Many Seedstockers customers find that the best way to maximise their yields from a small number of plants is to try SCROG growing.
SCROG can deliver enhanced yields for the indoor grower, assuming that you don’t mind the extra hassle required to weave the branches into your SCROG net.
The principle is to maximise the growth of as much bud as possible by keeping the canopy of blooms the same distance from your grow light.
When SCROG is performed well you will harvest lots of heavy cannabis blooms all of which were grown in the intensity ‘sweet spot’ of your grow light.
Scrogging is a technique of growing cannabis plants using a screen/net as a physical barrier to restrict the initial vertical growth of the plant.
To begin with, the stem and branches are weaved through the net (or tied to it) and forced to grow horizontally instead of vertically. During bloom, all the blooms originate from the same height allowing the grower to cultivate the blooms under maximum light intensity. This should maximise yields.
Once you get used to SCROG growing and the subsequent yields you may not want to switch back to other growing techniques! You can get very heavy harvests from your grow room, often with fewer plants.
Many potential SCROG growers are put off by the perceived complexity. However, once you have set up your SCROG grow room it’s only a few minutes of daily effort to tuck branches/stems underneath the netting. Your harvests will be heavy if you can adapt to the new way of growing
Many SCROG growers prefer to top (or FIM) their plants. This helps to amplify the bushy characteristics required for scrogging. Many scroggers will remove the main growing tip usually between the 3rd and 5th node during veg growth.
Those with a small screen (or those with very stretchy sativa varieties) will lean towards shorter veg periods. You can use longer veg periods if you are filling a large screen or if you have an Indica variety with low stretch.
You can use fewer plants than normal. A simple 1m x 1m indoor grow tent could produce a great SCROG result with just one or two good quality, well trained plants. SCROG growing also suits those with less vertical growth space.
Some scroggers remove the lowest branches which have no chance of reaching the canopy.
By removing these lower branches you make it easier to circulate air below the canopy.
Other growers use defoliation, especially in those varieties which produce an abundance of wide leaves. Removing excess leaves can improve air movement as well as improving light penetration.
Growing autoflowering seeds with SCROG can present additional difficulties.
Autoflower plants have a fixed life cycle and switch into bloom only when they (not you) wish to. The result is that there are fewer guarantees that your SCROG net will be filled as well as you may wish.
If you do SCROG with autos, you may prefer to select some sativa leaning autoflower seeds to fully fill your SCROG net.
The precise details of your SCROG grow will be determined by several variables. This will include the amount of available height as well as the power/type of grow light. A 1000W HPS grow light in a parabolic reflector might need to be up 100cm over your canopy, but an LED bar light might need to be just 25cm over your blooms. If you are going to try SCROG spend a few moments considering the right set up for you.
Position your grow light so that the blooms are in the centre of the recommended lighting distance and allow yourself some spare room if the plants grow higher than expected.
When your blooms are growing under maximised light intensities then spectacular results are possible.
Metal garden fencing with a 5cm x 5cm grid is ideal for SCROG. This can be bought on rolls in e.g. garden centres, or in sheets from building merchants. The extra strength and weight of the metal SCROG screen can make it easier to weave/tie the branches in place compared to a plastic screen.
Some stretchy sativa plants can double or even triple in height during flowering. This makes them popular with scroggers since they quickly stretch and fill the screen.
Indica dominant hybrids may only increase in height by 50%-100% during bloom. With relatively much less stretch, scroggers may prefer to grow their Indica dominant strains for longer in veg in order to ensure the SCROG screen is filled.
In general, when growing a ‘typical’ hybrid Seedstockers strain with an average amount of stretch, many SCROG growers wait until the screen is around 75% full with branches and shoots before flipping to 12/12 bloom conditions.
If you have a particularly stretchy sativa you might start bloom a little earlier, perhaps when around half the screen is full. If you have Indica dominant hybrids then you may prefer to wait until the net is almost full before bloom. This is because Indica dominant hybrids can have relatively little stretch.
Scroggers often cease weaving branches through the SCROG screen when it starts getting difficult to do so. There is no point damaging the young buds.
If you have a variety which stretches for around 4 weeks during flowering, you may wish to keep scrogging for the first 2 weeks when stretch is fastest before stopping to allow vertical growth to take over. This way, you still get a couple of weeks of vertical growth which will give good sized blooms 20-40cm high
Some experienced SCROG grower prefer to use cable tie/tie-rips to hold the branches in place over the screen/net without actually weaving the branches through it. This is called ‘training’ the plants.
At the start, there isn’t much training to do. But as the plant gets larger you can find yourself busy for a few minutes each day tucking the growth tips under the screen.
Many growers dislike the concept of pruning, or removing leaves. But it can be essential in order to allow light to reach lower branches which are reaching up to the screen. Sativa leaves, with their thin fingered leaflets, are perfectly suited to SCROG. The leaf structure allow light to penetrate better than thick fingered Indica strains.
The subject of leaf trimming/removal can be difficult for some growers who dislike the principle of removing leaves.
Scrog growers may not always like removing leaves, but they know that doing so will expose more bloom points to more light, producing heavier yields.
You will need to gain some SCROG experience in your own conditions (and with your preferred Seedstockers strains) to know when to stop tucking/scrogging.
Don’t expect all the answers on your first SCROG.
It varies from grower to grower, but 20cm to 50cm is fairly average.
Many SCROGGERS prefer to stop tucking 1-2 weeks before bloom stretch stops. This still allows some vertical stretch for the blooms.
So plan to flip your photoperiod plants into 12/12 bloom and expect to continue tucking for the first part of stretch (a couple of weeks or so)
As your plants stretch in 12/12 bloom conditions you will be able to carefully continue tucking the growing shoots under the SCROG net. Some growers use cable tie/tie-rips, small clips, or wire, to hold them in place.
Eventually there reaches a point where you can’t continue to tuck any more without damaging the buds.
As mentioned above, when growing a typical hybrid strain many people stop scrogging one week (or maximum 2 weeks) before the stretch ends. This allows a full screen and some vertical growth with good sized blooms.
With the best cannabis seeds you can aim for 500-600g/m2.
If you are an experienced SCROG grower with high quality LED lighting and a fully optimised grow room with high quality genetics then you can aim even higher.
Amnesia Feminised is a superb strain for SCROG. With high THC levels and heavy yields, this Haze strain stretches well and delivers excellent performance in SCROG. Auto Amnesia seeds also perform very well.
Wedding Cake is an Indica/sativa hybrid that really fills a SCROG net well with beautiful, heavy and frosty blooms. She is easy to grow, and with 20%+ THC levels you are in for a real treat.
BCN Critical XXL feminised is another hybrid strain with proven performance. Autoflowering seeds are also available. This strain is easy to grow, the flexible branches are well suited to the SCROG technique.
Don’t expect to become a perfect scrog grower on your first grow.
It will take time to master the technique, to understand your grow room and to find the best results.
It’s a technique which allows you to grow heavy harvests from a small number of plants.
Good luck, and enjoy the rewards that come from successful SCROG growing!