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Plant Manipulation Techniques: Get the Best Out of Your Crop

Pruning is one aspect of manipulating and training your plants for optimal harvests. Pruning is one aspect of manipulating and training your plants for optimal harvests.


Plant manipulation contributes to the success of an indoor garden just as much as any of the countless other areas that growers of high-value crops have to master. Plant manipulation techniques are one area that can dramatically increase yield while costing the grower very little money. In order to best utilize the light energy in a grow room it may be necessary to stake, trellis, tie-down, prune, or top your plants.


Staking is one of the most common methods growers use to manipulate or support their plants to increase efficiency. During vegetative growth, stakes can be used to pull plants apart which creates better light penetration and fuller growth. During blooming, stakes can be used to support heavy fruit or flowers that would otherwise sag out of the optimal light energy zone which lies just below the horticultural lights.


Trellis netting is an invaluable tool for the indoor grower. Trellis netting can be stretched horizontally just below the optimal light energy zone which allows growers to spread, support, and control the height of their plants. Trellis utilized this way maximizes the available light energy and increases a grow room’s efficiency. Trellis netting can also be used as vertical support. Many outdoor growers combine stakes and vertical trellis to create a box around large plants.


Some growers manipulate their plant’s growth by physically tying down the plants. The plant is usually tied to the plant container or other permanent structure around the plant. This method increases light penetration and allows less developed shoots to catch up to taller, more developed shoots. For plant varieties that always seem to exceed their vegetative expectations, it may be necessary to implement the tie-down method just to control growth during the early flowering stages.


To improve light penetration to some of the lower flower sets some growers will prune their plants by removing large shade leaves. Some growers will actually strip the lower section of the plant of all the leaves and flowers to direct the plant’s energy toward the upper flowers. This method is especially effective when combined with a horizontal trellis.


Topping a plant in the early vegetative stage is a common method used to create a more even plant canopy. As the main growth shoot is cut, other side shoots will fill in and create a multiplying effect. Each shoot cut will grow two replacement shoots. This technique creates bushier vegetative plants and gives the grower control over plant height.

Throughout the career of every indoor grower there is a constant effort to increase efficiency and get bigger yields. For growers of high-value crops even a small improvement in efficiency can mean big rewards. Plant manipulation techniques are inexpensive ways growers can achieve better results. Shaping their garden is key for growers to maximize their success and best utilize their given resources.

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Last modified on Thursday, 11 April 2013 04:31

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