In laymen’s terms, super cropping is bending or pinching the stem, causing slight damage. The plant repairs this damage, making a stronger stem that for some reason creates much larger buds. Some people completely break their stems and then repair them using bandages or splints. We don’t need no stinking bandages!
Try treating your plants as individuals, not just like a single garden. Get in touch with each strain or hybrid you grow, determining how much it will stretch and if it does best topped or—like a rare few—better un-topped. Try some of these techniques on your plants and I know you will be amazed at the outcome.
Super cropping is a technique that took me forever to understand and even longer to apply properly with positive results. I figured it out by mistake, to a large degree (and also by watching MzJill). The easiest way I can explain is if a plant is injured slightly, it will repair itself, and in doing so, create a stronger branch. This stronger branch will produce a larger bud. The application of course is a bit more difficult, but I will attempt to explain it because it’s very important with indoor gardens since super cropping can produce a stronger plant with a more rigid frame.
The key is to bend or flex the stem so that you damage the inner core of the plant without completely breaking the stalk itself. The good news is that if you do break one, you can simply reinforce the break point by positioning a bamboo stick or even a splint made from a stem and a few wire ties. It will grow back in days and form a knot. From that point on, the stem will be larger.
I was first taught to grab the plant down low at a branch and twist until I heard a small pop. You don’t even hear it so much as feel it, but there is only one point on the plant where this will happen and it became easier for me just to smash the plant slightly using two fingers. Don’t squeeze too hard and only slightly bruise the stem for best results. If it flops over, support it with a stick or make a splint with tape or wire ties.
Using these methods, a plant that usually grows just a few shoots directly upwards can be shaped into a large bush. I have seen small plants develop as many as 30 growing tips from one container and one single plant that was trained really well.
The other important aspect of this technique is that I believe older clones produce better medicine. A plant that is grown into a large bush with multiple growing stalks and a huge root system seems to produce a bud with more character and always-large flowers. I have seen people turn cannabis plants into bonsai plants, so they are clearly absolutely trainable according to your needs.
I apply the same methods to my tomato plants outdoors and we have so many that we have to donate them to the local food bank. Even fruit tree growers prune and train to increase their production of fruit; and what is a bud but the fruit of the Cannabis Tree.