How to SCROG
A Tutorial on How to SCROG Grow
Join us as we describe the benefits of the screen of green method, how to build a SCROG net, and how to SCROG grow with ease.
The screen of green technique has been employed by growers around the world seeking to maximize their yield with less space. This zen idea of making more with less has become popularized as more individuals grow cannabis at home with grow tents or grow boxes due to the legalization of marijuana.
What is SCROG?
The screen of green method is a cannabis cultivation technique that allows growers to increase their yield potential by the use of grid netting.
The screen of green method can be utilized with, or without the use of a grow tent.
Each grid represents a dominant flowering point; all of which are evenly grown, which makes for a uniform canopy.
The netting is attached to a square structure, usually wood or PVC. The ScrOG system is either constructed to be a certain height or can be adjusted by the use of rope ratchets.
The Benefits of ScrOG
The benefits of the screen of green technique are many.
Let’s take a look at what aspects of your grow will be improved by employing this simple, yet effective method.
Increased Yield: How to SCROG
We’re sure that many of you saw this headline and immediately skipped straight to this section. It’s understandable since most cannabis cultivators are in this business to produce an abundant harvest. Just as a corn or wheat farmer hopes for when they reap what they sow, so do cannabis producers when the pistils turn orange, and the trichomes change into a milky-white shade.
So, is it true? The answer is yes. Yields from marijuana plants that are appropriately grown in the screen of green style will generally outweigh those left to grow in their natural structure. Cannabis plants tend to grow in either a slightly bushy manner or in a Christmas tree form.
Both of these natural structures tend to favor one or a handful of dominant bud sites. Once these dominant bud sites are established, the bulk of the weight will land on these few, whereas the rest of the bud sites won’t benefit.
Usually, the lower bud sites receive less light, and this means smaller flowers. So, how can we manipulate a cannabis plant to make the majority of the bud sites large? The answer to this is to bring a majority of flowering points to an even playing field.
By doing so, buds that would have normally grown to below average sizes are now growing as though they’re apical buds. Increased light and added support enables every bud along the screen of green to flourish and pack on the grams.
Instead of a single dominant bud that weighs 20-grams and many small flowers that weight 4-8 grams each; you’ll find that every bud that’s placed into the grid will support buds that each weigh 20-grams and above. You’ll be hard pressed to find a marijuana plant grown in the screen of green method that doesn’t outweigh the same strain grown in its’ natural form.
Adaptable Growing Method
The screen of green method is an ideal technique when you don’t have access to clones or if you’re growing from seed.
Growing cannabis from seed can prove to be a challenging experience, especially as a beginner. The reason for this is because growing from seed presents an inexperienced grower with variety. What’s wrong with variety? The issue with variety is that a single cannabis strain can exhibit a multitude of expressed phenotypes.
Let’s say you’re growing the hybrid Orange Julius from seed, and there are 10 cannabis seeds in the pack. Although you expect to grow a single strain 10 times, you’re actually growing 10 different phenotypes of Orange Julius.
Phenotypes are responsible for the plethora of traits that make growing cannabis a treat. Overall stature, aroma, flavor, potency, color, effects, and trichome coverage are all examples of what phenotypes are responsible for.
So, how does this relate to growing via the screen of green method? Simply put, the screen of green method will level each strain or phenotype so that no plant outgrows another in your garden.
Most growers like to grow from clones because of the scenario described above. Each clone is the exact replica of the mother plant that it comes from; therefore, you can expect each and every trait. Now, if you don’t have access to clones, then you can rely on the screen of green technique to bring some form of uniformity during the length of your grow.
Even Canopy Growth
The result of growing multiple phenotypes of a single strain or various strains is an uneven canopy growth.
The uneven canopy growth is negative for multiple reasons. One is that it results in individual plants receiving less light than others that are taller. When this occurs, the shorter plants have less vigor, and their buds don’t reach their full potential due to the decreased lighting.
This reduction in light from an uneven canopy results in a reduced yield. If you were to try and compensate for the difference in height between plants, you’d have to raise the shorter plants, which would become a significant hassle.
Lower Plant Count
When you grow in the screen of green method, you’re effectively reducing your plant count. Each state that allows cannabis cultivation has a maximum number of plants that you’re legally allowed to grow. Most states allow up to 6 mature marijuana plants, which is relatively low.
The screen of green method can multiply the number of bud sites for as long as your willing to. One marijuana plant grown in the screen of green style can equal 9 plants grown in the sea of green method. Although the vegetative phase will take longer, the ability to reduce your plant count while maintaining heavy yields is a possibility through the use of the screen of green technique.
We can’t stress the importance of increasing your yield while simultaneously decreasing your plant count. This method is a significant win for home-based cannabis cultivators.
Searching For the Ideal Cannabis Strain to ScrOG
Not every strain is a perfect candidate for the screen of green technique.
With persistence, you can essentially make any strain work in this style, but it would take a great deal of effort.
Strains that don’t respond well to the screen of green are strains with low vigor. The perfect ScrOG is done quickly by branching out vigorously and sent into the flowering phase. When a low-vigor strain is stuck in the vegetative stage for a longer-than-usual timeframe, you’ll need to wait until it’s ready. Any amount of lost time translates into a pushed back harvest, which is never a good situation.
Therefore, it’s essential to search for a tried and true strain that’s known to perform well in ScrOG conditions. The ideal candidate is:
- A vigorous grower
- Dense branching
- Responds well to topping
- Responds well to low-stress training
- Responds well to super-cropping
Although this may seem like a lot of requirements, cannabis strains that fit this bill are relatively easy to find. Examples of cannabis strains that do well in a ScrOG setup are:
- Super Silver Haze (Sativa)
- Gelato (Hybrid)
- Bruce Banner (Hybrid)
- Anything with OG Kush genetics
- Blueberry (Indica)
- Blackberry (Indica)
- Purple Punch (Indica)
- Amnesia Haze (Sativa)
All of these strains exhibit phenotypes that have all of the characteristics necessary for using the screen of green method.
How Large Should Your ScrOG Net Be?
In general, most cultivators choose to construct a square meter (10.7 square feet) ScrOG.
This will accommodate upwards of 4 plants under a single ScrOG canopy.
This is a generalization, and your screen of green can be larger or smaller than a square meter.
As we’ve previously discussed, a single plant can fill out a square meter and beyond, so the size of your screen should match the size of the plant you intend to grow. By following a plan, you won’t outgrow your grow space.
The Necessary Tools Required To Build a ScrOG Net
Now that you’re ready to build a screen of green, you’ll need to compile a list of tools necessary for the job.
You will need:
- Bio-degradable string
- PVC or Lumber (2×4)
- Fish-eye hooks
- Rope Ratchets
This type of string doesn’t have any plastics embedded in it and is composed of various biodegradable materials such as hemp, cotton, or jute. You should stray away from twine because this material usually frays quickly after use, which will leave hairs in your buds as they grow.
It’s recommended that you don’t use twine because they’re prone to fraying and leaving small hairs in your buds. This is detrimental if the cannabis being produced is for sale or personal consumption.
The amount of string that you’ll need will be determined by the size of the plant that you intend to grow. Buying a roll of string is your best bet, as this will serve you as you continue growing in the screen of green style.
PVC or 2×4 Lumber
PVC is an excellent choice for constructing your ScrOG system. It’s lightweight and allows you to lift it using rope ratchets as your plants grow below. The downside of PVC is that it has the potential to leach toxic fumes in high-heat conditions. Although this depends on the type of PVC that’s used, it’s best to inquire on the heat rating for any PVC that you intend to purchase.
Lumber is the best option to construct your ScrOG system because it’s sturdy, long lasting, and easy to work with. The downside of lumber is that it’s heavy, which makes it difficult to lift if you’re trying to integrate a lift system.
Fish-eye hooks are drilled into the lumber or PVC every few inches. These are the anchor points for your string. Fish-eye hooks ideally hold your string from losing tension.
Rope ratchets are ingenious tools that allow you to clip to your ScrOG system and lift it up as your plants grow. Rope ratchets enable you to construct a ScrOG system that doesn’t require a base to hold the entire mechanism up.
How to Build a ScrOG
It’s time to put the idea into action.
Follow these simple steps on how to build a ScrOG net.
Step 1: How to SCROG
Depending on the size that you choose, measure out the necessary materials, such as PVC, lumber, string. If your fish-eye hooks are spaced every 2.5”, you’ll simply find out the overall length in inches and divide by 2.5. This number will give you an approximate amount on how many fish-eye hooks you’ll place into the system.
Cut the lumber into appropriate pieces and join them with elbow joints. If it’s PVC, simply use an elbow joint as well. This creates the outer frame of the ScrOG.
Use a drill to place the fish-eye hooks into the lumber or PVC. Once these are secured, tie the string to one fish-eye hook and then tie the other end to the corresponding and parallel fish-eye hook. Do this until each hook is connected to another by a string. Once complete, you should have a perfect grid.
Build a support system (legs) or attach to a rope ratchet system. Both have their pros and cons, but the rope ratchet system affords greater flexibility.
If you choose to build legs for you ScrOG, then use 2×4 lumber or PVC and simply make 4 legs for stability.
A Mutual Partnership: LST and ScrOG
A primary technique that used to manipulate your cannabis plants into the ScrOG frame is low-stress training.
This method is done by bending young shoots.
As you bend a new and malleable shoot, you’ll use tent hooks to keep these shoots in place.
It’s called low-stress training because you don’t bend a shoot all at once. This is done over a series of days so as not to stress the plant. One day you may bend a branch halfway to the point you wish to move it to, and after a few days, you bend it further. This way, your cannabis plant can grow as natural as possible without any notable stressors.
This effectively allows lower shoots to “catch up” to the dominant shoot in height. As the plant matures, you’ll have a single branch with “x” amount of shoots that are all the same height.
This is a form of plant training, in which you’re forcing a cannabis shoot into a specific position, and as it matures, the shoot hardens, and the placement becomes permanent.
How to LST for SCROG
Follow these steps to begin a successful low-stress training regimen to get your cannabis plants ready for the ScrOG netting.
If you’ve just germinated a cannabis seed, then you’ll need to wait until the 5th node. 5 nodes are enough time to allow for small undergrowth to begin.
Once you have at least 5 nodes, you may now gently bend your cannabis plant in any direction that you please. You can keep it in this bent placement with a tent stake that has a band-aid wrapped around it to prevent any damage to the stem.
Do not bend the cannabis plant more than 45°. This is incredibly dangerous, and you may very well snap the stem. Bend the near the top of the stem, which is the younger and more pliable growth. Only bend 10-15° at a time.
Once you bend the plant, allow 1-2 days, and observe how it responds. By the second day, the apical shoot will have re-oriented itself into the upright position. You’ll also start to see the undergrowth beginning to grow quickly.
After 1 week of allowing these lower nodes to grow, you can now use another tent stake and pull 2-3 lower nodes into opposite directions by using step 3.
This will now create a low-lying and spread out cannabis plant that has an even canopy. If you find that one of the shoots is taller than the rest, use a tent stake and bring it lower to the ground, thus reducing its overall size.
You’ve effectively employed the LST technique to use in your screen of green netting! Depending on how large you’d like your plant to get, it’s up to you to continue bending new shoots into various directions and compensating the size of older shoots by bending them further.
Topping and ScrOG
Topping is another excellent technique that many cannabis cultivators use when they intend on using the ScrOG technique.
Topping is the act of cutting off the apical node.
The apical node is the dominant node found on cannabis plants, and the plant naturally directs a majority of energy to this topmost bud site.
This means that the newest growth that’s coming out of the top of the plant must be cut. This should be a clean cut by using fine scissors.
Once you’ve cut off the apical node, you’ll need to leave your plant to deal with this new stress over the course of 3-5 days. After this waiting period, you’ll notice that your cannabis plant’s lateral branches will begin growing with added vigor.
You’ll also notice that many new lateral branches will vie for apical dominance. This newfound competition works in your favor because you’ll find yourself with 2 new branches that have equal dominance.
You can top further by topping these two branches at their newest node. After a waiting period, you’ll be left with 4 branches challenging each other for apical dominance. You can continue doing this for as long as you’d like, and you’ll exponentially create new branches that are all relatively the same height.
As you’ve found the optimal amount of competing branches, you can begin the process of sending these marijuana plants through your ScrOG system.
Additionally, you may have heard of a similar technique to topping, which is called FIM (F*** I Missed). This technique requires you to cut half of the apical node. This stress will signal to the plant that it must immediately push out 2-4 new branches.
Super Cropping and ScrOG
The 3rd and last technique used in conjunction with the screen of green technique is super cropping.
This method doesn’t call for any cutting, but rather, pinching.
Super cropping is done by using your index finger and thumb to gently crush a branch.
The stress that this maneuver causes sends signals throughout the plant to preserve itself by 2 methods. One is by immediately beginning the healing process of the crushed stem and fortifying it with additional strength (callus). The second is by creating a multitude of new branches to explode from the plant to begin competition for apical dominance.
Once these new shoots begin growing, you can incorporate LST or topping to enhance their effects or manipulate their orientation.
Super cropping is incredibly useful, and sometimes too much so. You may find an overabundance of new shoots and nodes through this technique.
As we’ve already covered what you should do during the juvenile (and seedling) stage, we’ll move directly to the vegetative phase.
The vegetative stage requires you to be strategic and aware of your plans at all times. This means that you have a goal in mind. You should have a general idea of how large you’d like your plants to be. By doing so, everything can follow a linear motion.
You’ll need to be proactive during the vegetative phase, continuously tucking and placing branches where you’d like for them to go.
Once your marijuana plant is large enough and shows an even canopy, it’s time to trigger the flowering stage.
If you’ve correctly guided your cannabis plants into your ScrOG netting, then you’ll have an easy time during the flowering phase
It’ll be straightforward because your plant no longer needs to be manipulated or guided.
The main difficulty of ScrOG is getting your plant into position (even canopy). Once this is done, the flowering phase will continue in the same manner as growing a un-manipulated cannabis plant.
ScrOG and Hydroponics
The screen of green technique can be used with hydroponics.
Although it will take additional preparation, this is a common medium to use during the ScrOG process.
Marijuana plants that are grown within hydroponic systems typically outgrow plants grown in soil. This enhanced growth will benefit your schedule since the less time spent in the vegetative stage is seen as a good thing.
ScrOG and Soil
Similar to hydroponics, using the screen of green technique while using soil as the medium is perfectly acceptable.
ScrOG and Outdoor Growing
To add a new twist, you can easily ScrOG a marijuana plant outdoors.
Outdoor marijuana plants are known to grow incredibly large, and it’s a common sight among outdoor gardens to find a massive screen of green cannabis operations.
It’s done in the same way as using a ScrOG in an indoor setting, but the proportions of the screen of green system are much larger to compensate for a massive cannabis plant.
Your Essential Guide on How to ScrOG Grow
Now that you have a knowledgeable background on the matter at hand, let’s take a step by step process from start to end on how to grow ScrOG style.
Step 1: How to SCROG
Your first step is to build your ScrOG system. If you decide on the de-facto size of 1 square meter, then you already know how much material to purchase. If you’re customizing your screen of green, then you’ll need to have exact measurements ready, so you don’t over or under buy the required materials.
Take your time when building your screen of green. This is a crucial component that you’ll rely on during the flowering phase, so you should only use high-quality materials and construct it with care. Shortcuts will only hurt your grow, so have patience and follow the guide on how to build your ScrOG correctly.
Choose a cannabis strain that’ll respond well to the screen of green method. Once you’ve done so, germinate the seeds or purchase the clones and allow them to grow at least 5 nodes. Allowing your plants to become established is essential, and their health at the beginning of the grow will play a part in how they finish by harvest time.
Determine which method you’ll use to manipulate your marijuana plants into adequate shape. You’ll choose one of the three: LST, topping, or super-cropping. Once you’ve determined which to use, follow the directions for any of these until you’ve created an optimal number of branches and node points.
Remember, the overall goal during the screen of green method is a uniform canopy.
Your vegetative stage should last anywhere between 2-6 weeks, depending on how large you’d like your cannabis plants to be. Make sure that you don’t grow plants that are too large for your grow room or ScrOG because this will defeat the purpose of building the netting in the first place.
The key during the booming vegetative stage is to be on guard continuously. This means that you’ll need to relentlessly pull and bend shoots into corresponding grids where they’ll eventually grow into. If you fail during this point, you’ll be left with an uneven canopy.
You need to make sure that besides an even canopy, you aren’t left with any blank spaces. If you find gaps within your ScrOG system, then you’re not fully utilizing your space; thus reducing your overall yield.
It’s at this point that you’ll need to determine if you’re adequately positioned for the flowering phase. All of your hard work will come to pass once you flip the switch from 18/6 to 12/12.
Monitor your cannabis plants and make the following observations:
- They have multiple branches adequately spaced from each other, in the shape of a crown. The middle should be filled with new shoots that will complete the ScrOG system.
- The canopy is even.
- The height is manageable, especially considering they haven’t stretched yet during the pre-flowering stage.
- The plants aren’t stressed by over-training.
- The plants are thriving.
- The plants don’t have any notable deficiencies.
If your plants don’t follow this checklist, then you need to re-evaluate your garden before switching to the flowering phase.
It’s at this step that you’ll feed dominant tops (apical growth) into a grid in the screen of green. All of the undergrowth that would have naturally resulted in small buds are now alongside the main tops.
If your cannabis plants exhibit signs of nutritional deficiencies, then you’ll need to get these levels stabilized before going forward. The same can be said if you find yourself amid a pest infestation. The last thing you want to deal with for the next 8-11 weeks are these significant problems.
This is the step where you switch to the infamous 12/12. This reduction in light signals to the cannabis plant that it’s time to flower because winter is coming. The first two weeks during the flowering stage is known more accurately as the pre-flowering phase.
The pre-flowering phase is where cannabis plants stretch, sometimes reaching 2-3x their original size. This is why it’s imperative that you account for the increased height when you’re vegging your plants.
If every branch and node were even as it grew into the ScrOG netting, you’d witness healthy stems pushing through the system. Once the pre-flower stretch is complete, you won’t easily see the netting any longer. The screen will have turned into a screen a green, the onset of flowers will begin.
Once pre-flowering is over, you’ll wait between 6-8 weeks to complete the flowering process. As your buds begin to swell in density, the ScrOG netting will effectively add support to the large flowers.
By following these steps, you’ve officially completed a ScrOG grow. It’s harvest time, and your flowers are ready to be cut down. Begin from a corner and work inward until you’ve reached the other 3 corners.
We’ve now taken an in-depth look at how to build a ScrOG net, and also how to ScrOG grow. For beginners, this may seem a little bit overwhelming as there’s a lot of information to take on board.
Hopefully, with our easy to read, clear and concise guide it’s put your mind a little more at ease and gave you some valuable insights into the world of growing using ScrOG. Now all that’s left to do is put this knowledge into practice and get your growing journey underway!