Monster cropping cannabis for maximum yields and efficiency.

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If you grow cannabis, the following situation might sound familiar: Your tent is filled to the brim so your plants can collect all the light possible. Some plants are in the vegetative stage, a few are flowering, and there might even be one giant mother plant taking up lots of room, energy, and air. Let’s do something about it: Monster cropping has come to the rescue!

WHAT IS MONSTER CROPPING?

Monster cropping is a cannabis plant training technique that can help you grow more efficiently. In essence, it involves taking flowering clones and reverting them back to the veg phase to capitalise on dense, bushy growth.

With this method, you don’t need to keep a mother plant to ensure continuous harvests. And, when you combine it with other forms of plant training, like ScrOG, it can help increase yields even more while cutting down on energy costs. Monster cropping can be performed indoors, outdoors, or in a greenhouse.

WHAT DOES MONSTER CROPPING DO TO CANNABIS?

One principle behind nearly every plant training technique is stress. If done right, this is a good thing. Controlled stress on your plants can promote desired growing characteristics; for example, it can make plants grow in a certain shape or develop more bud sites. Stress on cannabis plants encourages their natural defences into action. They go into “turbo mode” with maximum terpene production, resulting in a more aromatic final product.

Training techniques that involve damaging plants, such as pruning or taking cuttings, inflict considerable stress, and thus plants will need time to recover. Because of that, methods like monster cropping are used on photoperiod cannabis strains only.

Monster cropping differs in one important aspect from other high-stress techniques: It does not directly impact the growth of your current crop. Rather, you take clones from mature flowering plants, and these clones are then reverted back to veg.

WHAT DOES MONSTER CROPPING DO TO CANNABIS?

IS MONSTER CROPPING CANNABIS WORTH IT?

Monster cropping may or may not work great for you. It all depends on your setup, your strains, and your experience. For instance, it doesn’t work with autoflowers and is not optimal for strains that grow very short or too slow. To help you decide whether monster cropping is worth it in your case, here are some pros and cons.

ADVANTAGES OF MONSTER CROPPING

Continuous harvests and no need to keep mothers

With monster cropping, you don’t need to keep a mother plant around for continuous harvests. You are taking clones from flowering plants. You can simply start flowering your entire crop as usual, taking the next generation of clones from these. With no need for a dedicated “mother room”, you can make better use of your growing space, lights, and air.

Maximise yields

When you re-veg flowering clones, they will grow monstrous! Your re-vegged girls will become extremely bushy with more side branches. More branches with more buds exposed to your lights means bigger yields! The bushy growth also allows you to more effectively fill your grow space.

Complements other training techniques

For even better results, you can combine monster cropping with other training techniques like topping, fimming, lollipopping, or LST. This way, you can easily fill a small tent with one giant monster. For the absolute best results, combine it with a ScrOG (more on that below).

DISADVANTAGES OF MONSTER CROPPING

Doesn’t work with autoflowers

Autoflowers can’t be re-vegged, which means monster cropping is a no-go. On that note, taking monster crop clones from small or slow photoperiod strains isn’t the best idea either.

Not all cuttings will be successful

Compared to clones from vegging plants, clones from flowering cannabis have a lower success rate. Since some just won’t root, you should always take some extra cuttings. Even expert growers have a hard time getting all their flowering clones to root. So expect some losses.

It takes time

Cutting clones, waiting for them to root, and then re-vegging them for a few weeks means it will take longer until you can harvest your girls. So if you’re pressed for time, monster cropping may not be what you want.

HOW MUCH DOES MONSTER CROPPING IMPROVE YIELDS?

It's hard to give an exact figure on how much monster cropping can increase yields, as this relies on a variety of factors—your experience being one of them. Some growers recommend letting cuttings veg into large bushes before encouraging lateral growth with repeated topping/super cropping, and then placing them under a ScrOG. Although highly involved, this allows growers to manipulate clones to deliver the best-possible harvests.

But aside from looking at numbers alone, don’t forget that monster cropping provides another advantage: You can harvest multiple times! This by itself is a convincing argument.

HOW MUCH DOES MONSTER CROPPING IMPROVE YIELDS?

HOW LONG DOES MONSTER CROPPING TAKE?

It’s best to take your clones at about 2–3 weeks into flowering.

Once you have taken your flowering clones, it will take an average of one week until they root. The re-vegging of your clones will then take (at least) another 2–3 weeks. When all is said and done, expect the process to add at least 3 weeks to your plant’s growth; and this doesn’t even factor in further topping and training. Each additional topping will add around a week to your grow.

HOW TO MONSTER CROP CANNABIS INDOORS

Enough with all the theory—let’s get into the practice. Here is how to monster crop cannabis indoors.

TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT

• Sharp scissors, knife, or scalpel
• Alcohol wipes (to disinfect your tools)
• Glass or container with water (to soak the cuttings)
• Rooting gel (optional)
• Rockwool cubes, perlite (optional)

STEP 1: CHOOSE YOUR BEST FLOWERING CANNABIS PLANT

At around week 2 of flowering, locate your best specimen—one that has grown well and tall. If you have multiple strains, you could select several cuttings from each one to see which plants turn out best. Make sure that the plants you’re taking from are healthy and not displaying any signs of illness or deficiency.

STEP 2: TAKE CUTTINGS

Take your scissors or knife and give it a quick wipe with alcohol to disinfect. Cleanliness will greatly help your cloning success! Go to your chosen flowering plant and select a lower branch. These usually root faster than branches on top. Swiftly cut diagonally across the stem to take the cutting. A diagonal cut provides more surface area for the cutting to take in water and nutrients, and for the roots to grow.

Again, make sure you take more cuttings than you need. Expect at least 25% of your clones not to root. Disinfect your tools before each cut.

STEP 3: ROOT THE CUTTINGS

Immediately after taking each cutting, place the stem into the container with water. The water will seal the cut and prevent air from entering, which would otherwise kill your clone. Alternatively, you can use a rooting gel instead of water. You can leave the cutting in the container until roots appear, or you can place it into a rooting medium such as rockwool cubes or perlite.

STEP 4: RE-VEG YOUR CLONES

To get your clones back to a vegetative state, you need to adjust their light cycle accordingly. Most growers choose an 18/6 schedule, but anything from 18–24 hours of light will work. When your clones start to re-veg, they will grow in an odd way with round leaves and lots of branches. This strange growing phase will last for about 3–4 weeks.

OPTIONAL: PLANT TRAINING

Once your clone is in full vegetative growth again, this is when you can apply plant training (topping, super cropping) to encourage lateral growth even more. Your plants staying short and flat will be particularly advantageous if you plan to put them under a ScrOG.

OPTIONAL: PLANT TRAINING

HOW TO MONSTER CROP CANNABIS OUTDOORS

Monster cropping can also be done outdoors, where it provides a major advantage: If you grow in a warm climate with no frost, you can achieve two harvests in a single season! This is how you do it.

STEP 1: PLANT YOUR SEEDS

If you bring out your seeds in winter, the longer nights will put your plants into flowering as soon as they emerge. If you want to extend the vegging period to add some size to your clones, you can supplement with a small light that you turn on for an hour or so every night. This interruption in the dark period will prevent your ladies from going into flower.

If you grow in a climate with occasional frost in winter, keep your plants indoors under a vegging light cycle, then set them outside once there is no risk of frost. If you are able to do that early enough in the year (by February in most places) they will go back into flowering before the days get long again. If it's still too cold during this time, it's not worth the risk of killing your ladies.

STEP 2: HARVEST YOUR CANNABIS

Your first batch of buds will be ready to harvest in early spring before daylight savings. At the same time that you’re filling your bags, around mid-March, the days will soon be long enough for your clones to re-veg.

STEP 3: SECOND GROWING SEASON

Once your clones have gained mass, they will naturally progress into the flowering phase as the seasons change. This means you can harvest them at the usual time in fall. Bingo! You brought in two harvests in one growing season!

Pro tip: This outdoor monster cropping method only works in climate zones where there is no risk of frost all year long, such as in Southern Europe, Southern US, etc. It won’t work in regions where you’d need to wait until late spring to plant outside.

MONSTER CROPPING AND SCREEN OF GREEN (SCROG)

Monster cropping is all about maximising lateral growth from shorter plants. This makes ScrOG (screen of green) the perfect method to go with it.

Installing a net over the canopy will increase horizontal growth further as you weave branches through the mesh. The ScrOG will encourage an even canopy so your weed plants can make best use of available light. The result: tons of fat buds!

SHOULD YOU TRY MONSTER CROPPING YOUR CANNABIS PLANTS?

Taking clones, getting them to root, topping, and ScrOG aren’t exactly for the bloody beginner to cannabis cultivation. On the other hand, monster cropping may be just what experienced growers need to push production to the next level. It is one of the best ways to take full advantage of your available grow space.

So, if you have the skills and are not afraid to put a knife to your cannabis, you should definitely try out monster cropping. Rest assured, the results will be worth it!

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