Cannabis Super Cropping: How, When, And Why To Do It
Cannabis growers are always on the lookout for ways to improve their yields. Super cropping, when performed properly, not only drives up a plant’s production potential, but can also boost its resin production and potency.
Super cropping is an advanced cannabis training technique that can deliver really impressive yields. That said, it can be daunting for growers who have never tried it before, and can potentially result in disaster if not done correctly. Broken branches not only drive down yields, but also increase the risk of disease in your garden.
Luckily, with the right tips and a bit of patience, even inexperienced growers can reap the rewards of super cropping their cannabis plants. In this article, we’ll walk you through what super cropping is, why and when to do it, and how it works.
WHY SUPER CROP CANNABIS?
Super cropping is a high-stress training technique that involves pinching and bending branches to damage the inner fibers while leaving the outer lining intact.
While it might seem counterintuitive, this kind of stress actually benefits your plants, encouraging more vigorous vegetative growth and better bud development. In response to predators and other forms of stress, female plants naturally produce cannabinoid and terpene-rich trichomes. Thus, the damage you inflict when super cropping is believed to trigger the plant’s defence mechanisms, causing it to take up more nutrients, fuelling its growth.
On a secondary level, super cropping is a way to manipulate how your plants grow. After they’ve just been cropped, your plant’s branches will seem weak and flimsy; you can take advantage of this and tie them down (similar to how you would when using LST) to teach the plant to grow in a particular direction.
As they recover, your plants will form thick, hard knots at the crop points. During flowering, these knots will help support the weight of your plant’s buds, and the overall structure of the plant itself.
WHAT YOU NEED TO SUPER CROP
- Your fingers
- String or zip ties to tie down branches and hold them in place
- Garden stakes/dowels
- Duct tape
WHEN TO SUPER CROP
If you’re a rookie grower, we recommend super cropping your plants just once during the late vegetative stage, ideally 3–7 days before you flip them over to flowering. This will give them time to recover from the stress of cropping before they start focusing their energy on developing buds.
Remember to never super crop plants dealing with pest infestations, nutrient deficiencies, or any other type of negative stress. Super cropping is a very stressful technique, and your plants need to be extremely healthy to be able to cope with it.
If you have some experience with this technique, we recommend super cropping a second time within the first two weeks of flower. This is because plants tend to exhibit a final period of explosive growth at the beginning of bloom (known as “stretching”). After that, let your plants recover and feed/water them as usual. You should notice an increase in bud sites along the cropped branches.
As you become more familiar with super cropping, feel free to experiment more with this technique. You can super crop in different ways, and at different times, during your plant’s life cycle. Some growers find super cropping early on in the vegetative stage helps spark rapid growth and bigger, more structurally sound plants.
If you’re super cropping to help your plants better support their buds, we recommend doing so as soon as they grow their third node. Together with a bit of LST, you’ll end up with big, strong plants come flowering that are ready to support even the densest of flowers.
On the other hand, you can use super cropping in the late vegetative and early flowering phases if you want to even out your canopy and boost resin production for a bigger, more aromatic, and ultra-potent harvest.
HOW TO SUPER CROP YOUR CANNABIS PLANTS
Super cropping freaks out a lot of rookie growers, and for somewhat good reason; it takes experience and skill to perform this technique, and a simple mistake could seriously stunt a plant’s growth. Luckily, with the right knowledge, you can reap the rewards of this technique on your next grow.
- Determine which branches to crop. We recommend cropping branches that are mature, but not old or woody. Any branches that are notably taller than others are a good place to start, as super cropping will lower them to create a more even canopy.
- Start by cropping the bottom of a branch. You want to squeeze it gently between your thumb, fore, and index fingers while simultaneously bending it slightly in the direction you want it to grow. The goal is to crush the core of the branch so you can manipulate it to your needs. Remember to be gentle; it can help to roll the branch between your fingers for several seconds to make it more pliable, then gently bend it in the desired direction.
- Work your way up the branch, leaving a few centimetres between each crop. We don’t recommend cropping anything above 2–3 nodes from the tip.
- Once your branch has been cropped and is leaning in the direction you want it to, it’s time to tie it down at each crop site using string or zip ties.
Remember, the key to super cropping is finding that sweet spot where the inside of the branch feels soft and malleable while the outside remains completely intact. After super cropping, your branches/plant should lean more to one side, and the tips should be bent at roughly 90°. If you’re a rookie, it might take some trial and error to get this right.
HOW TO FIX BROKEN BRANCHES
If you’re fairly inexperienced, you’re likely to break a branch (or a few) when first attempting to super crop your plant. If this happens, don’t freak; while it’s certainly a bummer, you may be able to rectify the situation.
Tape around the tear or snap with duct tape to create a sort of makeshift bandage. If need be, support the branch by tying it to another nearby branch or to a garden stake. You should be able to remove the bandage tape within a week.
As your plant heals, it will grow big knots in all the spots you bent/snapped (including those you broke). This is completely normal (and beneficial!).
SUPER CROPPING, MAIN-LINING, AND LST: A WINNING COMBINATION
For even bigger yields, use super cropping together with other techniques like main-lining and LST. The former involves creating a “manifold”, which essentially means topping plants to give rise to two main stems from a single node. The latter involves bending the resulting stems to grow parallel to the ground, increasing light penetration and controlling vegetative growth in the process. By combining all of these techniques, advanced growers can make the most of their space and resources to develop truly spectacular results from impressive, albeit strange-looking, cannabis plants.
THE END RESULT: BIGGER, BETTER YIELDS
Super cropping, while daunting, is a great high-stress technique that can have a massive impact on the size and quality of your yield (as long as you know what you’re doing). Use this article as a guide during your next grow, and see the benefits of super cropping for yourself!
Super cropping is a cannabis training technique that can deliver huge yields. In this article, we'll teach you everything you need to know about super cropping.
Super Cropping Marijuana: Simple Secret to Bigger Yields
Table of Contents
What is Super Cropping?
Super cropping is the name for a High-Stress Training (HST) technique when you stress the plant by slightly hurting it in a planned way.
As a result, the plant will grow bushier, with more buds, and possibly even higher THC levels! This is the plant’s natural response to protect herself in the wild, in case things go wrong. As the grower, you can take advantage of this technique to get bigger yields and more potent buds!
Why Does Super Cropping Work So Well?
Cannabis is the only known plant that naturally creates THC (which, along with CBD and other cannabinoids, make these plants of particular interest to humans).
THC is the principal ‘thing’ in the cannabis plant that causes the plant’s well-loved psychoactive effects. THC is produced mostly in the flowers of the female cannabis plants.
But cannabinoid-like substances are abundant in almost all plants and animals, including humans. In fact, humans and mammals naturally have a ton of receptors for cannabinoids throughout our brain and bodies.
If you’ve ever slept, eaten, forgotten, or relaxed, then you’ve used your Endocannabinoid system (yay for being a mammal!) and natural cannabinoids.
Ok, so why does the cannabis plant produce THC, which causes major psychotropic effects?
Did you know that THC is produced by the marijuana plant for protection?
Obviously, it’s not doing a great job protecting the plants from humans! 🙂 (Or maybe it is good for them since we keep cultivating these plants…)
In the wild, deer and many other creatures might eat marijuana flowers which would prevent the plants from making seeds and reproducing.
Yet, as far as we can tell, most animals won’t strip a whole marijuana plant of ALL her buds. Either they think cannabinoids taste terrible, or maybe they hate the effects. Therefore we believe the plants use THC as a way to deter predators.
Maybe the animals just forget what they’re doing and wander off…
Because these plants use THC to protect against predators, when marijuana plants are stressed, they’ll put their bud and cannabinoid production into overdrive as a last ditch effort to protect themselves.
Why is that all important?
For a marijuana plant, creating the prized cannabinoid-laden buds (which are used to make seeds) is their life’s work.
As a cannabis grower, it’s your job to understand what causes cannabis plants to produce the biggest, most potent buds possible.
So I’m going to let you in on a big secret to getting the biggest, best buds when growing marijuana…
While marijuana growers want to make sure that these plants survive until harvest, keeping them as absolutely healthy as possible in a 100% perfect environment without any special techniques won’t get you the best results.
Instead, the best buds are produced when you learn how to stress the plants in just the right way to increase yields and cannabinoid production.
Which brings me to super cropping, one of the easiest, most effective ways to stress your marijuana plant for better harvests.
This remarkably simple technique will dramatically increase your yields, and all it takes is your fingers, duct tape, a bit of growing experience and the knowledge of what to do. It’s based on the idea we just discussed of stressing the plant so it goes crazy with bud production.
What You Need to Super Crop Marijuana:
- Your fingers
- A bit of growing experience
- Something to tie down branches in place – plant twisty ties and regular zip ties both work great, or you can get creative! (just avoid anything “sharp” like string which can start to cut into your plant’s “skin” over time)
- Duct tape (if you make a mistake)
- The knowledge of what to do (jump to super crop tutorial)
How to Super Crop Marijuana
First, a video example of an experienced grower supercropping his cannabis plants, and below I’ll go through each step along with another video to make it as clear as possible for you 🙂
STEP ONE: Choose the branches you would like to super-crop.
Super-cropping is best done during the vegetative stage, once the plant has grown many healthy branches and is growing vigorously, but before it is full into the flowering stage.
- For super-cropping, you want to choose parts of the plant that are old, but still pliable (sometimes called ‘bendy’). The parts you use this technique on should still be green, and not wood-like the bottom of the main stalk.
- If your plant has multiple colas, you should super-crop the same location on multiple colas. When there’s only one main cola, you supercrop the pliable greener growth towards the top.
- Basically, you’re trying to create a flat canopy at the top, without any stems sticking up taller than the rest.
STEP TWO: Squeeze and bend branches
The idea is to damage the inner tissue of the plant without causing damage to the outside ‘skin.’ This makes the stem super pliable so it can easily be bent in the direction that you would like for it to grow.
- Grab the branch and squeeze with firm pressure between your thumb and forefinger, as if you’re trying to crush the stem where you want it to bend. This helps “loosen” the joint you are about to make.
- Wiggle the stem between your fingers slowly back and forth for 10+ seconds while maintaining pressure, to loosen it up where you want it to bend.
- Continue wiggling until it feels like the inside of the stem has softened. The stem should feel pliable and loose at the joint you just made.
- Slowly and gently bend over stem towards the direction you want, and secure in place.
This video demonstrates a grower squeezing the stem, then bending it over. This was a very young and flexible stem. For stiffer stems, you may need to wiggle back and forth for up to 60 seconds while squeezing/crushing the stem between your fingers, before it “loosens up” enough to bend without breaking the skin. Never force it! If it feels like it’s going to snap it probably will!
Some growers just grab each branch and snap them quickly, but doing this makes it more likely you’ll snap the outside tissue and need tape.
With that being said, cannabis plants are surprisingly resilient. If you don’t bend the super-crop site hard enough, it will just bounce back to where it was in a few hours. You still may need to secure the stem down to prevent it from growing back up!
You know you’ve succeeded when the plant now appears somewhat ‘broken’ and now rests at a 90-degree angle where you bent it, and the branch stays down.
This illustration shows a perfect example of a super crop, one that doesn’t even need tape. Use tape if you go a little overboard.
In the best case scenario, the stem remains at a permanent 90° angle, while the outside tissue stays intact. At this point you need to secure the stem back down or it will come up again injust a day or two.
But no matter how you super crop, this process can cause your plant to grow a whole bunch of new colas and leaves. A plant doesn’t want to put all its effort into a branch that (as far as your plant is concerned) has probably just been attacked by animals!
STEP THREE: Fixing any tears in the outside stem & tying down
In the best case scenario, you don’t even need tape, because the outside of the plant is still whole.
- If you’ve gone a bit overboard, you may need to use duct tape (or another strong tape) to reinforce the plant so it can heal properly, especially if you can see an open slit or crack on the outside of the stem.
- If there was no cracking (yay!) then you only need to secure down your stem (or it will flip right back up in a day or two). Plant twisty ties or regular zip ties both work great!
- Regardless, the place that you originally bent will grow a big ‘knot’ almost like a permanent band-aid, which can transport more water, nutrients, and other good stuff compared to before.
STEP FOUR: Removing ‘bandage’ tape
- Wait about one week before removing any tape. It’s normal for the tissues to have discoloration at the healing sites.
- If the site is still grey and appears totally wounded, just put the tape back on until it has grown her protective ‘knuckle’.
Until then, the plant will be able to transport nutrients and maintain all normal processes as long as it has the tape as reinforcement.
If plant tries to straighten any branches, just tie them down (using Low-Stress Training techniques). Stems will easily give in to your will after being super cropped.
FINAL RESULT: More buds, more branches, and a shorter, more controlled and bushy plant. Perfect for closet, stealth grows.
Unlike topping or extensively plucking leaves, super cropping does not dramatically slow down the growth of the plant (though you should expect to give her a little time to recover), while giving you many of the same benefits of these other High-Stress Training techniques.
Super cropping is easy, free, and surprisingly effective at getting your current grow room to produce bigger yields in the exact same setup. Find out exactly what to do right here!