Low-Stress Training (aka LST) consists of bending the stem and branches and holding them down in place to shape how your plant grows. Doing it correctly allows you to even out the canopy, making the most out of your lighting and creating more bud sites with denser flowers.
What is Low Stress Training (LST)?
As mentioned, LST is used to shape cannabis plants into a flat canopy resulting in several bud sites instead of one prominent main cola. As a result, the buds are exposed to more light, creating more bud sites and denser buds. Unlike High-Stress Training, LST won’t stress your plant unless done too aggressively. So if you take your time and do it correctly, LST will not stress your plants much.
The whole idea behind LST is to gently bend and manipulate the plants to create bore buds and grow your plants in the exact size and shape you want or need. LST can be used to reduce the vertical size for growers with limited grow spaces, keeping your plants just the right size to avoid height-related problems such as the plants reaching your light fixture.
Also, LST results in better light distribution due to evening out the canopy because it keeps all buds at the same distance from your lights.
The Advantages Of Low Stress Training
- Bigger yields and denser buds from the same grow setup.
- Multiple big buds instead of one huge bud and several small ones.
- Control over shape, size and height.
How Does Low Stress Training Work?
Low-stress training consists of bending branches using ties or wire to hold the branches or main stem where you want them.
Most growers use this method to keep plants short and shape them to make the most out of the light fixture.
To do this, all you have to do is bend the taller branches and hold them down or to the sides with the materials mentioned. Then repeat when a branch is getting taller than the others. So basically, it’s just a matter of bending the tallest branches repeatedly until you achieve the desired shape or size. It can’t get simpler than that.
How To LST Guide
In case you’re a beginner grower, here’s a step-by-step guide that’ll teach you exactly what you need to get you LST’ing your plants in no time. You need:
- Cannabis plant in the vegetative stage;
- Plant ties or wire and;
If you’re still not sure what you can use to tie down the branches, don’t worry. You can use anything you want. Make sure the material you use is not too sharp or thin because it can cut into the branches or stem.
As mentioned, the idea is to bend the tallest branches down and use a wire (or anything you prefer) to secure the branches in place, evening out the canopy, and get all the bud sites at the same level. Now, there’s no exact shape that you need to aim for. Not knowing the shape you’re going for may seem hard, but you’ll get the hang of it as you practice.
As the name says, this training technique consists of not stressing your plant too much. So it would help if you started LST’ing when your plant is very young because the branches are more flexible and easier to bend. As your plant grows and it gets older, the branches become hardy, so you may end up breaking one. So remember to start when your plant is young. As soon as your plant develops 2 branches, you’re ready to g. But you may want to wait a bit, depending on what you’re aiming for.
Tips and Tricks
- Be extremely gentle;
Bend the branches slowly and carefully. A broken branch can ruin your harvest.
- Start early;
Start LST’ing early, so all branches are thin and flexible, and you avoid having to risk it by bending thick branches.
- Double-check the ties.
Please make sure the ties are firm (but not too much), so they don’t scrape the surface of the branches and don’t hurt your plant.
Once you’ve identified the branches you need to tie down, tie the wire into a hook-like shape. Place the hook higher up on the branch, and hold the branch in place by tying the other end of the wire to your pot. After you’ve finished with one branch, continue with the other tallest branches. You will have to do it every day to maintain the shape you want because the tip of the branches will continue to grow upwards. So keep in mind this is a daily task.
How To Tie The Wire To The Pot?
Depending on the material you’re using to tie down the branches and the type of pot you’re growing in, it can be easier (or harder) to keep the branches in place. If you use something soft and flexible like plant ties or wire ties, it’s easier because you can bend them to secure them onto the “lip” or edge of the pot.
If you use string and grow in a plastic pot, you probably want to make a couple of holes around the pot to tie the string to. Another good alternative is growing in fabric pots because the fabric can be pierced, saving you from drilling holes into the pot.
Many growers also stick one or two bamboo stakes, for example, in the soil to tie the string to. There’s no right way to do it. As long as you can tie the branches securely, you’re good.
Have in mind that you will need to move the pots around eventually. Don’t tie the branches to the grow tent’s structure or something on the ground or anything else other than the pot. This will allow you to pick up and move your plants without any complications.
Continue to bend the branch. Always keep in mind that the branches will realize they’re sideways and continue to grow upwards. So make sure you adjust the ties and bend the tallest branches daily until your plant reaches the pre-flowering stage with autos. Or until you’ve achieved the desired shape and are ready to flip to 12/12.
“If you snap a branch, use duct tape to hold the stern firmly together. If the damage isn’t too grave, the branch will heal within a couple of days.”
The Flowering Stage
Your plant will continue to grow a bit more even if it’s already developing buds. So please pay attention to the branches and continue to tie them down for the first couple of weeks. After 2 – 3 weeks. You’re pretty much done; At this point, your plant no longer grows because it focuses all the energy into developing the buds. So the plant structure will not change.
If by any chance a branch grows too much, you can tie it down very gently. It’s not recommended that you LST or start LST’ing while your cannabis plants are flowering because you’ll end up stressing your plant due to forcing the branches that are now thick, and you won’t have enough time to shape your plant correctly, so make sure you plan.
LST is a great way to make the most out of your light fixture and your grow space. Despite seeming hard, you’ll get a better understanding of one grow cycle after another, so don’t worry if it’s not very clear yet. Just like anything else, knowing how and when to LST takes time and dedication, so start experimenting, and you’ll get the hang of it in no time!