In cannabis cultivation, the use of a plant trellis system serves two primary purposes: training branches to maximize sunlight utilization and providing necessary support to prevent branch breakage. Trellising techniques enable growers to optimize yields, improve airflow, and enhance overall plant health. In this blog post, we will explore the two main methods of trellising for cannabis cultivation: corralling and netting, discussing their benefits, considerations, and alternative approaches.
Corralling: Enhancing Sunlight Utilization and Branch Support
Corralling is a trellising method that involves installing posts at even intervals throughout the bed and securing high tensile wire or trellis rope at multiple vertical levels around the plant perimeter. The purpose of corralling is twofold: training branches away from each other to promote better light penetration and airflow, and providing support to prevent heavy buds from snapping branches. The spacing of posts depends on factors such as plant height and the local climate’s prevalent wind and rain conditions. While corralling offers efficient support, it does not provide the systematic branch training benefits seen with other methods.
Netting: Harnessing Horizontal Space and Branch Training
Netting involves stretching a horizontal plastic mesh across evenly spaced t-posts defining the bed’s outer edge. The netting is attached to posts and carefully lowered into the canopy, with branches trained into the mesh to maximize horizontal surface area coverage. This method ensures better light distribution, improved airflow, and optimal branch positioning. However, netting can be labor-intensive and time-consuming, especially during installation and harvest. Its use of single-use plastic presents environmental concerns, further adding to the logistical challenges associated with the technique.
Exploring Alternatives and Planning Ahead
While trellises presents numerous benefits for cannabis cultivation, some growers are exploring alternative strategies to simplify their cultivation practices. Selecting genetics with thicker stalks or opting for autoflower cannabis, which naturally stays shorter, allows growers to bypass the need for trellising. Late-season planting of clones to restrict plant height and dense planting with an acceptance of branch loss are also techniques employed by certain cultivators. Each approach has its own considerations, and growers should carefully evaluate which method aligns best with their specific needs and goals.
Trellising is a crucial component of successful cannabis cultivation, offering benefits such as optimal sunlight utilization, improved airflow, and branch support. While corralling provides efficient support and netting offers enhanced branch training and horizontal space utilization, both methods have their logistical and environmental challenges. Growers should explore alternative approaches, including genetic selection, autoflower cultivars, late-season planting, or dense planting, to find strategies that simplify their cultivation practices while still achieving desired results. By considering the unique needs of their crops and being mindful of sustainability, growers can navigate trellising systems to optimize their cannabis yields effectively.