autoflowering plants and maximize their yield.
The purpose of LST is to encourage the plant to flatten at the canopy, thus providing more even access to light, and multiple thriving bud sites. This constriction allows sugars and the growth hormone auxin to distribute more evenly . By flattening out the canopy, the entire plant also receives more light, promoting the growth of more buds and larger yields.