One of the most distressing concerns for marijuana growers is leaving their plants’ safety in the hands of the sunlight cycle. Or controlling the light/dark periods artificially.
That’s one gap that autoflowering cannabis greatly fulfills. But how do you maximize autoflower yields? That would be the main pressing issue when it comes to growing this cannabis variation.
Autoflowers basically rush through their vegetative stage and enter flowering without asking for permission. So, there’s virtually no way to extend their growth period.
That’s why this is the do-or-die phase between having a great auto crop or a disaster. We talk extensively about the veg stage in this article.
Today we’ll share our best tips to make the most out of your autoflowering grow.
- How do you maximize autoflower yields?
- LST to maximize autoflower yields
- Feeding schedule to maximize autoflower yields
- Light schedule for optimal autoflower yields
- Wrapping Up
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How do you maximize autoflower yields?
What doesn’t start well can’t end well. That means that we need to get things right from the beginning. Therefore, here’s our first tip: do not transplant autoflowers.
Autos don’t really appreciate being transplanted because they don’t have enough time to recover from that shock. So, sow the seeds directly in their 3-gallon pot. Or you can follow our tips to plant your seeds more effectively.
That said, the key to maximizing autoflower yields is realizing that every stage and action you perform is crucial because you won’t get the chance to mend things or extend the veg stage to let the leafy girls recover.
One of the best ways to increase your yields is plant training.
LST to maximize autoflower yields
Specifically, low-stress training. Don’t perform HST on autoflowers or you risk ending up with the meager yields ever.
Start low-stressing your autos as soon as they enter the vegetative stage. This usually happens 2-3 weeks from germination, when your plant shows the first set of iconic fan leaves.
Here are three LST techniques to maximize autoflower yields:
The tie-down method
The tie-down method is a must-do. It’s the easiest LST technique and produces excellent results. Stop by the closest garden center for this one and get some plant wires. Otherwise, you can use shoelaces or any other strings. You just need something that won’t cut into the plant’s tissue.
Once you have your tying material, drill some holes close to your pot’s brim. Or use pins if you’re using a soft pot. Whatever you’re using, just remember the optimal way to do this is to tie the branches down to evenly spaced spots in your pot’s brim.
Doing this creates a flat canopy of foliage that allows for better use and distribution of the light.
Find a bamboo stick or something like it and stake the plant’s main stem to help stabilize it against the pull of the tied-down branches.
Once your plant starts showing signs of flowering, stop low-stress training, as this could negatively impact the final quality and yield.
The screen of green (SCROG)
The screen of green, on the other hand, is a little more advanced technique, but it also produces better results than the tie-down method.
The first step to this LST technique is building the screen. You’ll need a sturdy structure with evenly-spaced square holes. Use whatever materials you have in hand that fits your budget and garden setup.
Then you will install the screen. You can either hang it from well-secured overhead fixtures or fix it to any support structure below. Install the screen a couple of inches above your seedlings’ top for the latter.
As the plants grow and enter the autoflower vegetative stage, insert the branches through the screen holes, making sure you’re spreading them out to form a flat canopy. Pull the branches away from the central stem to achieve this.
The goal is to enhance light exposure. You can also prune away any weak branches or foliage below the screen. This way, the plants stop wasting energy on small branches and buds and redirect that energy into producing more dense, bigger buds.
The vertical screen of green
The vertical screen of green produces outstanding results. However, it’s way more advanced and requires more upkeep than the other LST techniques. Therefore, it’s not a feasible method for everyone, but for those growers with a larger garden setup and some growing experience.
The goal is to create a wall of green facing the lights directly, which must also be installed vertically. There’s also an alternative method that creates a cylindrical growth setup around a tubular light installment.
Yes, it’s way more time-consuming and high-maintenance than the others. But, for the same reasons, the outcomes are simply impressive, even for autoflowers.
Check out the video below for visual reference:
Feeding schedule to maximize autoflower yields
Another simple way to maximize autoflower yields is by getting it right with the feeding schedule. If you keep them happily nurtured, then you avoid nut burns and other developmental issues that can shed your final yield in half.
Now, every living organism is kind of unique in its own way. Therefore, feed schedules, light/dark periods, and the like are not set in stone. We’ll share what a standard feed schedule looks like.
However, for optimal results, we suggest you keep a grow planner or journal to keep track of the nutrient amounts and the water you feed your autos. That’s the best way to compare your grows, learn from mistakes, and find out what works best for you.
Depending on your specific strain, your autoflowers could do better with a heavier nutrient schedule. Learn more about autoflower nutrients here and experiment until you find the best plan for your grow style.
- Week 1 (Seedling) – pH-adjusted water
- Week 2 (Seedling) – pH-adjusted water
- Week 3 (Vegetative) – 1/4 grow nutrients
- Week 4 (Vegetative) – 1/2 grow nutrients
- Week 5 (Preflowering) – 1/4 grow nutrients + 1/4 bloom nutrients
- Week 6 (Flowering) – 1/2 bloom nutrients
- Week 7 (Flowering) – 1/2 bloom nutrients
- Week 8 (Flowering) – 1/2 bloom nutrients
- Week 9 (Flowering) – 1/4 bloom nutrients
- Week 10 (Late Flowering) – pH-adjusted water
Light schedule for optimal autoflower yields
Cannabis growers deploy three main light cycles: 24/0, 12/12, and 18/6. Which one is the best? Let’s see.
24 hours of light/0 hours of darkness
Some growers give 24 hours of light to their plants, arguing this could maximize the plant growth and, thus, the final yields. Cannabis plants can absorb CO2 for photosynthesis, even during light hours.
So, some cultivators think giving them 24 hours of light can boost their growth. And hey, we have seen great results with this light schedule. Watch out for the electricity bill, though.
12 hours of light/12 hours of darkness
Cannabis growers know that only 12 hours of light is not enough. Yes, you can still produce decent yields, but the buds will be noticeably smaller than the ones grown under more extended light periods.
Why on earth would someone do it, then?
Well, for starters, you could save a ton of money on your electricity bill. Besides, if you’re growing autos alongside other photoperiods, you have no choice but to keep them on a 12/12 schedule.
18 hours of light/6 hours of darkness
According to many growers, this is the best schedule for autoflowers. While there’s no proof that the 24 hours of light is better or worse, some of us are convinced our plants would be thankful for a “short rest period,” so we give them 6 hours of dark.
With this light cycle, we’re cutting back on the electrical bill (compared to the 24/0), but we still get big, fat buds.
Our advice is if you switch between one and another light schedule and find what feels best for you.
Read Also: Breeding Autoflower Plants
Autoflowers are reasonably easy to grow. It’s not rocket science. However, if you’re serious about your plants’ health and the yields you want to achieve, it’s best to take a closer look at the growing style.
I hope these articles can help you get the best of your auto seeds.
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