Published: January 16th, 2018
Categories: Cannabis Cultivation
ScrOG stands for Screen of Green, and it is probably the most effective high-yield cannabis cropping technique for the indoor hobby grower. In contrast to the SOG or Sea of Green, the ScrOG does not require large numbers of plants, and its success is entirely dependent on a combination of plant training and pruning.
"Scrogging" is all about making the best possible use of the horizontal grow space by carefully controlling the vertical growth of trained cannabis plants with a screen. The objective is to create an even canopy of top-shelf colas equidistant from a perfectly positioned grow light.
Before you consider using the ScrOG technique, make sure you are well practiced in the following two pruning methods: Topping and Lollipopping. And just in case you’re a little rusty, we’ve got a quick two-step guide to bring you up to speed before we dive right into the scroggers guide together.
1. Topping: It’s simple to top a cannabis plant all you need to do is snip the top off the main shoot so instead of just one main cola, two are encouraged to develop.
Topping helps to make cannabis plants bushier and can be applied multiple times depending on how long you wish to veg your weed. Always allow one week for plants to recover post-topping.
The topping method is best applied during the vegetative growth stage. North American growers prefer to top infant plants by pinching off the top of the main stem between the fingers.
European growers usually wait until plants are at least 30cm tall before beginning to prune for yield in the vegetative phase.
2. Lollipopping: The lollipop method is another simple and very effective pruning technique that helps to ensure all your nuggets are prime grade-A buds.
Lollipopping is not only good housekeeping in the grow room, it is proven to focus plant energy on producing one large bud rather than wasting energy producing popcorn buds.
To apply the lollipop method, the grower must wait until the end of week 2 of flowering for strains that bloom in 8-9 weeks, or the end of week 3 for longer flowering 10+ weeks varieties. All you have to do is remove all but the top flowers from the branches. Some prefer to use scissors others simply pinch off the infant bud sites.
It may seem illogical, but this technique eliminates fluff and delivers fat buds come harvest every time. Plus it’s essential to keeping a ScrOG tidy, improves air flow and ensures all plant energy is devoted to the production of fat colas.
Got these two pruning methods down? Great, then you’re prepared. Let’s get stuck into the art of ScrOG. What follows is everything you need to know about the ScrOG method. The first thing you need to get your hands on is a suitable screen.
It’s a choice between build one or buy one for the 21st-century scrogger. These days, with a few clicks the perfect fitting ScrOG screen can be yours. Plenty of grow tent sized, easy to install nets/screens are available. Everything you need is included in the box and the screen will completely cover the grow area.
For those with even limited DIY skills, it’s still possible to build a great screen with a few easy to source items. Most garden centres and hardware stores will have a whole range of wire, fencing, and material that can, with minor modification, be put to use in a ScrOG.
Whatever homemade screen you plan to build, make sure to measure first. In order to get the most out of the ScrOG method you need a screen with plenty of gaps for colas to grow through, and ideally, 100% of the grow space should be utilised.
It’s best to use lightweight material like a plastic mesh that can be easily fastened into place with 4 cable ties one attached to each corner pole of the grow tent. It’s that simple.
The easy and effective way to ScrOG for the soil cultivator is to use a few plants and large containers. Of course, you must grow either feminized cannabis seeds or clones. Male plants would obviously ruin the whole operation and autoflowering strains race to the finish leaving no time for training.
4 female cannabis plants in 15-25l containers per m² are optimal, and with a prolonged vegetative period, just a single plant can fill the entire grow space.
6-8 weeks of vegetative growth should be sufficient time to allow for at least one topping and for healthy bushes to develop. At this point, you deploy your screen 10-15cm above the canopy.
For indica leaning strains it’s best to give them a further week to grow into the screen. While stretchy sativa and especially haze varieties can be switched to bloom and will grow through rapidly in the first week of flowering.
Regardless of the strain, the objective is to maximise the number of top colas so as one breaks through a gap in the screen gently tuck it horizontally into the next one and so on and so on until by week 3 of the bloom cycle the screen should be filled with emerging colas. Below the screen, lollipopping will remove the lower material so the focus will be 100% cola production.
Typically by the start of week 3 indica strains will have easily filled the screen and colas can be allowed to grow vertically. However, some sativa strains will require constant bending and weaving until perhaps as late as week 5 of the bloom cycle to spread them out horizontally and ensure the canopy stays even and colas don’t get too close to the light.
If applied correctly, by late bloom the grow tent should be packed from wall to wall with nothing but big fat juicy colas evenly distributed across a level canopy. This is what high production cannabis cultivation is all about.
For the grower intent on tipping the scales come harvest, we recommend combining the 4 way LST technique with a ScrOG. This is also a fantastic fusion of training methods for growers with limited space as the 4 way LST really turns plants into monster weed hedges.
As usual, plants must be topped but for the 4 way LST method you must top really early when the plants are just a few centimeters tall and display the first sets of true leaves. The US pinching style is advantageous and once topped allow a couple of weeks for two new tops to emerge and grow vertically a spell. The lower pair of branches should catch up in the meantime.
Now fish out 4 paperclips and bend/force/twist them into a horseshoe shape. During vegetative growth, while the infant cannabis plants are still bendy and flexible is the perfect time to apply low-stress training.
Bend the two main shoots and the secondary pair over gently and stake them into place with your paperclips. Now you top the four anchored main stems to double the main shoot numbers again. The bending and topping process can be continued until the grower has achieved the required number of tops to adequately fill the screen.
Naturally blending all of these pruning and plant training methods makes for a very long vegetative growth stage for soil cultivators, perhaps as much as 8-10 weeks, but harvests can be enormous when this combination is executed with skill.
A hydroponics ScrOG is perhaps the fastest route to a heavy harvest for the experienced scrogger. Weed grown in a hydro system can be prepped for ScrOG in half the time of soil cropped cannabis plants. Multiple toppings and/or LST can be accomplished with a vegetative growth phase lasting 4-6 weeks.
Time and electricity saved during the veg period are not the only benefits of the hydro ScrOG grow. The most wonderful advantage is the bountiful harvests that can be achieved with perfectly set up hydro ScrOG. Most growers that succeed with a hydro ScrOG never go back. The huge yields just cannot be matched with currently known alternative methods.
The short and sweet answer is any strain if you want. Scrogging really will bring out biggest yield a strain can possibly achieve. But for some of the delicious exotic sativa strains that can sometimes be a nightmare to cultivate indoors the ScrOG is the means of taming these strains and cropping a fat stash of connoisseur grade buds.
Sure some extra work will be required but nothing more troublesome than tucking colas to maintain an even canopy.
Some of our favourite cannabis delicacies to ScrOG are the queens of head stash like Sour Diesel and Super Silver Haze. And for those that prefer a heavy indica buzz, nothing beats the full body stoned effect of Afghan Kush. That’s the straight dope on the ScrOG method. Now get Scrogging.