If you’re working in your garden and wondering how you can get a higher yield and bigger, better buds, you’re sleeping on the Screen of Green technique. The Screen of Green, or SCROG, technique is a tried-and-true approach that makes it possible for growers at any skill level to achieve beautiful, bountiful harvests. Below we’re diving into what SCROG is and how you can get it going in your garden.
What is the SCROG (Screen of Green) technique?
The SCROG technique involves strategically placing a screen or net above the cannabis plants to effectively manipulate their growth and enhance light exposure. This method is designed to maximize the potential of each plant by creating an even canopy, ensuring uniform development of buds. It typically involves a few tiers of screens that encourage your plants to grow outwards instead of upwards. As the plants grow through the openings in the screen, they are trained to create a horizontal canopy, which makes sure all of the flower nodes are exposed to the light they need to reach their full potential.
What are the benefits of SCROG for cannabis cultivation?
There’s a lot to love about the screen of green method.
- Maximum Light Exposure: One of the core advantages of SCROG is its ability to distribute light more effectively throughout the canopy. This minimizes shadowing and promotes consistent growth, resulting in larger and more potent buds. Why? Because light exposure influences the production and distribution of plant hormones, which regulate growth, flowering, and other physiological processes. To put it simply, exposing light to as many parts of the plant as possible can influence the size, density, and potency of buds.
- Controlled Plant Height: SCROG helps control the height of the plants, which is great if you’re operating your garden in a small space or have a ceiling with low clearance. By forcing the plants to grow outward instead of upward, they become easier to manage, and you reduce the risk of burning your plants on the lights. It also makes it easier to prune and manage plants at a comfortable height without using a step stool or ladder.
- Higher Yields: By ensuring every bud site receives ample light, SCROG cultivators can achieve higher yields compared to traditional methods. By giving your plants even light intensity and proper distribution within the canopy, you can avoid uneven growth, shadowing, and stretching. With more light, plants can grow more explosively and all of their bud nodes can receive the light they need to grow flowers and increase their potency.
- High-Quality Buds: The combination of controlled growth and enhanced light exposure leads to the production of premium-quality buds. With SCROG, you’re not only getting more buds, but you’re getting more potent buds too. Light amps up photosynthesis, which increases the availability of all of the precursor molecules needed for the plant to make cannabinoids like THC. Flowers grown with the SCROG technique tend to be denser and more resinous, and have an improved terpene profile.
What equipment is needed for SCROG?
A SCROG garden is easy to set up. You’ll just need the following:
- A sturdy frame or structure to hold the screen/net. (A lot of people use PVC pipe to build a frame. Other options include wooden posts, or telescopic utility poles)
- A screen/net with appropriately sized openings to support the canopy. (You can get these at any garden store.)
- Pruning tools for maintaining the canopy.
- Plant ties or soft wires for securing the plants to the screen. (Optional. These can also be found at plant stores.)
How to set up a SCROG system for your weed grow
To set up a SCROG system in your garden, start by installing or building your frame. The frame should have four corner posts that go from floor to ceiling so that you can adjust the height of your screen(s) as needed for different strains.
Once you have your frame installed into your garden, you can attach the screen or net to the frame. Many growers use more than one, but the choice is yours to make. Make sure that the screen is taut and level, and hangs a few inches from the tops of your plants.
From there, just begin training. As the plants grow, gently weave their branches through the openings in the screen to encourage lateral growth and prevent them from getting too tall. Throughout your veg cycle, continue weaving and tucking the branches, ensuring an even canopy. Feel free to prune any excess growth beneath the screen so your plants can focus on flower development.
Which strains are best for SCROG?
Certain strains are better suited for SCROG due to their genetics. While you can comfortably utilize SCROG with most strains, beginners often have an easier time using this method with Indica-dominant or hybrid strains since they have natural bushier growth patterns. Sativa strains prefer to grow upwards instead of outwards, so if you’re using SCROG to maximize the yield in a smaller garden, stick to strains that are naturally shorter and bushier.
What are the best training methods to use with SCROG?
Training methods like topping, low-stress training (LST), and defoliation can complement SCROG, improving the outward growth and maximizing light penetration.
Topping involves strategically removing the main apical growth tip, which encourages the plant to grow multiple outward bound branches instead of one main branch that shoots upwards. Since it encourages lateral growth, it helps your plants develop a more uniform distribution of bud sites across the screen.
Low stress training
Low-stress training (LST) involves bending and securing branches under the screen to encourage horizontal growth, enabling better light exposure to lower branches. Some growers accomplish it by using a high-speed fan on the plants as well as bending the branches down and pushing the screen lower. When combined with SCROG, LST further assists in canopy management and even light distribution. It also helps your plants produce the chemicals they need to form strong, healthy stems that can support the weight of large, dense flowers.
Lastly, there’s defoliation. Defoliation involves selectively removing any excess water leaves that may be covering up flower nodes, which allows them to get the light they need to form big flowers. Defoliation alloes for light to penetrate deep into the canopy, and helps the plant to focus more on making flowers than keeping foliar leaves healthy.
Screen of Green vs. Sea of Green
While the names sound similar, Sea of Green (SOG) and Screen of Green (SCROG) are two different techniques. SOG focuses on maximizing yield by growing a lot of small plants in a confined, grid-like pattern. They usually start from clone and are thrown into the flowering phase after a relatively short veg cycle, which keeps the plants small. With shorter vegetative periods, SOG allows for a fast harvest and a big yield, but the buds are usually smaller and lack potency.
On the other hand, SCROG focuses on maximizing yield per plant. By creating an even canopy and optimizing light exposure, SCROG can amplify the potency and quantity of flowers on an individual basis. SOG focuses on a lot of little plants for a big harvest, but may lack in quality. SCROG focuses on a few big plants for a bigger, more potent harvest.
When to Start SCROGing Weed Plants
A good rule of thumb is to start training your plants in the SCROG method after the first 2-3 weeks of veg if you’re starting with clones with established roots. Ideally, the plants should have a few sets of leaves developed, but they need to still be flexible enough to be trained. Starting too late can make it harder to manage growth and might stress them out too much, leading to hermaphroditing and seedy bud. Alternatively, starting too early can hinder healthy root development and stunt plant growth.
At the end of the day, the SCROG technique offers growers a great way to boost your harvest and get high-quality buds. By optimizing light distribution, controlling plant height, and promoting uniform bud development, SCROG has become a staple in the arsenal of modern cannabis cultivation. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced grower, mastering the SCROG technique can make it easier to get your personal weed garden to achieve its full potential, bringing you abundant yields and exceptional bud quality with limited space.