Pruning and Bending
Pruning is a process of pinching the top shoot(s) so that the plant will grow bushier and provide more tops, while staying shorter. Pruning is recommended if the vegetative cycle is long enough for the hormones to effectively transfer to the new set of tops (at least one month of vegetative growth after pruning is recommended).
The plant hormones in the plant’s top shoot are auxins, which cause a plant to grow tall. Auxins travel to the next set of top shoots after the original top shoot is removed. With pruning, auxins will form in several shoots to promote several leaders of new growth.
Pruning a month before flowering or even earlier (anywhere from two months after germination) will result in more tops. These tops may be nearly identical in size and should be close in size to that of the top had it not been pruned.
Pruning may be done more than once during the vegetation process, thus creating a flower-multiplying effect. Some strains accept pruning and grow large buds, while some strains will have downsized bud production as a result of pruning. Once again, it is good to have an affiliation with and history of desired strains, so that production is maximized with pruning methods.
Bending is a process of physically moving a limb, branch, or main stalk to a new position. There are many ways of doing this. A piece of string or twine may be tied in a knot around the limb and then tied to a hook on a wall or a stake. Netting can be placed over the garden to position the limbs in a desired spot.
Bending allows shoots that have been deprived of light to receive intense light. The exposed shoots can now put on mass much more quickly than when exposed to low light levels, which causes slow and unproductive growth.
Different strains grow differently in terms of the number of leaves that receive more direct light. Bending is done to obtain maximum light for the inner vegetation and to ensure that all vegetation receives more light. Bending is a good idea indoors or out, but the limbs should not be bent too hard or beyond a point they can’t take physically. Getting this right will take practice, but yields will always increase.
If a limb breaks, a grower should immediately look at the vegetation along the broken limb to see if it looks normal. If it is not wilted, then string or tape can be used to secure the break. The limb may also need careful staking. If the limb is severely wilted, cutting it off carefully will permit the plant to heal itself.