How to SCROG Your Marijuana Plant for Maximum Growth
Growing cannabis might not take much skill but mastering the art of plant manipulation is a whole different challenge. One that takes precision, a few tools, and some careful love and care throughout the process. There are more than a few techniques that you could use to do this, and one of the most popular right now is called the SCROG method.
What is SCROG?
SCROG AKA ‘Screen of green’ refers to a kind of training that can be used alongside many other traditional methods of growing cannabis. The SCROG method is used indoors but can also be used outdoors, however, it will not provide the same pronounced results as when it is implemented indoors. This is because lighting outside is never exactly optimal. For those who are limited in the number of plants they can grow at once, the SCROG method is perfect and will yield the best results with the fewest plants.
Benefits of SCROG
The SCROG method is an approach taken by growers looking to maximize their yield potential when growing indoors, or outdoors. This method is one of the best ways to maximize the square footage of canopy that receives light, which results in a wide range of benefits including:
- Exposes a higher number of nodes to the light which increases growth
- Prevents bud rot by increasing airflow
- Provides stability and support for longer cannabis plant branches
When should I start to SCROG my marijuana plant?
Knowing when to SCROG is just as important as learning how to do it before you try. Start too soon, and it will be impossible to comfortably fit your plants with the netting, and if you’re too late, then you risk the plants having a more challenging time bouncing back. SCROG should not be implemented until your cannabis plants are just about to reach the flowering stage. From then you’ll have two weeks into the flowering stage before your chances of success will be greatly reduced.
How to set-up your SCROG screen
It is recommended to stick to 1-inch minimum gaps for the SCROG method, as it will allow more freedom to move and tie-down your branches without breaking. Any kind of wire screen can be used for this. If you are unable to obtain a wire screen, then you can use a thick twine and build a screen. The biggest things to remember when making or choosing which screen to use is the min 1- inch gap and that you will need 30 square centimeters for the plant you wish to grow on it. The screen should be arranged as close to your lights and as safely as possible, while still allowing room for the giant buds to form.
How to build a SCROG net
It’s always easier to buy a pre-made version, but not everyone has access to these kinds of products, and that’s ok. You can make a perfectly good SCROG screen at home using only a handful of materials that should cost less than $20 from any local hardware store near you.
- Soft nylon rope or twine
- Cutting tool (Knife, scissors, etc.)
Once you have lined up your cannabis plants into rows, place one stick just outside each of the plant from the outer rows. Once you are finished, it should look like a perfect square, so if it doesn’t, then you might want to make some adjustments.
Now, begin to run the rope or twine from one stick to the one directly across from it. This part is going to take a little while and is much easier if you start at one end and work your way to the other so that previously laid rope isn’t in your way.
Tie each rope once it reaches a stick. Now cut the rope, or run it to the next plant, it’s entirely up to you, but often cutting makes tying reliable knots much easier.
Keep going until all the sticks are bound with rope, ensuring the entire time to place the net at a level that is just above the center of the plants’ stem, which is the ideal “killing point.”
From there down, all the growth will eventually die, so it is essential that you feed the branches through the netting until they are all nicely packed into the squares.
Measure your screen spacing. The ideal amount is around 1 inch for gaps in the netting, so place as many sticks as you need to achieve that goal number, which will take one or two more rows to complete.
How to SCROG
The concept behind the SCROG method is that instead of growing just one single top bud, you can grow multiple large colas. As the cannabis plant slowly grows through the screen, the grower will pull them from the top down and tie each of the branches to the screen. This ties the plant’s overall position down and allows the grower the ability to triple a yield. To tie the branches, you can use plastic ties or twine, guiding each branch through a new empty hole on the screen. The plant will grow and produce large buds that all have even access to the light.
Most branches will form when using 12 hours on and 12 hours off for lighting. To use this method, you will need 30 sq. centimeters for every plant. You can use any strain with the SCROG method with virtually the same effect. Some claim Sativa works best, as it tends to have many more fine branches than the average Indica, which will give you more buds and make the plant itself easier to manipulate. The stretching of the plant is, for the most part, done within the first few weeks of the plant’s flowering stage.
Since you are trying to create more budding sites by exposing most of the plant to light, you will want to remove any of the larger fan leaves. Since there are optimal light conditions with SCROG, removing the largest leaves will allow for the lightest exposure and less draining of the plant’s energy. Don't cut too many as the plant will still rely on them for part of its absorption of light.
3. Air circulation
When using the SCROG method, air circulation is essential because you will have a larger canopy, which creates optimal conditions for mold without airflow. There are some strains that are mold resistant which can help to alleviate some of this worry. When using SCROG, it is best to invest in an air exchange blower that will provide maximum protection against mold spores and root rot from humidity. If that isn't an option, you can place a small fan to blow on the stems underneath the SCROG screen.
Maintaining a SCROG set-up is relatively simple, but you should only use this method in situations where you can frequently check in on your marijuana plant, as the cord provides some pretty substantial benefits, but it can also be damaging quite quickly if a plant gets tipped over.
Plants that are grown using the SGROG method are under a high amount of stress, so it is important to provide the most accessible nutrients and water as frequently as recommended. They also love a good misting with a handheld spray bottle filled with warm water. Though this process will provide a much more substantial yield, the denser buds that shade out the lower portions of the plants often do not get enough moisture to thrive, so be sure to give your crop a good rinsing at least once per week.
The last thing to remember throughout this experiment is that your plants will need more nutrients, that you can add to the soil. They will also require plenty of sunlight, and the real thing, in this case, is often much more effective than artificial alternatives. So whenever possible, open the windows and offer your cannabis plants some fortifying sunlight.
That’s really all there is to it, as the screen should not be removed or adjusted unless they are strangling a plant for the duration of the growing season, so there is very little else to do other than sitting back, relax, and take in the fruits of your labors.