Cannabis stretching is the sudden upward surge of height that plants can experience during their growth. This phenomenon can be caused by many factors, such as environmental stress or genetics, or a combination of these two elements. When it happens too quickly, it can be highly detrimental, as the plant may not get enough time to adjust to its new size and gain necessary nutrients.
Not only does this affect overall yields but it can also hinder any chances for a successful harvest. However, if managed correctly and at the right times during the plant’s life cycle, stretching can actually promote healthy growth and strengthen your cannabis plants.
By understanding when plants engage in stretches that are beneficial or harmful and how to manage them effectively, growers will be better prepared for any issues that arise along the way.
Why Do Cannabis Plants Stretch?
Accurately determining the cause of a cannabis plant’s stretching is crucial, as an incorrect diagnosis could lead to further problems. Various factors contribute to a cannabis plant’s tendency to stretch, and identifying the specific cause is important.
Growth Stage and Genetics
During the pre-flowering stage, cannabis plants often demonstrate sudden and dramatic stem growth. This growth is a response to environmental stress such as light and temperature, but genetics are equally responsible.
Different strains will respond differently according to their genetic makeup – sativas tend to be characterized by greater height and wider internodal spacing, while indicas grow smaller and more compact with buds close together. With this knowledge in hand, growers can predict what kind of growth they should expect from their plants prior to flowering.
When considering which strain of cannabis is right for you, considering how it will respond during the pre-flowering stage is important. If you’re looking for larger yields or are limited in space, an indica variety can be preferable. However, if you want bigger colas or have plenty of room to spare then a sativa strain may be a better option since it is likely to stretch significantly during this growth period.
Knowing the genetics of your particular plant will enable you to create a better environment in order to get the desired results from your crop.
Light exposure can significantly influence the growth pattern of a cannabis plant. When grown in nature, these plants move through the so-called vegetative stage from when they first germinate until they reach flowering maturity.
During this time, light exposure is critical for their development and if insufficient light is perceived, then plants will stretch out accordingly in an attempt to reach it. This phenomenon is known as etiolation and usually occurs during the seedling and early vegetative stages.
Indoors, growers must pay close attention to the lighting given to the cannabis plants in order to ensure that they get enough light energy needed for proper growth and development. If there’s too little or weak light exposure, again it triggers the etiolation response within their plant and this can result in severely thinned-out stalks that are extremely fragile due to lack of cell wall thickness – potentially leading to total crop loss.
Extreme temperatures can have significant effects on plants, and understanding how to monitor and adjust the amount of heat in a given area is important for optimal growth. When temperatures exceed 29°C (for an extended period of time), many plants will start to stretch, meaning that their stems and leaves increase in size.
This stretching is a defense mechanism by which the plants attempt to increase their surface area, allowing for more efficient transpiration. Transpiration is essentially sweating for plants; when stomata (pores) on the foliage open, water evaporates out of them, pulling new water up from soil into the plant’s vascular system.
Not only does this help keep the foliage hydrated, but it also helps cool the plant down a bit as water is lost through transpiration.
Other Environmental Stressors
When it comes to looking at other environmental stressors that can lead to stretching in cannabis plants, one of the most important factors to consider is overcrowding. If a given space contains too many plants for the size and shape of the growing area then some of them may not have enough room to spread out laterally.
This could result in a dramatic upward growth pattern instead, as the plant attempts to compensate for its lack of space. It’s worth noting that if these plants were allowed more space and grew alongside each other, then they would likely end up shading one another from the light cycle and increasing humidity levels due to their physical proximity.
To illustrate this point further, look no further than any forest or woodland you can find—each tree takes its own well-defined space amongst its neighboring trees without blocking out each other’s light or allowing too much moisture build up.
When Do Cannabis Plants Stretch?
The dreaded flowering stretch is a key part of the cannabis growth process that can be a shock to any novice cannabis grower. This happens when plants unexpectedly shoot up in size overnight, with some varieties skyrocketing 15-25%! It’s vital to remember that this sudden surge of growth causes no damage or imbalance and can actually help yield more buds.
The flowering stretch usually occurs during the early flowering period – usually after 4 weeks of dark periods – amid increasing levels of light exposure and temperatures over 25C. Generally from this evolutionary hard-wiring stimulated by summer days, cannabis plants use this energy to expand both horizontally and vertically as they try to capture more light for photosynthesis.
How Much Do Cannabis Plants Stretch During Flowering?
When cannabis plants enter the flowering stage, their stretch is perfectly natural. Typically, plants will double in height in a matter of days – but you shouldn’t worry too much if this happens. What it’s important to look out for is when the stretching stops – if they continue to stretch for many days, or even past double their height, then there might be an environmental issue involved that you need to sort out.
Generally speaking, the flowering stretch usually lasts for around two weeks before the plant focuses its energy on budding production as opposed to linear growth. During this period it’s common to see plants become rather tall; upwards of five feet in some cases.
The vertical progression may slow at various points during this time – however, stretching should not be confused with stunting – which occurs due to insufficient light or nutrition levels. To ensure proper rapid growth and bud development during flowering, make sure your plants have access to enough light and proper nourishment at all times.
Tips to Control Cannabis Stretching
With an understanding of the reasons behind a cannabis plant’s stretching, we can now explore methods to minimize it. Reducing stretching can bring numerous advantages, such as conserving space in a grow room or ensuring the well-being of your plants.
Strain choice is an essential component of any successful growth. Different cultivars have different behaviors, and being mindful of this can help you to achieve the yields and quality of bud which you desire.
Firstly, indica and indica-dominant strains are better choices if you have limited grow space, as they tend to stay relatively short and bushy throughout their growth cycle. These types of strains do stretch some during flowering but are considerably less prone to lanky growth like sativas. This helps to keep the plant shorter than usual while still producing good yields of dense buds.
When selecting a strain, the other factor to consider is autoflowering varieties. Although these strains tend to yield smaller than photoperiodic plants, they still offer excellent results in terms of quality, especially with careful choice in strain selection. Moreover, autoflowers experience virtually no stretching beyond regular growth.
Keep the Vegetative Stage Short
The vegetative stage of growth is an important part of the flowering process, as it sets the stage for a successful outcome. By keeping this stage short, you can reduce the amount of height growth that your plants experience before they enter flowering.
This reduces the stretch of your plants and minimizes the amount of time and energy required to bring them back down to their preferred size. This is especially useful for growers with tighter spaces who don’t want their cannabis plants to get too big once in bloom.
Shorter vegetative growth also means smaller final heights for each plant. This can be beneficial for those who need small, reasonably sized yields but don’t have enough space to accommodate larger growers.
However, this should be balanced with other factors like flowering time, as for some plants, a long vegging period is actually beneficial and will lead to larger yields by increasing flowering time without stretching beyond what is necessary.
By utilizing appropriate training techniques, it is possible to control plant growth and potentially increase the overall yield. When applied correctly, these methods can have a positive impact on your crop.
Low-stress training (LST) is an important technique for many indoor growers, as it helps maximize the exposure of their plants to light. This is done by tying the stems down with string or wire, forcing the plant stretches to grow horizontally along the ground or up a trellis.
This has two main advantages: firstly, it creates more surface area in the canopy, allowing more light to reach and penetrate through multiple buds; secondly, it keeps the plants from growing too tall which can be extremely beneficial for growers with limited space.
SOG, or sea of green, is a popular cannabis growing method that produces numerous smaller plants in limited space. This strategy involves reducing the time spent in the vegetative stage and switching to flowering closer to the end of this cycle. As there is constrained growth, marijuana plants become much smaller than if they were grown traditionally yet still produce an overall higher crop per square meter.
The benefits for growers are numerous: controlling height makes cultivation easier as does being able to harvest more frequently due to multiple flowers on several plants rather than one single large bud.
Growing this way also uses fewer resources and delivers higher yields, which is likely why it has gained so much popularity amongst novice and experienced gardeners alike.
ScrOG, or Screen Of Green, is an indoor marijuana cultivation technique that is related to SOG (Sea of Green). The main difference in ScrOG is that the plants are weaved together on a mesh or trellis. This allows the plant’s canopy to not only grow upward but outward horizontally as well.
Unlike SOG, when using a ScrOG setup you can choose to use just large individual plants instead of needing to consistently switch out small ones in its place. By setting the height of the mesh beforehand, you will then decide exactly how high your final plants will grow; thus making it simpler for anyone who may have limited growing space indoors.
Using this method has numerous benefits and can often result in higher yields per crop compared to other methods. This is because all nutrients can reach the end tips of the canopy due to its chain-like structure produced by weaving individual plants together on top of each other like fabric fibers.
It also gives growers more control over their gardens by allowing them to shape and channel light toward particular parts of their gardens if needed.
Give Plants Plenty of Light
Light is a major determining factor in providing healthy and abundant growth for the plants you want to cultivate. A lack of grow light can cause your lanky plants to stretch, discolor, and produce lower yields. So it’s important that you meet their lighting needs as best you can, depending on the type of plant you are growing.
The first step is to choose the right type of adequate light for your particular want or need. For instance, LEDs (Blue Light) are becoming popular as they offer good lighting at low-cost. However, not all LED lights put out the same frequencies so it’s important to buy quality ones suitable for photosynthesis, or else your plant height may not thrive.
If budget is not an issue, HID (High Intensity Discharge) lights may be considered; these have been long tried and tested and are sure to light up a garden with massive outputs no matter which room or outdoor area they inhabit.
The distance between your plants and the lighting should be measured according to wattage rating – higher wattages should be placed further away from the foliage & ground level than those with lower ounces.
Keep Airflow and Temperature Balanced
Maintaining the correct airflow and temperature balance is essential for cannabis plants to resist stretching. Temperatures should be kept below 29°C, and air must be circulating in order to keep the plants from getting too hot or humid.
This will help strengthen stems and prevent environmental stress from causing excessive stretching. Additionally, if the environmental conditions are ideal, some stretching can actually be a normal and desirable stage of growth that creates more bud sites.