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Plant Training Techniques: The Tie-Down Method

Low Stress Training (LST) it’s the practice of gently bending stems and tying them in place to drastically change the shape of the plant. This is done to create multiple bud sites, even out the canopy, and overall help you use light more efficiently.

Using LST techniques like the tie-down method can drastically increase your yields without changing your setup.

1. The Tie-Down Method: A LST Technique

Low stress training is used to form a relatively flat, even canopy. This exposes many bud sites to direct light instead of just the top main bud.

As a result, trained plants can naturally produce more and bigger buds in the same grow space than untrained plants.

There are other cannabis plant training techniques that are are called high stress techniques (HST) but they may stress your plant or slow down growth.

2. The Tie-Down Method

The tie-down method lets you train your plants to grow in the exact shape and size you want, giving indoor growers the ability to make the most out of their grow space.

The idea behind the tie-down technique is to bend and gently tie-down your plant’s branches and leaves so they develop into an even canopy.

This will promote multiple bud sites and all will get equally as much light as possible to all your plants, resulting in much bigger yields from the same grow lights compared to plants that were not trained.

It can also be used to reduce the height of your plants that are getting too tall for your grow tent or are growing taller than your other plants and leaving them in shadow.

This LST method is also the easiest to do and it doesn’t require planning, you just have to try and level all branches by tying them down, nothing else.

You will most definitely get the best results if you start from training from when the plant has grown the third or fourth pair of true leaves up to the first weeks of flowering.

Pros:

• Bigger yields from the exact same grow lights and setup (compared to plants grown normally).

• Complete control over height, shape, and size of the plant (especially helpful indoors).

• Plants produce many big buds instead of just a single main bud and a lot of tiny ones (prevents pop-corn buds).

Cons:

• You’ll need to perform this technique up to 2 times per week depending on the strain (can result in a lot fo work).

• There is no exact guide, you have to tie-down according to the structure of your plant and all plants are different.

The Tie-Down Method on Autoflowers

Autoflowers are usually bushy and they don’t produce big enough side branches for them to get enough light and develop well.

Even though the tie-down method stresses your plant significantly less other HST method, you can prevent stress by growing a strain that takes training well, like our Zkittlez Auto.

If you train the stem downwards then the lower branches will start growing more rapidly and soon they will be on the same level as the stem, this will allow the side branches to receive more light thus producing denser buds.

3. Starting Training

First of all, have in mind that this is a general guide. The way you perform this technique may change according to the strain you grow and the way it grows.

Training usually begins once the plant has three or four pairs of true leaves (or is big enough to allow you to do it) and is most effective when the plant is young.

The goal is to have all new growth even. Training needs to continue as the plants grow and become bushier. Low stress training isn’t something that you can do once and then forget about, it’s an ongoing process.

What Material Should I Use?

The goal of tying down is to manipulate the plant to our liking without stressing it.

This means you have to use materials that are not too sharp like rubber-coated metal wire, clothing hangers, or even pipe cleaners. Thinner materials like string and chicken wire are usually too sharp and can cut through your cannabis plant.

Tip : Avoid using string because the fibers can get stuck on the trichomes and will result in your flowers being full of string residue.

Where do I Tie-down?

Depending on the type of material you are using, there are different ways of holding your plant down.

If you’re using strings, pipe cleaners, or rubber-coated wire you can make small holes around the pot so you can hold the plant down after tying. If you’re using metal materials like thick wire or something similar, you can stick it in the medium.

Be aware that depending on the material it can oxidize and can harm your plant, the best type of materials are rubber-coated wire or plastic strings.

Tip : If you still have doubts about what to use or where to buy, look for an old electronic in your house and cut the wire off. If you think the wire will get wet when watering, remove the wire inside, and use the rubber coating it to tie your plant.

Bend The Stem or Branches

Start by carefully feeling how flexible the stem or branch is that you want to bend, so you know if you can work with it without problems. If you suspect it might break then you should slightly bend it before tying down to reduce the chances of snapping.

Tie The Highest Branch

Tie the highest branch so that the former top is at a lower level than the rest of the plant. Look carefully to see if the stem bends smoothly and do not force it.

It is essential that you start any low-stress training as soon as possible. It’s best to start when your plant is very young (three to four pairs of leaves). Although if you decide to tie-down midway through the vegetating phase it is also going to work.

Once the stem is bent, tie it to the pot using the material of your choice, use the material of your choice to secure it gently but firmly in the desired position.

Sometimes it is also a good idea to remove some of the larger fan leaves that are blocking light even after training, this is up to you and is not recommended for beginners.

The main idea is to keep all the stems about the same distance from the light.

Organize the canopy

After you’ve done the initial tie-downs, your plant will continue growing and will develop newly grown branches.

Ideally, you want to continue to bend the tallest stems down and tie-down the new branches to avoid vertical growth.

Watch, Wait And Repeat

24 hours after bending the branches will start to grow up again and after a couple of days, there will be new branches growing.

You will have to continue to tie branches and level your canopy slowly, day by day, especially the small new side branches that are growing vertically.

The branches that are already tied down will start growing up after they’ve grown enough, you will also have to move the tie to the tip of the branches so they continue to grow horizontally.

Don’t worry about the initial messy appearance of your plants when you first tie them. After a couple of days, it will start coming into the shape you want.

Flowering

If done correctly, you will seed your plant developing various bud sites and thanks to your training they will receive the amount of light they need to grow big and dense.

It is recommended that the tie-down method is performed until the first weeks of flowering (pre-flowering stage). After your plant stops growing and is focused on fattening the buds you should stop, continuing this can stress her and she can end up turning into a hermaphrodite.

4. In Conclusion

The tie-down method is the way to grow if you want to use the maximum out of your growing equipment. Performing it correctly will guarantee better buds and a higher yield than growing your plant normally (in your setup).

A good option to avoid stress form this technique is by using strains like our Orange Sherbet Auto that not only takes it well but it’s recommended.

Low Stress Training (LST) it’s the practice of gently bending stems and tying them in place to drastically change the shape of the plant. This is done to