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Old 09-27-2014, 01:06 PM   #1
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Default Tips and tricks with PJ using LED tech, It's not just the lights

Lucas on Pruning

I have been using these techniques for years, and find they work really well on plants from seed, and I still remove most of the lower branches on cuts. Figured I'd share this info for anyone who does not practice pruning, or understand why it is we do it.

PJ




> How do you feel about pruning

I am strongly in favor of pruning, and think PistilWhipt deserves great respect for popularizing the concept with our community.


5-6oz from 250w is excellent, and would probably be of lower quality and lower quantity without pruning.


My rules of thumb on pruning are as follows.
1. Remove the bottom 3 main branch pairs, they will end up shaded, and will produce popcorn if left on the plant.
2. Prune before going 12/12, not after, or at least no later than 2 weeks into 12/12
3. Using a model of an unpruned plant that has produced the 7th leaf pair, topping it below the 7th pair (use the top as a clone)

and then removing the bottom 3 branch pairs (can also be used as clones) will leave three strong branch pairs to be bloomed.
4. On large plants, whose 3 main branch pairs from step 3 exceed 12" in length before 12/12, each of those 3 branch pairs will also benefit from removing the bottom 3 branch pairs...
It is VERY beneficial to focus plant energy into strong shoots, and to remove any shoots that are less than 1/8" in diameter by 2 weeks into 12/12.
Fat shoots make FAT buds.


> So now I wonder about all that bottom growth - to trim or not to trim?
Im a big proponent of pruning here are some parameters


1. in my experience, the first 3 branch pairs from the bottom are going to be thin, will get shaded, and will produce popcorn. I cut them off at beginning of 12/12, for use as clones for the next cycle..
2. if leaves are touching close to the mainstem 3 weeks after 12/12 starts, to a point where condensation occurs overnight between overlapping leaves, the canopy is too dense, I will remove the first 3 pairs of shoots at the bottom of main branches, same as I treat the mainstem..
3. I top plants above leaf pair #6, leaving a total of 6 branches to bloom..2 weeks after topping is a good time to flip to 12/12... topping and removal of lower side branches can also be done together, at begin 12/12.. depends on plant density how big a bush you veg to....

> I'm still confused whether trimming the very bottom branches puts more energy into the tops or diminishes overall plant energy which could lower yield.


indoors, pruning can increase yield by focusing plant energy into primary branches whose tops are in the effective range of the light. In this scenario, removing lower branches that are underlit and underperforming, reduce the amount of aggravation the grower experiences at manicuring time.


arguably there is more yield from pruning, by focusing growth hormones from the removed lower branches, into the upper branches, making them produce fatter buds that if the plant energy were distributed to a larger number of smaller branches..
if the plants are outdoors, there may be more merit to the unpruned approach, but indoors, with limited lighting effective distances, I think pruning to focus energy is important.
in fact, now that you have an excellent bubbler design, I would focus on the cloning, vegging, and pruning system, so you bring the most health and vigor into the flip..


> Is this horizontal grow something I should shoot for.

if you like scrog, yes.. I don't like to train horizontal, cause it uses up time

I choose to veg plants to a candelabra shape, by pruning as described above.. then use bamboo stakes if needed to support the 6 remaining branches on the plant.

> do you suggest cutting the lower three branch's because they do not get enough light from above to produce good bud...?


yes, and also because the plant has growth hormones that have an antigravity feature, that is, the growth hormones flee the base of the plant, and concentrate on the physically highest point of the plant :-)


> or do you NEED to cut off 3 to 7 percent of the canopy period to get good results and quality bud...?
in my opinion, yes, you NEED to cut off 30%-50% of the canopy


> will the low branch's always produce medium to low quality bud even if its not popcorn...?
try it and let us know what you think.. Im telling you its a waste of time..


> also, when you say to take the top 4'' off do you mean the single highest top
yes, here it is by the numbers
when a plant has 7 leaf pairs at the main stem,
1. remove the bottom 3 pairs, and their associated shoots/branches
2. cut off the top of the plant below 2 pairs and the center shoot this leaves 4 places for strong vigorous shoots to grow into a collumnar shape. The strategy is for top lighting.. but will also work with side lighting
the benefit of this aggresive prune is to create a sturdy stem, and strong colas.. no skimpy wimpy branches flopping around..


> when you say [leaf pairs] do you mean to say branchs
yes
remove the bottom 3 pairs, and their associated shoots/branches
> do you mean to REMOVE top of the center stalk, AND the remove tops of the first 2 sets of branchs below the center stalk as well causing them to all pair off and double
no
the strategy I outline is to produce 4 strong branches, untopped, and to remove everything else above and below them


> Can I still remove some of the LARGE fan leaves that are shading some of the lower buds

that is very controversial. I lean to the don't cut anything off side of the debate, but there are times when a little leaf pruning can help expose lower buds. Do a little experimenting, and decide what you like.

Consider the pros and cons are that removing a fan leaf removes the sugar factory for the bud branch where that fan leaf attaches. Chances are you will get a fatter cola if you leave the fan leaf on, even if lower buds don't get bigger, which they might not have anyway, since they are on skinnier branches and further away from the light, and further away from the top of the plant. The top of the plant has more growth hormones than lower branches..

I lean towards focusing energy into fewer bigger top colas, instead of many smaller lower buds. Hence my preference for 4-6 main branches, candelabra style.

Since you are at day 26, I would not cut anything else off.. but try to learn from how densely the plants are filled in, and watch how much canopy depth it allows.

you obviously mastered the horizontal fill of your canopy, now you get to fine tune the depth of it. Yield is not just about square feet, its also about depth.

Depth has to do with pruning, and letting light get between the plants.

It is Not ideal to have wall to wall contact between the plants, cause that only leaves the tops to get light..

not sure if you get my drift.. basically, overvegging, will create a canopy with less depth.

having too many side branches also creates canopy with less depth

ideally, separate colas that are 18" tall spaced 6" apart, is the design goal of candelabra style.

for bush style, which is what you have right now, it is better for the plants not to touch each other.. yours are touching too much.. but you will still be very happy with what you have rising out of the canopy of leaves.

I think of it that way, the colas Rise above the canopy of leaves. Hence back to your original question, should you cut leaves, no. Not if they are feeding cola towers.


> I wonder, would this candalabra approach yield more than the single?

it is not for yield, its to keep the canopy from being too tall.
topping is a way to reduce the stretch. On a plant that will normally stretch 3 feet, topping it will produce a 2 foot stretch.

yield comes from having the colas as close together as possible, while still getting light penetration, because yield comes from not just the square feet, but additionally from the depth of canopy, to produce maximum yield volume.

using more plants puts the colas closer together, which is good up to a limit



> How do I grow sea of green best, with high plant numbers and highest bud to leaf ratio possible?

by pruning the lower part of the plant off by week 2 of 12/12 so only the top shoot has a chance to bud



> Q: When you get really energetic grow tips, what is the best way to control this?

topping. although, I don't top secondary branches.. unless you are limited by height. Any topping after 12/12 starts can potentially reduce yield.. try to do all topping before 12/12
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Old 09-27-2014, 01:18 PM   #2
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So if you are reading this and are new to LED lights then I hope to shed some light on the subject based on what I have learned the last four years from trial and error. I think most people think, well I'll just do everything the same as I did with HID lighting and get the same results or even better. While that may work and you obtain some really killer better tasting smoke, I can assure you yield will go down if you are not training your plants properly.

While I have run, and still run some 6 footers from time to time, I like to stick with 2 to 3 foot plants with 6 to 8 mains ONLY. From those mains, skys the limit as to how many total tops you want to run, but you will see lots of popcorn if it is allowed to remain on the plant and get shaded.

Typically what I do unless it is a sassy kush stretcher, I like to flip, and 10 days later remove any additional lower growth that has taken place, and at that time I tie them to stakes. Some go sooner, and some a little later. We are trying to maximize light penetration even more so over HPS which I don't feel a lot of people do that run single cola plants.

I don't have a ton of time today to get in to any of the other things that are important, so today I leave you with pics of plants at 2 to 3 weeks in to flower to show you how we open it up.

Final results first

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Here is an example of a crazy sativa I ran.

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Here is a shot of trimming before the two weeks.

Before
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After staking
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Completion
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Next to having your LED at the right spot above you plants, this is the single most important thing you can do to increase yield and pretty much eliminate popcorn from the equation. [Well unless your growing some ** strain.

Of course, if you still grow with HID lighting, this will also improve yield for those lights as well. I just want to make sure no one is going in to this thinking they are gonna get the same yield they would on a single cola plant, cause you won't using LED tech.

Questions, Comments, Concerns?
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Old 09-27-2014, 02:45 PM   #3
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Thanks PJ for posting the info, should be very helpfull to many people.
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Old 09-27-2014, 02:57 PM   #4
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Thanks PJ. Exactly what im looking for. Its great to know there is a place to come when i have questions or concerns and get experienced responses. Thanks again.
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Old 09-27-2014, 03:19 PM   #5
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Good stuff my friend...thanks for breaking it down. As more and more folks choose LED lighting they will need help transitioning their grow styles. I know I am still working on getting it right.
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Old 09-27-2014, 03:19 PM   #6
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Hiya PJ. I see you use stakes also, here is some clips that I found from hydrofarm that I use instead of tiein' them. These clips rock. Big time saver.

http://www.hydrofarm.com/product.php?itemid=8002
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Old 09-27-2014, 03:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCalHal View Post
Hiya PJ. I see you use stakes also, here is some clips that I found from hydrofarm that I use instead of tiein' them. These clips rock. Big time saver.

http://www.hydrofarm.com/product.php?itemid=8002
They look interesting. How exactly do you use those? Do they clip to the stakes? Thanks for sharing bro. I currently use Pipe cleaners. Can be a PITA sometimes.
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Old 09-27-2014, 03:46 PM   #8
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Ya HL, the just clip together around a stake, and they have a tab to unclip them, very easy to use. Very cheap too.
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Old 09-27-2014, 04:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCalHal View Post
Hiya PJ. I see you use stakes also, here is some clips that I found from hydrofarm that I use instead of tiein' them. These clips rock. Big time saver.

http://www.hydrofarm.com/product.php?itemid=8002
I've been using these for a few years now, they're great for controlling the plants growth spurts...fast shooters during the stretch. I SCROG and cage all of my plants, the clips work great on bamboo stick or scrog netting. I also twist a 12" piece of garden wire onto each clip, and pull the top down...to allow the canopy to catch up in late stretch times.

I could post up some pics if needed.
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Old 09-27-2014, 05:05 PM   #10
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Orchid clips also work very well.
http://www.tindaraorchids.com/stakes_clips.htm
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Old 09-27-2014, 05:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P Jammers View Post
Orchid clips also work very well.
http://www.tindaraorchids.com/stakes_clips.htm
I like those too, may have to try some...appreciate the info
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Old 09-27-2014, 06:04 PM   #12
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I kind of like this kind of clip:
As a side note, the clips that NCH linked can be found at Amazon cheaper.
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Old 09-27-2014, 06:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Hemp Goddess View Post
I kind of like this kind of clip: http://www.amazon.com/Luster-Leaf-Ra...words=rapiclip

As a side note, the clips that NCH linked can be found at Amazon cheaper.
Yes THG, I got mine off of Amazon....I think in 100 count bags, may have been 50... I have a lot of them, they are very versatile.
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Old 09-28-2014, 03:57 PM   #14
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I really like those clips PJ, looks to be a little easier to take off. I use probably close to 5-600 per room, so the cost is a little high, but I think I will try them. I wish they were another color, it sucks when you got to cut the plant and have 1-2 clips you have missed! Those might blend in too much for me.
I am sure you can find those clips a lot cheaper then Hydrofarms retail price, I am spoiled and pay next to nothing for those clips.
All of the above sure beat twisty tie's!
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Old 09-28-2014, 04:22 PM   #15
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Yeah I got a bag of 100 of those twine clips on amazon for 1.99 and shipping was more than twice as much as the clips. 4.99 for shipping. Will see how well they work.

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Old 09-30-2014, 10:15 PM   #16
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ok A question has popped up, with hid I always used the back of the hand metheod to set the light the correct distance from the plant tops, does this still apply? or is there an ideal sweet spot with LED? im up and running with cabinet holding at 75F and i could get this light real close to plant tops if thats what im after.
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Old 09-30-2014, 10:36 PM   #17
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No you don't want the unit right down on top of them like HO T5's. I think it's like 18 inches you want to shoot for.
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Old 09-30-2014, 11:17 PM   #18
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Thanks HL
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Old 10-01-2014, 12:47 AM   #19
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Dman, found this on their website:

Tips:

Indoor use only
Not intended to get wet, avoid water damage by keep all drip emitters, hoses, misters away from the LED light housing
Recommended height above plant is 12-36 inches depending on different wattage of the light


I would think you need some distance to get the right mix of colors. The TopLed unit is a reflector not a lens unit but I would still think some distance would be needed. I know with the units that use Lens you have to get the distance right to get the right mix.
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Old 10-01-2014, 02:33 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamster Lewis View Post
Dman, found this on their website:

Tips:

Indoor use only
Not intended to get wet, avoid water damage by keep all drip emitters, hoses, misters away from the LED light housing
Recommended height above plant is 12-36 inches depending on different wattage of the light


I would think you need some distance to get the right mix of colors. The TopLed unit is a reflector not a lens unit but I would still think some distance would be needed. I know with the units that use Lens you have to get the distance right to get the right mix.

Good info, Thanks, I do remember reading that at some point but i had totally forgot. thanks again.
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