Monster cropping is, to put it simply, a way for you to kill two birds with one stone. This is an advanced growing technique that not only produces massive yields but also to clone awesome phenotypes without the need to maintain a mother plant. Like any horticultural cultivation techniques, you have to weigh its advantages and disadvantages. Should you decide to employ this method, we tell you how it is done correctly.
Monster Cropping for Max Yields and Killer Clones
As a relatively new home grower, one of the fundamental issues you tackle – beyond nurturing the plants to full maturity – is the yield. It allows you to provide the best conditions, enabling the plants to reach their full potential. That means they produce the highest concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes. You should also harvest more buds per plant or square meter, depending on where you grew them.
As you also soon discover, each plant may exhibit different traits, even if they are the same strain from the same batch of seeds. As long as you source seeds from a reputable seed bank, the reasonable expectation is that they will grow into healthy plants, providing you with high-quality buds. In some cases, one particular plant – or phenotype – may showcase superior qualities. As much as you would like to keep it as a mother plant from which to obtain cuts, it might be too late as it is already in the flowering stage, or you do not have extra space.
The solution to these problems is monster cropping. With this technique, you could obtain cuts from a superior flowering plant. By putting these genetically superior killer clones back into the vegetative stage, you could take advantage of their odd growth patterns to produce high yields. At the same time, you are preserving genetics, boasting of the enhanced characteristics that set them apart from the others.
Even if you were to monster crop correctly, there is no guarantee. These clones can be a handful, with some taking time to root while others not rooting at all. Those that do, they will not look pretty at all – structure-wise. Once they do take root and revert back to the vegetative stage, you can expect them to grow into monster plants and significantly bushier than its donor.
Re-vegging rooted clones grow into monster plants that are bushy and can better fill the lateral space on the upper canopy. Monster cropping lets you do that without the need to maintain a mother plant. That means fewer hassles, and there is no need to provide a dedicated growing area for the donor.
Monster cropping is not meant to replace other plant manipulation techniques. As a matter of fact, one of its highly desirable strengths is that it could be combined with other high-yield pruning techniques:
- Topping – It is a horticulture technique in which you prune or cut off the top part of the plant, stopping its vertical growth. Topping causes moderate stress while encouraging lateral growth of multiple colas in the bud sites.
- Fimming – Legend has it that this method was the result of a botched attempt at topping, hence its name “Fuck, I Missed” or FIM. While topping doubles the number of colas, fimming takes it a step further by giving rise to four new top colas.
- Lollipopping – This is a technique applied during the first two weeks of the flowering stage. The goal is to trim the base of the plants since they receive little to no light and, therefore, could only waste valuable resources. As you might imagine, it was called “lollipop” because of the plants’ appearance after pruning the lower branches.
- Low Stress Training (LST) – This is a non-pruning method, in which you bend and tying down branches that are too long to form an even canopy. As a result, the colas that emerge will have access to optimal light intensity by using low stress training.
- Super Cropping – Of all the training methods you could use, super cropping is the most aggressive. In the wild, marijuana plants’ natural protective response to threats by growing bushier, produce more buds and higher concentrations of THC. You take advantage of this by purposely injuring your cannabis plants branches. Check out Kyle Kushman’s guide to supercropping for further information.
You can also take monster cropping to the extreme by placing the plants under the Screen of Green (ScrOG). This is a widely-practiced growing method in which you place a screen mesh over the plants and have branches protruding through each hole. They will all receive optimal light and develop to their full potential as a result of filling up an entire canopy of evenly distributed buds.
Rooting those killer clones can be challenging. Even with extensive experience in cloning, you can expect some to die. And if they were to survive, expect them to take roots a week longer than those obtained from vegetating plants. Furthermore, they would also need another 2 to 3 weeks to re-veg. Despite the difficulties in rooting, these concerns are easily overridden by the promise of high yields and faster time to succeeding harvests.
Monster cropping can only be applied to photoperiod plants. Because it is nearly impossible to clone autos meaningfully, forget even attempting.
How to Monster Crop
First of all, obtaining cuts in monster cropping is not any different from the usual method employed in vegetating plants.
Before starting, remember these:
- Use sharp, sterile scissors or a sharp blade such as a scalpel when taking cuttings from green shoots.
- Place the fresh cuttings into clean water immediately to prevent embolisms before inserting them into rooting cubes. A rooting hormone or gel is more preferable.
- Trim the fan leaves in half and also remove any early bud matter.
- To help speed up the rooting process, you can apply gentle heat at the bottom, such as the use of a heat mat.
Obtaining cuts is a pretty straightforward process:
- Decide which of the plants you have has the best characteristics. An excellent candidate would have grown quickly and vigorously during the vegetative to the early flowering stages. Ideally, obtain the cuts 28 days after switching to the 12/12 light cycle.
- Take cuttings starting with the bottom branches. Be careful and do not butcher the donor as you would also want to harvest its buds.
- The clones will have to revert back to the vegetative stage. You can do that by exposing them to your preferred light cycle (18/6, 20/4, or 24/0). It will take some time, but if all goes well, you should see them branching profusely. They would also be growing lots of stems and bud sites even though they look strange with round leaves. On average, this unusual growth would last 3 to 4 weeks.
- You would need to provide the plants with nutrients and remember to train them to stay stocky and bushy. Once they have reached half of the desired final height, you can switch to a 12/12 light cycle, keeping them flat during the first six weeks of flowering or until they stop creating new stems and leaves.
You Should Try Monster Cropping
Monster cropped plants are not pretty to look at. They do have the odd appearance of a main-lined plant without requiring you to exert time and lots of effort. Generally, it works best with tall plants and is perfect for cloning the best plant you are growing. Not to mention, you would also be harvesting tons of buds.
Should you try monster cropping?
By all means.
Once you are comfortable with growing marijuana plants, it is time to take it up a notch. For starters, combine monster cropping with ScrOG growing a tall hybrid. It would not be any different from taking cuts to grow several plants using the Sea of Green method. The only difference is that you are obtaining cuttings from a flowering plant and reverting them back to the vegetative stage. Although some would not survive, those that do would reward your effort handsomely.