Stretching in cannabis plants is common as part of natural growth spurt, but can adversely affect the outcome of the crop. Few things could be more frustrating than an overcrowded growing room with lanky tall plants sticking out. Stretching is a common term growers use to describe the rapid growth of the cannabis stems, which is a natural part of the vegetative phase and influenced by the plant genetics among other variables.
Unfortunately, a common perpetrator of lanky plants and low yields is stretching, which results in teetering, unstable crops. Although stretching can pose to be a threat, there are various factors you can control to influence the growth. Keep in mind that controlling the stretching of cannabis required an understanding how the plants interact with both their external and internal environments.
Why Do Cannabis Plants Stretch?
Many factors play a role, one of which has to do with the type of cannabis plant strains you choose. Genetics surely has a pivotal role to play in determining the actual height of the plant, but other factors like the type of supplemental Dorm Grow LED lights you choose also play a role, along with environmental factors like air, water, etc.
Although stretching is not harmful, dramatic stem growth carries the great potential of lowering the crops final yield significantly by about 20 to 30%. Choose the right strains next time and ensure that you consider various factors including:
The main reason of inordinate cannabis stretching is the plant’s lack of exposure to enough light. Plants that are often too far away from adequate light touching them will respond by pushing stem growth to move closer to the lamp. So if you keep your light too far from the plants, the plants will stretch towards the light source. If your grow room has other plants, it is likely that the sparse lighting will easily cause the grow room to become overcrowded severely, and throw off the steady progress of your crops.
To address this issue, make sure that you provide your grow space with enough light to quell the stem growth. Install LED grow lights, which supply optimal light to plants when positioned at optimal distances to plants. This distance is usually 1-3 feet from the top of the plant canopy. The stronger the light with higher wattage, the greater the distance should be. Know that plants placed too far away from the light source will overstretch in order to reach out to the light, and in most cases, lead to low yield.
Along with the distance between the plant source and light, the kind of lighting you choose also plays a role in the amount of stretching. Red and orange light often encourages stretches and results in taller and thinner stems. However, blue light stimulates the thicker growth of stems and shortens the height. When a cannabis strain is ready to enter the vegetative stage, it undergoes the most drastic stretching period. At such times, lights that are balanced for vegetative and flowering are ideal.
Another pivotal element that determines the amount of plant stretching during the vegetative stage is heat. If the temperature in the grow room gets too hot, this pushes the stems to grow longer and longer propelling the Sativa’s to reach their full potential. If you let the heat build up in the grow room, this ends up creating an intolerable environment that leads to wobbly, tall and weak plants. It will also potentially cause the plans to lose flowers in the process.
Preventing Plant Stretching
In most cases, stretching to some extent is something you cannot stop, especially in the flowering stage of cannabis plants. With this point in mind, it is helpful to establish a plan in case your strains end up growing higher that you were expecting.
Grow Lights Distance Matters
As mentioned above, it is important that you install the LED grow lights at a distance where all the plants can receive enough lights. This helps to ensure that all the plants receive the right amount of light needed to grow and do not overstretch to reach the light source.
While most outdoor grow plants receive the benefit of open-air presence to limit the stretching of plants, indoor operations need other additional factors to maintain including the circulation of air inside the grow space. Sufficient amount of airflow helps the stems of cannabis to strengthen and grow thicker stems rather than thin and taller ones. This way, the plants still grow without overstretching.
Often, unexpected stretching from cannabis plants would not have an effect on the yield or destroy it. In fact, stretching in some cases also helps to increase the yield of plants. For most cultivators with bigger grow rooms, stretching can increase the yield of strains with a more vertical surface area for the colas to grow. However, too much stretching will result in lower yields so it is always best to find a healthy balance.