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Super Cropping

Super Cropping

With over a decade and half experience in growing this wonderful herb, I have come across many techniques through books, growers and videos about how to induce bigger plants and fatter fruits. The one technique I have used ever since I was a youngster growing Dutch bag seed from my father's stash in the 1990's, was Super Cropping.

With over a decade and half experience in growing this wonderful herb, I have come across many techniques through books, growers and videos about how to induce bigger plants and fatter fruits. The one technique I have used ever since I was a youngster growing Dutch bag seed from my father's stash in the 1990's, was Super Cropping.

Super cropping is considered the opposite of LST which is low stress technique. The beauty of the LST is that is does not cause the plant to suffer any shock or cause a great deal of stress. When the tip of the plant is bent downwards, the plant naturally sends an array of various hormones through the plant. These hormones send signals to the remaining shoots that they need to become the new main shoots..until the main shoot grows back to its normal height and finds itself upright again. This is the basis of how LST works. Super cropping however is a way of physically snapping the stem almost like a broken arm in a cast effect producing a ' super ' plant. The plants then depend heavily of natural growth hormones.

There is a lot more that actually goes on inside the plant during super cropping and I shall break this down now into the 5 general classes of hormones found within the plant kingdom. These 5 groups of hormones will give you a good insight into the role of each one, how the plant depends on them at the exact times in order to repair and grow to the best of its natural ability.

5 General Hormones Classes and what they do:

1. Auxins:
This is the most commonly known hormone. It is the acid ' Indole-3-Acetic Acid ( IAA ) and is produced in shoot tips, seedlings and developing flower sets. When the top of a plant is removed known as ' topping ' the plant will produce Auxins to repair the plant tissue that has been removed. At the same time this hormone is sent downwards from the tips of the plant which inhibits lateral bud growth. This is how the plant produces bushy stocky plants. Auxins are also responsible for producing adventitious roots from cuttings. It also has a role of controlling the aging and dormancy of seeds. So it a good idea to start seedlings off in a mild solution of seaweed or some type of ' thrive ' supplement. It is also handy to know that Auxins will promote more fruit sets if it senses Auxins from seeds being grown within the plant. So even though you had a seeded crop..on one hand the plant would have responded by swelling up that bit more.

2. Cytokinins:
This hormone most commonly found in seaweed plays a big part in the entire development of the plant. It is responsible for active cell division and promotes lateral bud development. Cytokinins work together with Auxins to such a degree that the following observations have been made.
High levels + Low Auxin = Grow Shoots
Low Levels + High Auxin = Grow Roots

3. Gibberellins:
There are over 75+ groups of Gibberellins that have been discovered within plants. They are so common that they are named and numbered as GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4..and so on. They are abundant in young shoots and seedlings. Stem elongation is partly determined by Gibberellins. You may have heard of Gibberellic Acid before, the one that is often used is GA3. This also aids in germination rates especially with older seeds that are more stern to be cracked. Experiments on dwarf plants that were sprayed with Gibberrellic Acid actually grew to normal plant size whilst normal plants that were sprayed became huge.

4. Ethylene:
We most commonly know Ethylene as Ethanol. The Hydro Carbo gas which is produced from amino acids when any stress occurs. Ripening occurs when Ethanol is available. The roots actually produce quite large amounts just before flowering, to allow blooming to commence as strongly as possible. Have you ever heard about the old farmer technique of pushing a small fishing knife through the stem before harvest and leaving it in like a stab wound victim?

For those who are familiar and the idea of piercing the stem with a knife is out of character for them..then here is the method to this madness. It is used as a ripening technique. As severe as it may seem.. It is used across the world in many farming and agriculture styles. Mexican farmers will actually pierce the stem then add a piece of wood through it. They believe it adds flavour and produces the better fruits.

5. Abscisic Acid ( ABA )
Responsible for the close of stomata during water loss or stress, Abscisic Acid will stop the absorption of CO2 and the uptake of available nutrients accordingly..so a quick release hormone that aids in seed dormancy and life span.

Super Cropping
Now that you understands how these hormones are active within the plant, we can now look at super cropping.
I really like to super crop as it has many benefits. A super cropped plant will become bushier, stronger, have woody lumpy stems and wider shoots for greater transport. Also they yield alot more in my opinion.



The Techniques:
The plan is to break the inside of the stem and force it to build a new cell wall which shall be repaired through an abundance of the hormones listed above. The break will repair like a knuckle on a finger. You will see the stem grow almost twice the size in the part that was broken. The benefits of this break mean a continuation of hormone and a greater capacity of the plants needs become more available through the new larger stem walls. There are different ways to snap the stem. One way and the easiest is to pop the stem with finger and thumb at the each point up to the 3rd internode. You can pop once or up to 3 times or more in one hit as Kyle Kushman likes to do. Another way is during LST or scrog, when you have the shoots tied or pinned down, is to break and snap the stems. These can be pinned down and remain fixed flat. The knuckle will form quickly and an array of strong shoots will emerge. In order to control canopy height, super cropping is very effective at fixing the top part of the shoot at a horizontal angle. The end result will be almost like a number seven and the top of the shoot will continue to grow up right as normal.

This is very useful when you are in growing in a sea of green or scrog scenario and wish to maintain an even canopy height. It is advised to perhaps tie down with mild force the stem, after it has been bent and snapped. Avoid touching and leave to set. Even if you over do it and end up with a thread holding the stem together, you can hang the break over the strongest part and allow to set. These types of breaks or freak accidents do happen..just as in nature so do not be too disheartened. All can be mended.

My personal favourite technique which I have developed..is to hold the main stem at the highest point when the stem is around 1cm wide. Then I twist the stem around and squeeze till I hear the inside break and make a popping sound. I make sure I keep the twist tight and firmly move the plant in between the highest fan leaves till it sets. I find doing this makes the stem literally twist and set creating one long break as appose to one part of the stem. I then foliar spray just to add weight from the water and nutrient mix to the leaves. After the plant sends repair hormones everywhere it can, you will see it does not really stop doing so, even after the new knuckle has formed.You will also note that the stem grows lumpy and you will see stretch marks around the skin and stem. I like to do my super cropping during veg. Try and avoid snapping branches during flowering as this much stress can cause problems.

Aslong as you do not snap too excessively, you should notice within a week the plant explode and really get ready for a bumper harvest. Have a play with snapping and see how certain strains react..and remember those natural hormones are hard at work so let nature do the rest! “

Summary:
In effect, you are purposely releasing all these hormones to the plant, at the snap of a stem. It is one of the best ways to really push your plants limit and also a great way to imitate a falling branch in nature or an animal walking through a patch of vegging cannabis plants. I first got introduced to super cropping when a branch fell from an old tree into a corner I was growing in. To my devastation.. It was one of the greatest lessons I have ever learnt..and that is nature will always show us the way! “
Likes: Wylde Bobb
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