Low Stress Training
Low Stress Training or LST is the simple process of training your plant along a trellis laterally.
This growing technique encourages increased bud growth, as the branches are more readily exposed to the source of light. Also, the stems that would normally stand vertically are tied into lateral position, inducing them to sprout new vertical branches, or "waterspouts" - which will create tasty new buds. This is a common practice amongst gardeners for climbing roses, grapes, and other vining plants.
Low stress training ideally exposes all of the branches to the light source, and can be utilized for both indoor and outdoor crops to greatly increase your yield.
Some gardeners incorporate cropping, or topping, or pruning, into their cultivation. Cropping the main stem when there is at least eight inches of growth can be easily done by simply pinching off the stem just above a growth-node. Two or more new branches will form tasty buds from that node as well as the nodes below the cropped point.
You can also crop the tips of lateral branches to achieve the same effect of creating new vertical branches - which will each form tasty buds. Each of the new vertical branches can then be cropped once they reach about eight inches, and should be laterally tied to the trellis as well to encourage new vertical branches.
Cropped plants are smaller and bushier, and more fruitful than untouched plants. This technique can be utilized on most any strain of herb that you are growing, with the most vigorous growers, of course, most fruitful. Feel free to browse our collection. Royal Queen Seeds boasts a large selection of recreational and medicinal varieties that are perfect for low stress training and cropping.
You can use most any structure for the trellis, from heavy-gauge six to eight-inch fencing wire, chicken wire that is attached to stakes, or wooden or metal trellises that can be bought at a nursery. Some gardeners construct very attractive trellises from branches that they tie or nail together to create a grid.
It's important to tie the herb branches loosely to the trellis, allowing them room to grow, as they will increase in size greatly while they are in the budding stage, and you don’t want to choke them. Many growers are happy with the results of using long pipe cleaners that can be adjusted as the plant grows.
Low stress training is an ancient practice that farmers and gardeners have employed for many years. It is fun, but can be a bit time consuming, depending on how many generations of cropping and tying the gardener chooses to involve.