In the previous post we found out what is low stress training, how it works and looked at some methods how to perform LST on autos. Now I will explain everything there is to know about the Tie down LST method.
What is Tie down LST method?
Tie down autoflower LST method is a training method where cannabis plants are trained with a string or some other material that can pull down a branch and let other branches take its place. There are multiple variations of this low stress training method but basically they all do the same thing – trick marijuana into thinking that the main shoot is gone. That makes it gather more auxins at the tops of other nearby shoots and in a sense makes them the main target for the most vigorous growth.
Why use this method on autoflowers?
Autoflowering cannabis plants are usually bushy but they don’t produce big enough side branches for them to get enough sunlight to produce decent budsides. If you train your main shoot downwards then the lower branches will start growing more rapidly and soon they will be at the same level as the main branch and you will have an even canopy that will produce more flowers because it will utilize sunlight more efficiently.
This LST method is also the easiest to do and it doesn’t require a planning ahead if you use the chaotic tie down method. And even if you choose one of the more controlled tie down methods you can do it at any stage of plants growth and it can be done with various materials.
You will most definitely get the best results if you start from the beginning of the plants life cycle and train it all the way to the first weeks of flowering but that doesn’t mean that you can’t LST your autos at other stages of it’s life cycle.
How to perform Tie down LST?
Your goal is to pull down a branch and you can do it by securing a string to the side of the pot or putting a hook inside the ground, or any other method that allows you to pull down one or many cannabis tops.
You need to put the string, hook or any other material around the plants steam beneath the leafs or if the plant is bigger, you can put the training string beneath the branched stems. You need to do this in order to safely pull the plant so that the pulling material dons’t slide down.
If you start performing low stress training from the first days of plant growth you need to support the steam from one side in order to bend the top on the other side. I will usually put a string around the place where the edge of the pot is so the string is vertical to the ground and pull the top towards the other end, like in the drawing beneath. This first string allows you to support the plant and not break the little stem at the ground level.
You need to pull the top or side branch toward the side you want and you don’t need to worry about the support because the plant can support itself. You are training just a single branch with one string, but it is best to perform LST on both sides of the plant so you get a stable growth.
Tie down low stress training types:
Around the pot
This method is great if you are thinking of growing your autoflower and performing LST on it right from the start. This circular method gives growers a well designed and very accurate method how to increase the yield and maximize the growing space and light. Whereas the regular (chaotic) LST method can get messy and the maintenance difficulty can increase exponentially. Around the pot method gives you the precise and well manageable growth with full control!
The first thing you need to do is grow the cannabis plant in the middle of a pot(medium or large, depending on your plants expected height). You need an appropriate sized pot because it will nurture your plant all the way through its life cycle and you won’t transplant it (Transplanting autoflowers is not advisable as I explained it in my previous post about transplanting). When the first true fan leafs are fully ripen you can start this low stress training method:
- You need to gently put a string or a metal wire around the stem beneath the first two leaf stems and anchor it to the ground. At first don’t bend the tiny plant all the way down as it can easily break, so gently tie it down in a 45 or even lesser degree angle and in a time period of one or two days slowly lower the angle so it gets close to 90 degrees.
Some growers go right to the 90 degree angle but you need to do this a couple of times to see how flexible or inflexible an autoflower marijuana plant is.
- After the first bend has fully pulled down let the plant grow for a couple of days till the bent tip is again in the vertical position and has grown a new set of leafs.
- When the second step is done you can once again train the autoflowers tip down, but this time you need to pull it a little to one side in order for it to start forming the basis of your circle (as shown in the second pot on first drawing). The same as in the first step don’t be hard on the cannabis plant and do the training slowly.
- In this step you again need to let it grow for a couple of days till once again the tip is vertical and new set of leafs appear (the leafs are not always a sign that you need to train the top, you need to look at the main shoot length not how much leafs it has grown).
- You need to do this process over and over as you can see in the first drawing so you can train your plant in a circular manner and maximize the space and light.
- After the third or fourth tie down of the tip you will see that the side branches are starting to get really big so you need to train them down as well. You can see that in the fourth and fifth pots those side branches that are closer to the middle also need to be trained down in a circular path.
- As you train the plant further you will also see that the second branch that you trained will start to develop vertical growth that needs to be trained down like in the fifth pot.
- You can continue this process further as long as your plant don’t go into full flowering or you have room in your pot to tie new branches down. Usually autoflowers can be trained until the vertical growth stops and the bud formation starts to happen in full speed (Three weeks into flowering stage, or two to three weeks until harvest.)
- At the drawing below you can see the last pot where the yellow spots should represent the buds and they are taking up all the space in the pot so you don’t waste space or light.
This Low stress training method starts out similar to the circular method but it works best if you plant your seed not in the middle of the pot but more to one side, because you will bend the autoflowering cannabis plant to one side to start off this training method. You could plant the weed at the edge of the pot but it could hurt the roots as they would need to grow only in one direction and would be bound by the pot wall. This could potentially slow the plant down a little but it would not be visible so you can plant the auto flower seed closer to the side to get the best out of this side pulling.
This LST method needs a little more time to start, because you need a bit taller plant to bend it further to the edge of the pot and this is how the process should go:
- Plant the seed in one side of the pot and let the cannabis grow half as tall as the distance from the seed to the furthest pot side.
- Start by pulling the top to the furthest side, but do it slowly, because as I mentioned earlier, young cannabis plants are very fragile!
- When the lowest branches have grown vertically up and have a decent distance from the main steam, pull both branches to opposite sides.
If the main steam has also grown out, pull it down as well changing the first training strings location or taking a new one and pulling it toward the end of the pot in straight line.
- After the side branches have grown up again repeat the process like you see in the drawing below. It may be hard to train your autoflower in the way the drawing shows but you need to achieve something similar.
- Do this till the plant is flowering for 3 weeks or 2 to 3 weeks from harvest if you know exactly how long your autoflower seeds need to fully mature.
- In the last pot in the drawing you can see the yellow spots that should be the flowers. As you can see they are even throughout the pot and they all should be almost at the same height.
Chaotic LST method is the easiest low stress training method that you can perform to your autoflower plant. This method is easy because it doesn’t require any planning ahead and you can start it at any point of the cannabis life cycle. You can start to perform LST when the first true fan leafs appear by supporting the steam to one side and gently bending the tip to the other side. You don’t need to plan anything and can just pull down the top that is getting the most light and see other branches stepping in!
What materials to use for LST
When performing LST on autoflowering cannabis plants you can use any number of materials and I will give just a brief look at some of them but you need to remember that any material that comes in contact with the plant should be clean and that means that you should wash all hooks and wires that you are using repeatedly.
You can use any household string that will be able to support your plant and won’t break.Choose a strong one and it is best if it isn’t synthetic as it can hurt the autoflower marijuana plant. If you are thinking about putting a string around the stem and training it then you need to choose a wide string that won’t grind inside the plant.
If you only have small strings then you need to mount something that the string can wrap around that would come in contact with the plant, because a narrow string could easily cut into the cannabis steam and stun the plants growth.
I recommend you to use a hemp string as they are very strong and natural. Hemp strings are also thick and won’t damage your autoflower and best of all they are made from the very same thing you are growing.
The main advantage to string is that it is easy to bend, it is flexible and strong and if you use organic one it is very good for the plant.
Tiny strings can easily snap and you need some kind of a wrapper to buffer the narrow string.
You can use any wire from your local hardware shop but take the same approach as you would with a string. It is best to take a wider one so you can put it around the plant and won’t need to use hemp cloth or any other material around the contact point.
If you are using a wires from last grow you need to properly sterilize before using them again.
They are reusable, strong and will never break
Thick wires are hard to bend and they are more expensive than strings.
Hook is basically a thick wire that can be attached to the side of the pot or inside the soil. You can use hooks in soil if you are performing LST on small plants or side branches as thicker stems will easily pull the hook outside of the growing medium. Hooks are usually thick so you don’t need to worry about the wrap to put around it and you can use them multiple times.
Reusable, thick, strong
Hard to bend and maneuver, ground hooks are easy to pull out .
How not to harm your autoflower while performing LST
- Never tie a knot around the plant as the steam always grows bigger and this can damage the plant!
- Be patient and don’t try to rush the process.
- If the cannabis plant bends, don’t panic but immediately take the training string down and let the plant rest. If the steam if folded hard, try to support it with something so that it can heal faster. Autoflowers are strong plants and a bent plant will not die but it can slow down the growth a bit.
- Don’t put hooks too deep as they can damage roots!