Autoflower ScrOG Technique: Yes or No?
Growers have long utilized the Screen of Green (ScrOG) style with feminized cannabis strains, but what about autoflower scrog? Many cultivators use this method to temper the natural, apical dominance of cannabis plants, but should you scrog autoflower versions, too?
Scrogging in limited space is a fantastic way to swell yields and reduce the risk of pathogens. Horticulturists are intrigued and want to know if they can amplify autoflowering harvests using this modern method. So, can you scrog autoflower plants?
In many American states, laws restrict growers by defining how many plants they can cultivate. Scrogging autoflowers maximizes space by splaying the canopy horizontally, meaning you need fewer, shorter plants to fill up your growing area.
Read on to learn what autoflower scrog could do for your cannabis production. We address the various pros and cons and explain how to Scrog autoflower versions. We also list some of the best scrog autoflower varieties to employ this cutting-edge strategy. Let’s dive in.
What’s the point of scrogging autoflowers?
The point of autoflower scrog is more efficient growth through better light coverage, which leads to improved bud production. Autoflowering plants generally provide smaller harvests in their short life cycle, but this method elevates that output.
The ScrOG growing style refers to installing a mesh screen or trellis that flattens the plants, forcing them to grow horizontally. It allows light to reach all parts of the colas, increasing bud production, density, and quality.
ScrOG autoflower effectively produces greater yields per plant, meaning you need fewer plants, which make the most of your limited growing space. The plants are also shorter, resulting in more available vertical capacity.
Can you ScrOG autoflower plants?
You can use this growing technique on certain autoflower cannabis versions, but not all. Autoflower seeds have evolved to produce a new generation of super-autos as well as typical regular autos.
Super-autoflower varieties can grow to almost the same size and potency as regular or feminized versions. It means a longer vegetative phase, making scrog autoflower possible, efficient, and productive.
Regular autoflower varieties like the original Lowryder auto spend as little as 3 weeks in the vegetative stage. This is insufficient to successfully autoflower scrog grow your crop.
Scrogging autoflowers also continues into the early flowering stage. Once the plants commit to blossoming, they slow down and eventually cease vertical growth. Growers can taper off the time-consuming tucking and weaving at this stage and sit back and watch their buds fatten and ripen.
6 Autoflower ScrOG pros and cons
The autoflower scrog technique presents particular challenges but has the potential for incredible results. We analyze a few of the major pros and cons below.
|Decreased height/plant numbers which maximizes space||Trickier to water and feed the crop|
|Maximizes optimal light exposure||Almost impossible to move the screen around|
|Provides support for hefty yields||Constant check-ups needed|
|Simplifies harvesting||Difficult with different varieties|
|Beginners can scrog successfully||May obstruct access|
Autoflower scrog is straightforward to execute, so even novices can achieve success, unlike the tricky Sea of Green style. This method provides several positive effects:
Increasing marijuana bud output is what every grower dreams of, and learning how to scrog autoflower variants will do just that. Autoflower scrog means the entire colas spend all their time under the lights, not just the upper reaches. The increase in light exposure promotes photosynthesis which thickens your buds. Scrogging autoflowers can increase harvest weights by up to 300%.
The autoflower scrog technique further affects the size of your plants, specifically their height. The screen pancakes the canopy, limiting upward growth as they spread horizontally. It makes the most of the available space, and consequently, growers don’t need as many plants.
Scrogging autoflowers produces wider shrubs with several main bud sites. Growers can triple their harvest with the same number of plants. Lower plant numbers are also easier to manage.
Scrog autoflower grow operations simplify the harvest as the numerous buds tower above the net. Cultivators need only snip the plump, bulky heads off and hang them up to dry. Pruning focuses energy on the main buds, so autoflower scrog eliminates unwanted light popcorn shoots.
Cannabis autoflower scrog improves airflow drastically. Growers prune nodes below the screen which improves the health of plants around the stems and the growing medium. The screen compresses the canopy, but a fan usually prevents mold or pathogens from finding a home.
The trellis or screen supports the heavy buds during flowering, meaning gardeners don’t need to worry about broken stems or branches impacting their eventual yields.
Even beginners can attempt the autoflower scrog method and crop out monster harvests. While the process takes a considerable effort, its simplicity explains how novices report inflated results.
This growing technique also presents some specific challenges that growers need to know about:
While the autoflower scrog technique is quite simple, it can be time-consuming. You’ll need to keep up with tucking and weaving at heavy growth times to prevent injuring the branches when you bend them. It’s monotonous work, but the results speak for themselves.
Depending on your screen size and the number of plants, watering your scrog autoflower crop may prove demanding. Gardeners may need to get creative to provide their plants with H2O and nutrient requirements. Growers commonly use drip irrigation to ensure the plants get what they need to promote vigorous bud growth.
Moving the screen around may prove impossible or at least extremely difficult. Gardeners need to have an organized setup. Don’t expect to move the screen once you begin to weave and tuck the shoots. Removing a problematic or infected plant can be difficult and may even derail your entire crop.
Scrogging autoflowers is a labor-intensive operation requiring regular check-ups. You’ll need to do time-consuming tucking of vertical shoots every day at times of heavy growth. The idea is to fill the screen with vertical, budding shoots by the time flowering commences.
The autoflower scrog method seldom works well with multiple strains as their heights vary. For this reason, most growers focus on a single strain (or at least cultivars of similar heights).
The cannabis autoflower scrog flattens the canopy, making it difficult for growers to gain unfettered access to the crop. Some cultivators complain that it’s difficult to pick up on mold or mildew due to the compressed canopy. In sultry climates, you may need to invest in a dehumidifier.
How to ScrOG autoflower cannabis plants? A 7-step guide
Below, we will direct you through a simple, step-by-step breakdown of how to scrog grow autoflower cannabis varieties:
Growers can easily build cost-effective scrog autoflower nets at home. Create a simple, lightweight frame and use twine, string, or hemp cord to make a trellis or chessboard-style grid. You’ll also need to prepare corner posts and connect them to the screen. You can even install the screen before you begin cultivation.
Decide how tall you hope to grow your plants. Different strains grow and stretch to different levels, so ensure you devise a plan. The screen itself should rest 6—11 inches below the intended final height of your plants. Most screens are 1–2 feet high maximum—any taller means significant extra pruning below the canopy.
Once the autoflower scrog is in place, allow the plants to grow through the chessboard holes. Don’t wait too long to bend the stems through the trellising. It becomes more difficult and potentially harmful to direct them if you take a few days off. The shoots should be eased below the framework to point horizontally. They soon spike back up towards the light, and you’ll need to knit them through once more.
Train your shoots every day, especially the larger ones around the edges, to keep the whole canopy solid. Keep up to date with your tucking and weaving. Aim to cover 70% of your autoflower scrog with the canopy before flowering kicks in.
Once the pre-flowers appear, you have limited time to finalize positioning and shape. The time for training your scrog autoflower is almost complete as vertical growth subsides, replaced by bud production.
After a few weeks of flowering, vertical growth slows down drastically. At this point, you can halt the tucking and weaving to let the buds grow out. Allow the bud sites to thicken and grow a generous coat of crystalline trichomes. Growers can now relax, sit back, and look forward to reaping the benefits of their labor.
If the colas get too big or close to the lights, tie them down using hooks or hemp string. Be aware that it may be more difficult to bend the branches at this time. Don’t try to weave them through the screen again, as you’ll harm the buds or break the stems.
Best autoflower for ScrOG: Best 3 strains to apply the autoflower ScrOG technique
As with most growing techniques, certain strains are more conducive to cannabis autoflower scrog than others. Fast-growing, short life cycle autoflower variants don’t work well because the vegetative phase needs 6–8 weeks for effective training. We assess a few of the best scrog autoflower cultivars below:
Named for the cannabis activist and writer, this balanced hybrid (60:40 sativa to indica ratio) boasts the genes of legends like Haze, Northern Lights, and Shiva Skunk. Breeders matched the result with an Eastern European ruderalis strain to annex the autoflowering ability.
This epic blend takes 7–8 weeks of flowering to produce decent autoflower yields of cannabis with 10–16% THC. Scrog autoflower can boost output to 12–14 ounces of sweet, haze-flavored nugs per m².
This 70:30 indica-dominant cultivar is a powerful mixture of Wedding Cake and Girl Scout Cookies auto.
It requires only 7–8 weeks of bloom to produce high THC levels (17–20%) and heavy harvests. Autoflower scrog this variety to produce massive 17.5–21 oz per square meter yields.
This is one of the strongest, high-yielding autos available. It may even be the best autoflower for scrog, depending on your needs. The hulking green monster combines OG Kush, Strawberry Diesel, and ruderalis genetics, resulting in stratospheric 21–26% THC levels.
Harvests are enormous, potentially generating over 21 oz./m2 indoors. The structural support of the ScrOG latticework provides added peace of mind for growers worried about the potential for branch-buckling buds.
To ScrOG or not to ScrOG
Scrogging autoflowers is entirely doable with the right cultivars. It improves bud output, quality, and harvest health, especially with limited plant numbers and smaller grow operations.
This technique is especially useful for autoflower growers dealing with finite space considerations—even individual autoflower scrog operations produce inflated yields.
If you think autoflower ScrOG could benefit your cultivation efforts, take a look at the inventory of autoflower cannabis seeds at Homegrown Cannabis Co.
We deliver discreetly and nationwide in a matter of days, so what are you waiting for? You could be scrogging autoflowers to boost your cannabis stash by the end of the week.
About the author: Derek LaRose
Also known as Kronic from The Cannabis Kronicles, Derek LaRose is a young ambitious cultivator and a staple educator for indoor cultivation.