Plenty of species of plant are grown on trellises. Grapes, ivies, and flowering species are regularly found on trellises around the world. However, trellising is not restricted to vining plants. In fact, you can grow cannabis on a trellis with a little effort. If you’re considering training your cannabis plants during your next grow, trellising is a simple, easy option that can help you maximize your yields. Here’s how to trellis your cannabis plants effectively.
What is Trellising?
Trellising is the act of training your plants to grow on a trellis for support. A trellis is a lattice of material that helps support your plants. Trellises can be nets or hard screens, with twine, bamboo, and plastic being common materials. Trellises are easy to find at any local garden store near you, and can be found on Amazon as well.
Trellising helps your plants by giving them access to more light. In the wild, cannabis plants grow in a compact form that prevents them from getting damaged accidentally. However, this form is safer precisely because it doesn’t maximize surface area. In a safe environment like a supervised cannabis garden, marijuana’s natural shape isn’t necessary.
When you trellis your cannabis, you essentially guide your plants to grow along the screen. The trellis supports the branches. Since the plant isn’t able to grow in its normal pattern, it simply follows whatever direction you choose. Over the course of the grow, you weave the new growth through the trellis, out and away from the main stem. The end result is a trellis covered in cannabis, absorbing a ton of light and developing better, bigger buds.
Equipment Needed for Trellising
The most important equipment needed for trellising is the trellis itself. There are plenty available for purchase, or you can make your own. Keep your growing area in mind. An outdoor grow will need a sturdier trellis than an indoor garden, to account for wind and weather. Wood is a great option for outside. Indoors, simple nylon or plastic nets work well, since they don’t have to stand up to storms.
An optional piece of equipment is twine or plant ties. It’s completely possible to trellis your plants simply by bending new growth through the next hole as it grows. However, some growers prefer more secure methods. Tying your plant loosely to your trellis can prevent it from slipping out. Just be careful not to tie too tightly, or you’ll hinder future growth.
How to Trellis Cannabis
Trellising is closely related to low-stress training. In fact, the general techniques are the same. Starting when your plant is young, you carefully guide new growth in the direction you want. If you want multiple branches growing at the same time, you can tie the first main stem along the bottom of the trellis. Then you can encourage side branches to grow up and out.
Once you get the basic idea, you might realize that there are two ways you can trellis a plant: vertically, or horizontally. These are both common methods, and they are both useful to a variety of growers.
When you think of a trellis, you’re almost certainly thinking about a vertical trellis. Plants start at the bottom and weave their way up, reaching for the light. That same method can work well with cannabis outdoors.
Vertical trellising takes advantage of the free and abundant light of the sun if you’re growing outside. As the sun moves through the sky, all parts of the plant on the trellis should receive intense, direct light for at least part of the day. The trellis can also help protect plants from being damaged by weather if the trellis is sturdy enough. Just be careful with your ties, as tying plants too tightly can lead to broken branches if there are strong winds.
Indoors, vertical trellising is less common. Your plant lights don’t move throughout the day, so any leaves facing away from the light won’t be getting what they need. Indoor spaces also have an upper limit to how high your plants can grow, so training them to grow up is hard. Finally, most grow lights are designed for hanging and directing light downward. While you can find lights to aim at a wall, it’s not as easy as it is to find ceiling-mounted lights. That’s not to say you can’t trellis inside, though.
Screen of Green (ScrOG) Trellising
ScrOG is the perfect method of trellising your plants inside. Instead of having your plants grow up, you place the trellis horizontally. Most growers have more square footage than they have headroom, and ScrOG makes use of that.
The goal of ScrOG is to develop an even, dense canopy so you have the most bud sites possibly receiving light. That means you can and should combine trellising with high-stress growing techniques. If you top your plants, you suddenly have twice as many stems to work with. Many people top two or three times over the course of the vegetative stage. That’s a great way to make sure you don’t have any gaps and wasted light in your ScrOG grow.
Screen of Green growing has an added benefit: it keeps your plants’ height down. Not only is this trellis style okay for short rooms, it can help you make the most of them. Your plants will grow out for a while, instead of up, and that will keep their overall height under control.
When to Trellis Cannabis
If you like the idea of training your plants, a trellis is always helpful. Whether you like low-stress or high-stress training techniques, a trellis can help you guide your plants where you want them. A vertical trellis is great for low-stress training, while a ScrOG helps maximize the benefits of high-stress training.
Trellising only works if you’re willing and able to spend time on your plants at least weekly. New growth constantly needs to be woven into or tied to the trellis. If you prefer to be a hands-off grower, trellising might not be the right choice for you.
How to Choose the Right Plants
Any strain can work well with trellising if you understand its growth pattern. Indica strains can easily be convinced to grow on a trellis, and naturally grow multiple stems. That makes your job a little simpler. The woodier stems of Indica might take effort to trellis, however.
Sativa strains, on the other hand, may require some training before they grow well on a trellis. However, whether you convince them to grow multiple colas through high or low-stress training, from there they’ll thrive. Sativa tends to grow quickly and stretch during flowering, so a ScrOG setup can be particularly helpful if you want to grow a big Sativa plant indoors. The screen can also help support strains with weaker stems like some Sativa strains face.
Trellising is about as simple as it gets when it comes to adding infrastructure to your grow. A simple mesh screen or net can support your plants and encourage better growth. You can use them indoors or out to make the most of your garden’s light. If you have the time to put into keeping your plants on the trellis, it’s worth a look.