The natural growth pattern of cannabis can be quite chaotic. As a fast-growing plant that chases light, you may find yourself overwhelmed by branches that vary in height, density, and structure.
Trellising – alongside topping and pruning – helps to bring order to the chaos. Topping plants lets them branch out and develop a level canopy, and pruning thins out the foliage and removes unnecessary growth. Trellising helps direct the growth of the canopy, improves the spacing between buds, and keeps the plants supported as the buds start to develop.
Outdoor cannabis plants can become massive. Raised in their natural habitat, they grow close together with one main stalk shooting straight up. The density and growth pattern keep the plants from bending over and snapping. When cannabis is grown with the intention of producing large yields, we manipulate the natural pattern of the plant by spacing and topping the plants to promote bushy growth. This, in combination with improved genetics, results in top-heavy plants that are unable to support themselves.
Trellising always works best if you are one step ahead of the plant so that the branches can grow through the trellis as needed, helping with spacing and organization.
Step 1: Use is a metal cage that will surround the plant once it’s transplanted into its final home for the season. The metal cage should be sturdy and secured into the soil with large bamboo stakes. This cage provides support for the large branches that grow off the main stalk after topping the plant.
Step 2: You can use bamboo stakes to further support the branches as they grow out of the cage. Use plant tie tape which stretches as the branches grow.
Step 3: Consider building a frame around the pot that will support the branches as they grow out past the pot’s diameter. Frames can be constructed into a square around the pot using lumber or T-posts. Once the frame is in place, you can then use trellising to surround the sides and top of the frame.
As branches grow through the trellising, use this opportunity to dictate where branches are headed to prevent crowding in your garden. Try to direct branches upwards at an angle to help the buds receive more sunlight and grow at an angle that is most supportive.
Indoors, the lights remain above the plants which results in underdeveloped sides, so when trellising your indoor garden, focus on the top canopy.
A common strategy for trellising indoors begins by organizing your garden space into rows. These rows allow the gardener to access every portion of a plant during the growing process with ease. Oftentimes rows are organized on grow tables that allow for excess water to be drained easily while also bringing the plants up to a more enjoyable working height.
As for trellising, these tables also provide the support needed to frame the rows. Once framed, trellising indoors is an easy task that simply requires you to roll, stretch, and attach the trellising onto the grow table. Then by using the grid pattern, growers can direct and support the buds as they develop through the trellis.