If you don’t have a lot of space for your cannabis grow, you might be searching for more real estate. Instead, think about how to make the space you do have work for you more efficiently.
That’s where SCROG (short for “screen of green”) comes in, because it’s designed for grow operations with limited space. The SCROG technique uses screens made of wire, mesh or thread to keep tall plants growing neatly in straight rows. SCROG shouldn’t be confused with SOG (for “sea of green”), which exploits short, bushy plants to grow outward in small spaces.
SCROG maximizes yield while using only a small amount of grow space. If done correctly, lighting also becomes more efficient. Smaller warehouses, grow rooms, refrigerators or other closed-grow compartments can all maximize yields while reducing energy use.
SCROG is best for sativas or sativa-dominant hybrids. Because sativas tend to grow tall and lanky, their structure can lead to growth inefficiency; slumping, slouching branches may snap or fail to collect as much light as they could. SCROG gets around this structural handicap by shaping the plant during its vegetative stage. The shaping period ensures all the plant’s colas are facing the light source.
If you’re growing sativas, or sativa-type strains that grow tall and lanky, SCROG may be suitable for your grow. Common cultivars that work well under this method are Durban Poison, Super Lemon Haze, Northern Lights, AK-47, American Kush, and Heavyweight Fruit Punch.
First, you’ll need a mesh or net. This screen can be made of metal, twine, cords or anything that’s appropriate for your situation. Per 1 cubic meter of screen, you can fit about five to six plants.
Second, there’s actually two ways to SCROG: vertically and horizontally. Both methods require “threading” the plant’s stems during vegetation. Allow time for the stems to separate and shape themselves around the screen before initiating a flowering light cycle. The time needed for the shaping process can take anywhere from a week to three weeks, depending on the plant.
Vertical SCROGs are a form of vertical growing. This technique positions and shapes the cannabis plant to grow upward through the screen, with the buds facing out of one side and one side only. The bud-side must face the direction of the light source. The screen openings should be about 5 cm2 wide. Some vertical SCROGs will roll the screens around a single light source, with the bud-side facing the inside. Vertical SCROGs work best in rooms with a lot of space.
On the other hand, horizontal SCROGs maximize the potential of smaller spaces. A horizontal SCROG places a screen over the tops of the plants, with a 5 cm2 opening for each cola. Once correctly positioned, the plant and its branches should form a canopy over the screen. The light source is placed directly above this canopy. Any fan leaves or stems underneath the screen should be pruned away to avoid wasting energy and to prevent mildew.
SCROG requires a lot of planning and some investment. Also, it’s a technique recommended for experienced growers only. Additionally, because it takes some time for the plant to adjust to the screen, the vegetative cycle may require more time, and this may add a few weeks to a harvesting schedule. Some SCROGs may require more water, too.
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