Scissors clipping cannabis budsWhen it comes to cultivating cannabis, everyone wants bumper harvests. Choosing a high-yielding option like Rainbow Kush seeds gets you off to a great start, but there are ways to boost productivity further. Read on for the best growing methods for yield improvement.

6 Tips to Increase Your Yield

If you’re wondering how to get high yield cannabis, the best place to start is with high-quality seeds. You’re more likely to raise productive plants and avoid cannabis seedling problems with a genetically proven, trusted strain.

The six tips listed below help your plants achieve their maximum potential and produce a healthy crop of flowers. Implement some of these in your grow op, and you may want to buy more jars to stash all those buds.

Three bags representing the three main components of plant food; NPK1. Nutrients

Providing the right balance of nutrients for your plants is essential in raising healthy, productive cannabis. Regardless of the quality of the seeds, many first-timers overlook the importance of nutrients and fail to understand the changing needs of their crops.

Marijuana goes through two main stages of growth once the seedling stage is complete–vegetative and flowering. The nutritional requirements are different for each of these stages.

The three main components of all plant food are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The amount of each contained in fertilizer is known as the N-P-K ratio. Getting this ratio correct goes a long way toward producing vigorous, productive specimens.

Cannabis requires three times more nitrogen than phosphorus and potassium during the vegetative stage. This fact suggests food with an NPK of 3:1:1 is best, but you also need to consider the nutrient content of your substrate.

Most potting soils already contain plenty of nitrogen, meaning a 1:1:1 ratio should suffice for vegetative growth. On the other hand, hydroponic cultivators should use a 3:1:1 formula, as the substrate is simply water.

The early days of flowering see lots of dramatic changes in your plants. At this stage of growth, a solution with an NPK of 1:3:2 is ideal. Once flowering is in full swing, the demand for nitrogen drops significantly.

With the plants’ efforts directed toward flower production, they require increased amounts of P and K. Gradually lower the amount of nitrogen while increasing phosphorus and potassium, aiming for an NPK ratio of 0:3:3 before your pre-harvest flush.

If managing all these different chemicals and numbers seems like too much work, don’t sweat it. There are many fertilizer “bundles” aimed at home growers containing the correct proportions of nutrients for each stage of your crops’ life.

Cannabis plants with large light overhead2. Lighting

Light is crucial for the growth of all plants, and marijuana is no exception. If you’re thinking of how to increase the yield of your plants, before doing anything else, ensure you’re providing sufficient illumination.

Generally speaking, more light for longer equates to increased growth, bigger plants, and more buds, with some minor caveats. It’s not just the size of your lamps but how you use them, that’s important.

The two main factors affecting the effectiveness of your lights are coverage and penetration. Try to use lights powerful enough to consistently illuminate your grow area without being so powerful that they cause your crops to burn.

Getting coverage right boils down to hanging your lamps at the correct height for them to reach all your crops. As for light penetration, the best way to ensure the lower halves of your plants get enough illumination is by pruning, trimming, and training.

Provide enough light, and your plants can perform photosynthesis more effectively. As a result, they grow faster and bigger than poorly lit setups.

While outdoor cultivators can’t do this, indoor growers may extend the length of their photoperiod. By running your lamps for 20 hours instead of 18, your crops receive 10% more life-giving light each day, resulting in speedy development.

Man pruning leaves of cannabis plant3. Pruning

Pruning cannabis for maximum yields is a simple method that all growers should employ. Regularly trimming back excessive foliage concentrates your plants’ energy and efforts toward producing chunky flowers.

Get into the habit of examining your crops from all angles and identifying areas for removal. Prune judiciously and confidently, but don’t go overboard. Work from the bottom up, snipping off older fan leaves and nascent stems lagging behind the rest of the plant.

Remember to collect up the trimmings along with any other fallen leaves from the base of your crops. Decaying matter invites problems like pests and potentially mold into your grow room, so keep things nice and clean.

Cannabis plants held down by mesh wiring4. Low-stress Training

Along with trimming your cannabis for maximum yield, this extra activity can increase your crops’ productivity even further. Training is the process of incrementally directing the growth of your plants.

The goal of low-stress training is to counter the natural growth tendencies of cannabis without causing damage. The conical shape weed plants take is called apical dominance. By breaking this down, plants direct equal amounts of energy to all parts.

Low-stress training gradually changes the shape of your plants, creating a flat canopy of growth with multiple flowering sites. With the entire canopy receiving equal light, your crops produce a forest of colas instead of one prominent central one.

Here’s a brief overview of the two most common low-stress training techniques.

  • Tie-down method: This is a simple way to boost your yields suitable for all skill levels. As the name suggests, this training technique laterally redirects plant growth by tying or weighing the branches down.
  • The Screen of Green: Requires slightly more effort to set up but is easy to maintain and gives excellent results. This technique, sometimes called SCroG, involves installing a grid of string above your crops. As the plants grow, you guide their branches outwards by threading them through the holes.

5. High-stress Training

High-stress training is a more severe way of breaking apical dominance in marijuana. Instead of gradually redirecting growth, high-stress training involves removing entire parts of the plant.

This process is called topping and is usually performed by removing the top section of a plant during vegetative growth. Once recovered from the shock, your crops redirect their efforts to other areas.

While topping does increase yield, you must do it at the right time, or it could hinder your crops’ performance. The idea of chopping up your plants can be scary for beginners, but it’s surprisingly effective.

You can top most strains of weed, with some responding better than others. The only time you absolutely shouldn’t do this is when growing autoflower strains. Their shorter life cycle leaves them without enough time to recover from the stress, negatively impacting yields.

Experienced growers often combine topping with low-stress training to really beef up their yields. With that said, if you’re just starting out, it might be best to stick to low-stress training for the moment.

Yellow tank of carbon dioxide6. Carbon Dioxide

We mentioned above that more light means bigger plants and better yields, which is true, to a point. Under normal conditions, photosynthesis rates plateau after a certain amount of light intensity.

Plants require CO2 as well as light to photosynthesize. Increasing the CO2 concentration in your garden raises the performance ceiling of your plants. With more carbon dioxide, crops can take advantage of higher light intensities and produce more buds as a result.

While the additional cost means most hobby growers don’t usually practice this tip, it’s highly effective. Of course, it’s a little more involved than pruning marijuana plants for maximum yield, so it’s more of an idea for experienced farmers.

If cost isn’t an issue and you’ve exhausted all other options for boosting your yields, consider adding CO2 to your grow op. If the rest of your setup is on-point, and you’ve got the lights for it, adding carbon dioxide takes your plants to the next level.

Hanging cannabis plants with fan blowing on themRecord-breaking Harvests

Now that you’re armed with the best growing methods for yielding vast amounts of weed, put that knowledge to good use. Get yourself some top-quality cannabis seeds and cultivate a massive haul of bud using these productivity tips.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to share it with your growing buddies on social media. More bud in the world is never a bad thing.

Author Kyle Kushman

Closeup profile picture of author Kyle KushmanKyle Kushman is an American writer, educator, activist and award-winning cannabis cultivator and breeder specializing in veganic cultivation. He is a representative of Homegrown Cannabis CO company, has been a contributor for over 20 years, and has taught courses in advanced horticulture at Oaksterdam University in Oakland, California and across the United States. Kushman also hosts a cannabis podcast called “The Grow Show with Kyle Kushman”.