While looking up ways to increase your yields, you’ve probably seen mentions of “main-lining,” or cannabis plant training. Just what this process is can be unclear, though. Many growers swearing by it, stating that it’ll make your plants bushier and “kushier”, but how does it work? Let’s talk about it.
What Is Main-Lining?
Mainlining is the process of cutting your cannabis plant at specific points in order to spur on new growth. A traditional cannabis mainline involves cutting your plant three times, to develop eight new stems. The more stems you have, the more buds you’ll be able to grow while keeping your grow lights closer to the majority of the plant.
How to Main-Line Cannabis
Mainlining cannabis involves topping your plant three times: first, when your plant has developed six nodes; second, when your plant’s branches have grown four nodes; and third, when your plants branches have started on their second node.
Main-lining cannabis usually involves lollipopping your cannabis at the same time. Once you’ve topped the plant, you should also remove any growth tips you don’t want to keep. These are usually found at the nodes below the one you want to split into new branches.
Topping your plant involves cutting your plant down to a certain node. This chopping encourages the plant to grow two new stems from wherever you cut it. Over the course of the three cuttings, you double the stems from one to two, to four, to eight. This gives you eight stems to harvest bud from at the end of your grow.
Step 1. The first cut happens when your plant has reached six nodes, usually about three weeks into growth. Once your seedling has developed six nodes, you get to cut off the top three. Cut carefully, with a sharp tool, just below the fourth node. Within a few days, the stem will develop two new offshoots.
Step 2. Watch these two offshoots for five two six days, until they start growing their fourth node. Then, trim again, just below the fourth node. At this point, it’s wise to start training the branches away from each other, to let everything get enough light.
Step 3. Finally, once your four new branches have started growing their second node, trim just below that node, leaving only the first.
Keep training the resulting eight branches away from each other into an even canopy.
Why Main-Line Cannabis?
Cannabis plants traditionally grow a single main stem. This is fine for the plant in the wild, where growing as tall as possible as quickly as possible is the norm, and has no consequences. However, in an indoor cannabis grow setup, it isn’t necessary for the plant to grow that tall. In fact, the plant putting the effort into growing one stem can be detrimental to your harvest.
Your final cannabis harvest is dependent on how much light your buds receive as they grow.
A single-stem cannabis plant will have great buds at the top, but the buds moving down the plant will get smaller and smaller as you move down the plant.
By cutting your cannabis plant and urging it to create multiple stems, you can train it into a shape that puts most of its buds at the top of the plant. This gives all the buds equal light, and so they grow to about equal size.
This kind of cannabis plant training is great for turning a single plant into a more intense bud producer. The plant can exert equal amounts of effort on every stem, and you aren’t wasting time or effort growing parts of the plant that won’t help your harvest. It also gives you a more consistent harvest.