Over the years, the main goal of most cannabis growers is to get better yields and this is the screen of green growing marijuana method or “SCROG”. There are actually many ways to ensure that you’ll get good yields. You can use improved fertilizer mixes, use soil mixes exclusive for cannabis plants and use high-intensity lighting.
Aside from these, smart and experienced growers also “train” their cannabis plants to grow more yields. Training is growing plants in a different way from its usual growth pattern. It involves low and high stress techniques.
Low stress techniques will put very little stress on cannabis plants while high stress methods will place cannabis plants in a lot of stress. When incorrectly done, high stress techniques can cause poor growth and even poor yields. So if you are new to training your plants, low stress techniques or LST is a better alternative.
What is SCROG?
The Screen Of Green growing marijuana method or SCROG is a low stress cannabis growing technique that makes use of small grow spaces like a grow cabinet or grow tent. A screen is used to train cannabis plants to grow horizontally during the growing phase so that all the plants in the growing area will get equal amounts of light.
Simply speaking, SCROG is when a screen is placed over your plants just when your precious babies are in their early growth phase. The plants will grow taller and will surely move through the screen. Some leaves and stems will try to pass the screen but you need to prevent this by tucking the plant parts back.
When your plants enter the flowering phase, the plants may already be left alone because these won’t continue to grow vertically. Cannabis plants concentrate on developing buds at this phase so it will cease growing. At this time, you must switch the lighting to stimulate the flowering phase.
From a full 24 hour lighting or 18 hour light and 6-hour darkness (which is the most common schedule followed by growers) your plants will now be exposed to a balanced 12 hour light and 12-hour darkness schedule. A 12/12 schedule is what stimulates the flowering phase.
Compared to regular growing or without subjecting your plants to training, SCROGed plants will not develop a dominant cola. The Christmas tree shape of the cannabis plant is replaced with a flat top. A number of plants under the screen will look like an even blanket of green, hence the name of the method.
SCROGging ensures that all the flower sites will be supplied with equal lighting so the growth hormones will be evenly distributed over all the plants under the screen. The result: buds of equal sizes which will give you more yields than any other technique.
How Many Plants Can be Grown Using SCROG?
Compared to other training strategies, you won’t be able You can’t grow a large number of plants under SCROG. The reason for this is you don’t want your plants to grow in an overcrowded growing space. Because SCROGging will create a blanket of even buds during the flowering space, you need to consider growing only a few plants.
With only a few plants inside your growing tent or cabinet, you will be able to easily maintain your growing area. The buds that will soon grow through the screen will not compete with the amount of light these get as well.
But if you want to grow more plants or you want to increase your yields by growing more plants under the SCROG, use a larger indoor growing space instead.
What You Need to Use the SCROG
Even novice cannabis growers can use screen of green growing marijuana method “SCROG” technique to improve yields. And the best part of this method is that you don’t need any sophisticated materials and tools to do it.
The most important part of planning for your SCROG garden is the type of strain that you will grow. Remember that cannabis plants can be tall or short and can grow wide or petite. There are some strains that will suit indoor growing while some prefer the outdoors.
You must research on the strain that will grow well under SCROG. To help you out, we have a list of the best strains at the end of this tutorial.
It is recommended that you use 12-liter pots to be your plant’s final container. An important thing to consider is to prevent stress on plants especially on young plants. Transplanting plants from a small growing container to a larger one is very stressful and can even cause poor growth and reduced yields. To prevent this, cultivate your plants starting from a large container. This 12-liter pots will definitely make good large final containers for your young plants.
Screen with 5–10cm Spacing
There are a variety of screens available from hardware stores and craft stores but why buy when you can make your own? The most common material used to make SCROG screens is twine because this is soft and will not injure the delicate branches of your young plants.
You may also use young, thin bamboo stalks. Simply weave the stalks together to make a screen. Use short pieces of thread or twine to hold the stalks in place.
Garden Ties or String
You need garden ties or string to install the screen on top of your plants. Don’t tie these permanently because you might need to adjust the height of the screen. You might also replace the screen in case it becomes damaged.
Instructions for SCROGging
1. Install Your Ready-made screen
Most growers who use SCROGging rely on ready-made, easy to install screens. You will be able to purchase these from hardware stores and craft stores. Carefully measure the area that you will place the screen on and cut this with pliers.
Place the screen about 20 to 25 inches above the pot and not above the plant tips. If you are making your own screen, take note of this height. Use wire or twine to install the screen on top of your plants.
Install the screen on top of the plants. You will cultivate your plants without controlling their overall growth of the plants. With this technique, your plants will be growing wider to allow lighting to be distributed along the branches and the leaves. Bushy plants will also have improved yields when grown under SCROG.
2. Arrange Your Plants Under the Screen
Now that your screen is ready, you will now be able to arrange your potted plants underneath it. Your plants need adequate space in between pots. Allot at least 30 cm x 30 cm minimum screen space.
This space will prevent overcrowding because this can affect the overall development of the buds. Buds will only compete for light causing one bud to be larger and more dominant. You must also never overlook spaces between plants because doing so can severely affect the way cannabis plants grow taller or wider.
3. Guide Your Plants Under the Screen
As your plants grow taller, these will try to grow through the screen. Your role in training your plants is to gently tuck the new leaves, stems, and branches under the screen. Your plants will continuously do this but each time this happens, take time to tuck the plants back until the plants are used to lateral growth.
4. Remove the Top Cola
During the growing phase, your plants will continuously grow but come flowering phase, these will stop growing and will concentrate on creating buds instead. Once you find a single cola growing on the topmost part of the plant, chop it off. Use a sharp blade to remove the cola.
5. Keep the Branches in Place
Naturally, your plants will resist this training as it grows taller and wider. Aside from just tucking the branches to hold these in place, you may use twist ties, twine or wire to keep these in place.
Tie the branches on the screen but be careful not to press the branches too hard or damaging the plants. Remember, you will only tuck or tie the branches and leaves and not cut them off completely. Your plants will still need its leaves to manufacture food which will help grow larger and denser buds.
6. Continue Training
Your goal is to train your plants until they have completely covered the screen. You won’t have to wait too long because this can happen in just a few weeks’ time depending on the strain you are growing. Keep growing and training until about 70% of the screen has been covered.
When your plants have successfully covered 70% of the screen flip the switch and control the lighting inside the growing area. Place your plants under a 12 hour light and 12-hour dark schedule to induce flowering.
7. Monitor Your Plants’ Growth
Continue placing your plants in a 12/12 lighting schedule. Soon, you will notice buds forming at the top. Use a timer to accurately flip the light switch to adhere to this strict light schedule.
As your plants grow more flowers, these will fill all the spaces between the squares of the screen. At this point, there could still be unwanted leaves and stems escaping through the stems and these should be carefully tucked back.
8. Maintain Good Circulation at the Top and Bottom of Your Growing Area
While you focused so much on what happens at the top of the screen, don’t neglect what happens at the bottom. As the screen thickens, the bottom section of the SCROG garden will have less and less light and hence, it will be more humid along this part.
Use a small PC fan to deliver a small breeze which will help strengthen your plants’ stems and branches.
This fan will also keep the soil dry and help prevent mold and mildew growth especially root rot. It’s therefore important to time your watering and to water only when the soil is dry and not when it is wet or moist to prevent mold growth.
9. Harvest Your Buds When These are Ready
It will soon come a time when your buds are ready for harvest. You can tell that these through checking out the pistils or threads that stick out from the buds as well as the color of the trichomes or the resin buds. Harvest time is different from one strain to another but usually, this is checked using these factors.
When you are ready to harvest cut the buds using a clean and sharp pair of scissors or a new blade. Unlike harvesting without the screen, you can easily take the plant and cut the buds or you can cut the entire plant from the branches and dry it. With the screen, you need to spend time cutting the buds from the screen. Do this gently to avoid crushing the buds.
If you want to harvest the stems and leaves as well, use pliers or a sharp pair of scissors to remove the screen as well as any support you installed on your plants. Once these are removed, you may now take the rest of the plant for drying.
A Few Tips to Improve SCROGging
Maintain Good Air Flow
Whether you are growing your plants in a growing room or in limited, tight places like a grow tent or cabinet, airflow is very important. Proper airflow will help maintain the wet-dry cycle where efficient gas exchange happens. Constant evaporation and condensation happen along the surface of the leaves along the stomata. When you use the SCROG, you create a flat mat to enhance airflow.
Providing good air circulation on top as well as the bottom of the canopy is very important. So aside from using an intake and outtake PC fans, growers use another small fan to blow a soft breeze under the canopy. The small breeze improves air circulation under the plants, dries up the soil to prevent mold and mildew growth and helps make the stems and branches stronger.
Choose the Ideal Cannabis Strain
Cannabis plants are very resilient simply because these will grow in any environment and adapt to changes in temperatures as well. But some species of cannabis will simply grow taller and stretch more and hence, are not good for growing indoors and SCROGging.
Some cannabis strains won’t work well with scrogging. Some plants may barely stretch while some stretch a lot. A clue is to determine the flowering stretch of the plant to identify if the strain is good for scrogging or not. The stretch of a cannabis strain is usually indicated in the strain’s growing information. You can find these online from various dedicated cannabis growing sites.
The best cannabis strains that will work best with SCROGging
Here are top 5 strains that are known to work well with SOG or SCROG.
1. Northern Lights
Northern Lights is a very potent classic strain that may have genetically parented numerous strains coming from all around the world. The fact that this strain is very powerful and has stable genetics which is why it is widely used by breeders.
This classic strain has a spicy aroma and taste that is quite strong for novice users. It also has subtle earthy tones which can be felt even after you have taken a few exhales.
The reason why Northern Lights is so potent is because of its very powerful landrace parents from Afghanistan and Thailand. You will surely admire Northern Lights’ overpowering euphoric effect which is perfect for anyone suffering from depression due to its very relaxing natural effects.
This can be useful in ending insomnia also due to its superb relaxing effects. You don’t have to rely on sleep remedies and synthetic drugs meant for insomnia. It is also popular for its effective analgesic effects making it effective for headaches, muscle pains, muscle strains, and migraines.
Northern Lights will give you more yields and has quick flowering times. It a good candidate for indoor growing and cultivation and with the SCROG method, you will have more yields compared to other training methods.
2. Haze Berry
Haze Berry is a strain that will give you bountiful yields using the SCROG method. It is an indica that has very powerful analgesic effects. It can replace your synthetic pain relievers and won’t give you dangerous side effects or dependence as well. Haze Berry’s lineage actually traces back in the 1970s when breeders from California combined Thai, Afghan, and Purple strains. Purple strains are known for their higher anthocyanins levels. These strains also produce more antioxidants which cause the buds to have a hallmark blue color.
If you want your Haze Berry plants to develop that trademark blue color, you must expose these in slightly cooler conditions. Even the taste and aroma of this strain is reminiscent of the deliciously sweet taste of berries. Train your Haze Berry plants early using the SCROG method and you will have more yields. Remember that this strain will grow fast so don’t waste a minute to start installing your SCROG screen in your growing area.
3. White Widow
Another iconic strain known for its ability to create amazing strains is White Widow. This strain is very famous for its strong body buzz and uplifting high. People who have consumed White Widow say that the high is similar to a slight pressure that starts on your face and spreads throughout the body. Along with this sensation is the feeling of an uplifting sense of joy which will be able to help calm stress and anxiety.
White Widow is not for first-time users because the effects are sometimes overpowering. Your mouth will begin to water from the intense earthy taste with subtle hints of citrus. This delicious aroma and taste will stay in your system as the strain starts to settle.
White Widow can reduce anxiety and depression. It will replace your regular synthetic medications and won’t have any dangerous effects. It can also be used against pain especially in curbing headaches, muscle pains, and chronic pains because of its powerful natural analgesic effects.
This strain is a favorite among coffeeshops of Amsterdam. But a word of caution, most White Widow variants sold from coffeeshops can be too strong. If you are lucky enough to check this one out, be sure to consume this strain moderately. Savor every smoke because it’s not every day you get to taste authentic White Widow strains.
White Widow will respond well to SCROGging. This strain is already high yielding and when used under the SCROG, you will be able to get more yields than ever before.
Critical is a popular and potent strain that is known for its potent high and short growing time. This is an indica-dominant hybrid strain with a soothing, relaxing high which will stay in your system longer, allowing you to enjoy its recreational and medicinal effects for an extended time as well.
Critical was made by combining an Afghan and Skunk strains which are two potent parents that are also high-yielding. This strain will give you large yields with a strong skunk aroma with hints of blueberry and chocolate.
This indica-dominant strain will grow well and is easy to cultivate for as long as the growing conditions are met. Critical needs warm and not too humid climates to grow healthy and yield good buds. It will grow well indoors or inside a grow tent with the SCROG method.
5. Bubblegum XL
Bubblegum XL is another strain that will grow well using the SCROG. This strain is for people with a sweet tooth because it tastes and smells like delicious candy with berries, and floral aromas. This sweet scent creates a pleasant and relaxing experience. This is a balanced hybrid strain and has inherited from its parents the ability to adapt to different growing conditions.
When used as a medicinal strain, Bubblegum XL is for relaxation and uplifting mood. It can enhance your creativity and focus in moderate amounts. Another thing that’s great about Bubblegum is that it won’t grow so tall therefore it will fit inside your growing space tent or cabinet. This is easy to manage and cultivate as long as you maintain an environment that is no damp and humid.