Published: July 5th, 2018
Categories: Cannabis Cultivation
Dial your grow operation up to 11! That’s right, if you want to boost your cannabis yields, you need to think bigger. You don’t need a larger grow space. Rather, you must fine-tune and upgrade your current setup. In fact, for a minimal investment, any grower can convert an ordinary decent grow show into a highly productive bud factory. Keep reading to discover the 11 pro tips to help boost your cannabis yields.
This might seem rather obvious, but choosing a proven high-production strain is absolutely essential. Genetics will always be the limiting factor when it comes to harvest weight. Heavyweight cannabis hybrids like Critical+, Moby Dick, and Trainwreck are renowned for their impressive flower to leaf ratios.
Better still, if you can get a hold of a clone from a proven profit-yielding mother plant, go for it. Even if you select a strain with a reputation for high yields, you can’t expect every seed that germinates to be a winner. Select the best from a pack of seeds.
Dialling up the intensity from a 250W to a 600W HPS can be as simple as turning the switch on a dimmable digital ballast. Even if you need to invest in an additional HID lighting kit, basic ballast, bulb, and reflector—bundle deals are widely available online.
Alternatively, you could upgrade to full-spectrum LED lighting. If you’ve got the cash to invest, you could potentially pack in more lights and consume less power, while generating less heat than HID systems. Boosting yields significantly is going to require more light one way or another. CFL lighting could also be added to supplement both a HID or LED setup. CFL is not recommended as a standalone bloom lamp.
Supplementing with CO₂ goes hand-in-hand with adding more light. Cannabis plants will actually thrive in temperatures between 30–35°C if you increase CO₂ levels in the grow tent. If you want to boost yields with feed, then feed your plants CO₂. Tanks with regulated emission systems are professional tools out of the price range of most home growers.
However, you can also use CO₂ bags hanging from the roof of your grow tent to boost CO₂. Plus, you can also supplement the plant's root zone directly with CO₂ tabs. Boosting with CO₂ can increase your cannabis yields by 30–50%.
Topping and fimming will increase the number of top colas and disperse growth hormone to lateral shoots. LST is great for bending shoots to create a bushy growth pattern. Supercropping is a little rougher, high-stress bending technique, but also proven to boost yields. All the above are best applied during the vegetative growth phase.
Defoliation can be applied from veg until late bloom. You don’t need to trim to excess, but clipping away shading fan leaves or lower growth to increase airflow is recommended. The natural Christmas tree shape of the cannabis plant is not optimal for profit-yielding cannabis cultivation.
The ScrOG method is probably the most efficient and productive way to grow cannabis indoors. Bending and weaving shoots through a latticed screen installed at least two weeks prior to flowering is the way to create a canopy of colas. Most growers prefer the horizontal screen of green "ScrOG" netting, but vertical green walls follow the same principle of trellising.
Lollipopping or stripping away the growth below the screen concentrates plant energy on producing dense colas above the screen. Using the ScrOG method, it’s possible to harvest a comparable indoor yield from 1–4 plants as a high-volume SOG or sea of green.
Big containers give roots more room to grow. This allows your plants to consume more nutrients and grow larger above ground. You shouldn’t really sow seeds directly into a huge pot. It’s better to take the time to transplant a small, healthy cannabis seedling.
Starting with a relatively small 1–3l pot gives the sprout a chance to build a small root mass. Then, you can pot up to oversized containers and grow weed trees. The only downside is plants will need a longer vegetative phase to grow into the pots.
During vegetative growth, cannabis plants prefer more nitrogen-rich fertilisers. As they transition to the flowering period, they become hungry for phosphorus and potassium. In fact, too much nitrogen during bloom will delay harvest.
Keep it simple, don’t add too many supplemental bloom-boosters and always make sure the pH value is perfect. That means 6.0–6.5 for soil and 5.5–6.0 for coco and hydro substrates. Most base nutrients are clearly labelled and have directions for what growth stage and in which doses they are to be applied. It’s common for two-part nutes to have separate pairs of bottles for vegetative growth and bloom respectively.
Cannabis prefers temperatures in the 20–25°C range and high relative humidity or RH of 50–70% during vegetative growth. Temperatures up to 28°C are acceptable for the flowering period, but RH should be decreased gradually to about 40% RH in the final weeks. This is critical to avoiding bud rot in the run-up to harvest. Nighttime environmental control should be closely controlled too. Don’t let it get cooler than 15°C when the lights are off, and add dehumidifiers if the RH rises significantly.
Well, this one seems like a no-brainer. But even grand master growers have lived to regret not taking cuttings of their finest cannabis cultivars. Don’t be a fool and let a profit-yielding genetic line leave the grow operation without cloning her first.
It’s not too late to clone your highly productive plants during bloom. If you take a cutting from a female about 30 days into flowering and successfully root and re-veg it, that’s known as monster cropping. It’s the very same technique as regular cannabis cloning—only these clones are monsters. Give it a try to boost yields for subsequent crops.
Don’t be tempted to chop down your cannabis plants too soon for any reason. It doesn’t matter what the estimated flowering period on the packet says. It doesn’t matter what some anonymous online expert thinks. Harvest too soon and not only will you have less bud, your weed won’t have reached peak potency either.
Only the plants can tell you when they are ready for harvest. Pistils turning from white to shades of orange, red, and brown and loud aromas are cues. Take a closer look at the trichomes with a microscope to confirm before you commit to harvesting.
Keeping a grow diary is a great way to learn from every cannabis plant you grow. You don’t need to have any literary flare to keep a practical grow diary. Writing a grow diary will help you become a better grower and will definitely boost your yields. Make it as detailed as you like, and over time, you’ll build your own custom cannabis database.