HOW TO PREVENT STRETCHING
In many cases, you can account for at least some stretching to occur in the flowering stage of your cannabis plants. With this is mind, it’s helpful to establish a plan in case your strain ends up growing higher than you imagined. If the information is available, obtain the average reported height of your strain and compare it to your grow room dimensions, considering the necessary distance between bulbs and plants.
While outdoor grow-ops benefit from the presence of the open air to naturally limit stretching, indoor operations are tasked with the tough assignment of maintaining air circulation inside a closed space. Sufficient airflow helps cannabis stems strengthen and grow thicker, rather than taller. This way, plants still grow vigorously, without reaching nerve-wracking heights.
For those cultivators looking to get their hands dirty, there are physical intervention methods that can be taken to reduce over-stretching. Similar to the natural effect wind has on cannabis plants, manually bending the leaves and stems will cause tiny tears in plant tissue that will cause the plant to focus its attention on stem regeneration instead of vertical growth.
Topping is a form of manual intervention on cannabis to affect its yield, shape or size. In essence, topping is the process of cutting of a new, actively growing node from your plant in order to reduce its size and create a “v” shape that will then form two colas. Topping can be an effective measure for combating stretching, but it’s important not to top once the flowering stage begins.
In most cases, unexpected stretching from cannabis plants won’t destroy your yield entirely. In fact, stretching can actually help to increase your yield. For cultivators with sizeable grow rooms that can sustain tall plants, stretching may actually increase a strain’s total yield with more vertical surface area for colas to form. Either way, stretching can be easily prepared for in advance and there are a number of different solutions to help with this all-too-common problem.