The Screen of Green method, better known as SCROG, is a technique for optimizing medicinal plants yield per square foot. The theory behind the SCROG method is to manipulate the plant's branches to grow horizontally, rather than vertically, so that more flower nodes are exposed to the light source. Forms of the SCROG method could enhance the quality of the final product.
Scrogging is a cultivation technique using a net (or ‘screen’) to act as a physical barrier to restrict vertical growth of the plant. The stem and branches are weaved through the net (or tied to it) and forced to grow horizontally instead of vertically. During the flowering phase all the blooms originate from the same height allowing the grower to keep each and every bloom in the optical ‘sweet spot’ of maximum PPFD light levels. Better light distribution helps produce higher yields!
This SCROG method of training the medicinal plants may seem fiddly to the first time SCROG grower. But once you get used to SCROG growing you may not want to switch back. With quality lights and good nutrient management technique you can get seriously heavy harvests from your grow room, often with fewer plants.
SCROG works best if you stay one step ahead of the plant—ideally, you want to set the screen so branches grow into it, as opposed to having to push branches into it after. Monitor your plants week by week and help branches through the screen as they grow.
If you do need to set a screen after the fact and put branches in it, it’s not the end of the world, just be gentle with your plants.
Medicinal plants branches should be in a screen after plants are done getting topped, and before flowering. If you still have to top or cut off branches, plants will take a different shape, so they shouldn’t be in a screen yet; and you want branches set in a screen before flowering so as not to disturb plants while they are producing buds.
When choosing your screen for your garden, make sure it can support your buds as they grow without breaking them or cutting into stems. Some experienced growers create their own screen out of string or twine. However, can leave behind tiny hairs from the fraying. Pre-made netting can be made from plastic, nylon, or metal. Choose a net that’s able to stretch and adapt to different tent sizes and plants. Just make sure the net has squares about 2” in diameter.
Growers should set up their screen before the flowering period begins, ideally during the vegetative stage. Secure your screen to post or wall using a hanger or other fastening fixture. Once installed, the screen can be lowered over your canopy. Ensure you bring down the screen evenly without damaging any branches. Work the net down until the tops of your plants are about five inches above the net.
Gently bend and weave the tops through the screen and stretch them toward the edge of the screen. Start by tucking in your outermost branches and working your way into the plant. Ideally, you want to reduce your canopy height by about five inches. After bending your branches through the net, they’ll look a bit beat up. Don’t worry. They can regain strength in a short while. Some growers choose to water their plants within 24 hours after installing the net as an added boost.
Deciding on the right time to put your medicinal plants on to 12/12 lighting will depend on various factors. Apart from how much of a rush you are in, the most important factor is the strain that you are growing. Medicinal plants strains that are known to stretch will need more room to flower. A good guide as to when to induce flowering is when somewhere between 40% and 60% of the screen is covered with leaves.
Most strains will perform well using the SCROG method, while some of them will perform outstanding. Give it a try, you won't regret it.
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