The Scrog Method
So, you want to tackle a scrog do ya? Excellent choice! Scrog or SCREEN OF GREEN is one of the most productive and easiest ways to grow indoors. Now lets not get this confused with the Sea of green method. SOG involves no training nor does it have one item a scrog always has. A screen. Scrog has been around for many years. Before HID's were introduces many used floro's with this method with good success.
Now lets talk about the scrog for a little bit here. What is a scrog? What is screen of green? Well, it is just that. A screen is the main character of scrog. It is usually made of wire or something sturdy enough to hold back the growing canopy. This wire should have some holes in it about 2x2inches in size so that the plant mater can easily grow up through the wire and be supported by it. The wire is secured between the grow medium and the lamp at a distance determined by the size of your lamp. We will get into that later. The plants grow through the screen about 3-4 inches and then are pulled back under and spread out where YOU want them to grow. Its as easy as that folks. Its a great way to grow. Let me put it this way. I have tried untrained methods like SOG and have never come close to the yeild I get with a scrog. Okay, sounds easy right? So, what are you waiting for?
This is the hard part. Getting started. Damned if it ain't for me man. I spend hours thinkin of shit before I do it. lol Anyway, this isnt rocket science. If you've already got an area where you established plants growing you are halfway there.
Remember at least 2x2inch squares. You can use chicken wire as well or even some tightly strug rope but I would suggest wire. You need something strong to support the buds and hold back the canopy growth. The screen needs to be cut to size. The size of the screen is determined by the size of your lamp. Remember that to get the good bud formation you want from 50 watts per square foot so your screen size should not exceed that. Check the examples below.
150hps screen size 1.75ft x 1.75ft
250hps screen size 2.25ft x 2.25ft
400hps screen size 2.91ft x 2.75ft
600hps screen size 3.45ft x 3.45ft
1000hps screen size 4.4ft x 4.5ft
If your screen exceeds the 50wpsf thing alittle. Thats perfectly okay. Just dont overdoit. lol Now once you've determined the size of your screen and cut it to size. Situate it over your grow area and secure it into place. Just a few screws will hold it in place. Your mounting a screen. Not a twenty pound wall painting. lol.....Wait just a minute! You need to figure out where to set the screen. First, a few questions to ask. Is your lamp air cooled and what size is your lamp? These two questions determine how close you can get to your canopy. This is very important stuff. The closer you get the better off you are. If you do not have air cooled lamps then a simple fan blowing between the canopy and the the lamp should do the trick. Okay, now lets set that screen. Here's some examples of screen settings for hps's. These are not exact settings. They are just a baseline idea. If you can get your lamp closer. Good for you. If you can't. Thats okay too. Dont worry. If you've got the right watts per footage they will produce.
150hps 10-12 inches
250hps 12-15 inches
400hps 16-20 inches
How Many Will I Need Under The Screen? Usually the rule is one plant per square foot of screen. I go with as few plants as I can whenever possible. One side of my flower chamber is almost 3x3ft. Thats almost 9 sqft. I only have 6 plants under there and the screens are pretty full. So, the rule does not always need to be followed. Having less plants can be a good thing if they happen to discover your illegal activity..lol.....Remember with fewer plants you will have to veg a bit longer but be patient and hang in there. Its well worth the wait.
Spacing Lets talk about the spacing between the plant medium and the screen. This space will need to be large enough to allow you room to manipulate your plants during the training phase. I usually use around 8 inches. Some people use more/less. Eight seems to be just enough for me but when working in a 3x3ft space it is still a tight space for a big guy. lol.....
What Is The Best Strain To Grow In A Scrog? Now lets talk about your plants alittle bit. What kind should you be growing in a scrog you ask? Hmmmmm. Well, any kind your heart desires my friend. That's right. Most any plant strain can be grown without much difficulty using a scrog. The secret is in the screen. Some strains require more training than others but that is the only difference. Heavy yeild indica's are excellent scrog candidates but the unruley sativa can really shine with proper training and timing.
Hydro or Soil?
So, how are you going to do this scrog? Is it going to bubble, flow or just sit there? Here's some things you may consider before your plants get tangled up in the screen.
Hydro: No real problem here. I prefer to scrog with a bubbler system over soil anyday. The problem lies in the flush. I explain below.
Soil: Soil grows and scrogs are a wonderful thing. Orgainc buds rule. One problem I ran into when scroging with soil was the flushing of the medium at the end of the grow. Well, with the plants tangled in the screen. One can not just transport to the sink and flush. My soil buckets drain into catch pans. Then I have to drain the catch pans. Takes a while but it works. Hydro is much easier though.
Okay man, you just did something that will almost double your yeild in the next sixty days. So, how do you feel about that? The screen is set. Now its time to move on to other things. Lets take a look at whats going to happen when these babies start to grow through the screen.
Managing the Scrog Grow
You have done some things that are a little out of the ordinary from your usual grow regiem. Things look a little different. A wire screen has invaded your grow space and it looks weird in there. Maybe you even have a few inches growth through the screen. What in the fuck am I gonna do now? lol.......Be cool man. Here's where the real fun begins and were the beauty of scrog growing starts.
Vegging: Here is where alot of people make mistakes. They get in a fired up hurry and get confused somehow. Flip their shit over to 12/12 way to soon and wonder why their screen never filled up. At that point the screen is nothing more than a support system for the plant. Normally one would veg a plant till the screen is 70-80 percent full before switching over to the flowering cycle. Having knowlege of how much your strain stretches is helpful when determining when to switch to flowering. For example: If one had a very stretchy sativa. You would want to start flowering her with much less of the screen filled. Just the opposite for a nice stunted indica. Timing has alot to do with scrog. We go over that soon.
Pulling It Back Through: Okay, so you've got some growth through the screen. Should have about 3-4 inches aye? Don't be a pussy here. lol....... If it breaks. I'll explain what to do later. Reach under the screen and pull that branch back under the screen and place it where you want it to be. Even if it takes tying it in place with the plastic twisty ties. Now I could really get technical and shit and start with the be sure there is an internode in each hole of the screen but it really doesnt matter man. Just get the growth under the screen first. In the next few weeks. You will see were to guide the new growth to best suit your needs.
Training: This can seem brutal to some. lol........ Scrog is not natural growth for the cannabis plant. I am sure of that. It must stress the shit out of them the whole cycle of life. Imagine taking a plant that usually grows anywhere from 3-12 feet and making it grow in a space no larger than 2 foot. Training begings in the pulling it back through section. Try to situate your main branches towards the barest parts of your screen. They will branch out the most and usually be the largest bud in the bunch. Use some kind of uniformity to your laying out of the branches. Crisscross/ zigzag whatever you use. Remember theres are going to be alot more branching when flowering kicks in high gear. So allow some room for that as well. Lesser buds that are now exposed to more light are then encouraged to grow upwards toward the screen through some leaf triming. An often debated subject but one I feel that is usefull in the scrog method.
Leaf Trimming: Now we need to chat about a touchy subject. Leaf triming. Like I said above. Scrog aint natural for cannabis. At least I dont think it is. Crammed in such a small area with all those leaves. Well, somethings gotta give and its not going to be bud. lol......Here's my rule on trimming. If the leaf is in the way of light for a bud site. Then it needs to be removed. Sometimes I tuck the leaf instead of removing it but most of the time I remove it. Now, when do I do this? Usually when I do a training session. Right afterwards. This trims away leaves and allows the new sites to get light. You will be surprised at how fast they will respond. Use good judgement when trimming. To much is not a good thing here.
Trimming continues into flowering ending during the later stages of flowering. I have found it not to be harmful at all to remove large fan leaves from buds during flowering. If they are blocking light to other bud sites near by. Its all about light penetration and bud sites in a scrog.
Timing: Timing is critical when it comes to a scrog grow. You must be paying attention to the progress of your grow in order to know when to induce flowering. Knowing what strain you are dealing with and what the growing characteristices of the plant are is very helpful when it comes to timing. I cant express the importance of having a good clone base for this purpose. As mentioned above if you induce flowering to early. You will have alot less of a yield. However, if one was to wait to long. The same can happen as well. An overcrowed canopy is just as much a mess. An out of control scrog is just that. A mess. Not something you want to deal with. Remember, the plants you start to flower are probably going to double in size. Stand back and get a visual picture of that in your head. Ask yourself some questions. If I start flowering now. Can I visualize how big they will get? Do I have enough veggative growth to start flowering? Do I have to much? Is it time? Time to start flowering?
Okay, so you've decided to start. Bravo! You are going to be amazed at the buds that come out of this grow. lol....... So, you have turned back the timer to 12/12 and it has been 4 days now. The growth from the stretch is starting to show. You get in there and pull all those new shoots back under your screen and put them where you want them to be. A few more days pass. More growth. Now the decision part comes into play. Just how far over the screen do you want your buds to be? If you stop training them early in the stretch. They will grow alittle above the screen (maybe 3-6inches depending on the strian). If you continue trianing them until they start to top out. They will grow only alittle more and most of the bud will form right in the screen. This technique is great for those stetchy sativa's. However when doing this method keep an eye out for mold and try to have as much air flow between the buds as possible. I have done it both ways and they are both awsome. It may take you a grow or two to get the timing down to where you want it but once you do. I am sure you will be pleased with the results.
Clones/Seed Grows: Here's an interesting topic that is sure to generate a few questions. I suggest clones for scrog growing over seed anyday of the year. Why? With clones you usually already know the characteristics of the plant and how it will perform. With seed its usually a guessing game as to which pheno your going to get unless they are true F1 seed. Plus with seed you dont know the sex yet. Ever tried untangling a male from a screen? Not something I would suggest doing. lol......Anyways, if you grow from seed. Be sure you have cloned the lot and know who your girls are first before going under the screen. This will save you alot of hassle later on.
Damage Control: If you move branches around and bend'em. Eventually somethings gonna give. Dont freakout. Its not the end of the world man.....lol... Cannabis is an amazing plant that can recover from alot of damage naturally without help from humans but in this case ya want to help if ya can. First aid for the injured cannabis plant is simple as pie man. Just support her wound and leave her alone. She will take care of it on her own. Unless you break her completely in half she can be saved usually. You can splint the wound or support it with some heavy gauge wire around the stem. If the break is not that bad and the branch can somewhat support itself. Leave it alone. In all cases. A knot will form at the break and most times an explosion of growth will happen above the damaged area. At times even new growth sometimes sprouts from the knuckle formed.
Flowering Cycle: Once a few trimmings are done and all is set in place flowering in a scrog is pretty uneventful. lol......Good time to start thinning out your undergrowth. I take clones around 20 days 12/12. If all that I need root. I clean out the undergrowth around day 35 12/12. Now if I need anymore clones. I can tak'em at this time. All the rest. Its butter makin time........Oh yeah.......churn dat budda........talk about a bonus for all your hard work.
Undergrowth: I mentioned it above but thought I should mention it again. The undergrowth is not that big of an issue here. Its an area that should be kept clear of dead leaves and you should also ensure that proper ventilation can get through the canopy via the undergrowth. If it cant. Then thin out some growth. This is an area that is dim and often humid. An open invitation for not so good things to come visiting aye? Some people have mentioned putting a light down there. Why? There's no need for a light down there. There are no buds to be harvested there. Just stems that support the canopy. If one were to put a light there they would just be adding to the congestion of leaves already growing. Not good. It is a good idea to clear out your undergrowth as your scrog takes shape and you have taken the clones that you need for the next grow. Trim all remaining sprouts left on the stems and any other undergrowth. Now lets not get to crazy here. Leave a little growth. Use some common sense here. Take out the sites you know are not going to make it to maturity. This will help the plant direct more energy towards the larger buds instead of wasting energy on the smaller ones.
Ventilation: Here's an issue that can not be overlooked. Once a scrog has been established it is a leafy sight to behold. Air circulation becomes critical as the buds begin to form and things start to get packed in the box. 24hr air movement is suggested 7 days a week. Better safe than sorry. Mold sucks.
Even Canopy: Maybe I should not put it in those words. Your canopy does not have to be perfectly even. Just close. The idea behind this is even light distribution. We are looking for a field of buds here not a forest like in SOG. If a dominate bud is allowed to overtake the canopy. It is defeating the purpose of the scrog. Tame that bitch. Bring her down to size with the rest. You want a somewhat even field of buds to deal with. Not a forest of untamed trees. The even canopy is easy to accomplish if you have been following the steps outlined above.
TrickyTip: Occasionally you will have a stretcher that decides that she wants more light than the rest of her friends. This often happens when the branches are competing for light. If one gets out of hand there is a simple solution to taming her back into the fold of the others and possibly giving her a burst of growth. Reach under the screen and find her stem. Half way up her stem start to pull her back through the canopy till she is even with the rest. Now where she is bent. Crush her at the bend with your fingers. Dont smash it in half. Just crush the stem so as it would not be able to support itself if it were to stand alone. As mentioned above. It will heal with vigor and you have solved your canopy problem.
The Beautiful and Productive SCROG
I cant express the joy I get from growing with this wonderful method. Through the years I have tried many ways but have never found a more productive growing method. I hope by passing on this information. Others will be more motivated to start their own scrog grow. If done correctly. I can almost gaurentee you will get more yield using the scrog than using the method you use right now. Considering the cost of electricity today. Getting the most out of your grow is the best way to go in my book. Good luck in all your goals and dreams. Give scrog a try. I doubt you will be disappointed. Later Greenmonster714