Grow Report Week 8 | Photo-Period Change, let the Stretch Begin!

2 days after starting the stretch, plant are showing strong signs of growth

Hey there and welcome (back) to Free The Tree!
This week we finally started the Stretch 🙂 The Potassium deficiencies we were seeing totally stopped spreading which means they now have sufficient levels so we’re good to go!!

On the top picture you can see that out canopy is far from being even which isn’t great, we’re planning to do some FMIing and pruning during the stretch to get that all evened out 🙂

Here’s what we’re going to cover:

18/6 to 12/12 – Starting the Flowering Stage

In order to get the flowering stage going we need to change the photo-period from 18 hours of light to 12 hours, triggering the wanted change in behavior.

All we’re doing by changing the light cycle is imitating nature, where by the end of the summer the number of daylight hours start being as close as the number of night hours.
The most important thing here is to make sure that they’re in full darkness during the night hours, irregular lights may produce hermaphrodites, which no-one wants (except for seeds)

The days after you change the light period you’ll see your plants starting to grow strongly. By the end of the first week some pistils should also start appearing.

Using a light timer to change from 18/6 to 12/12

Mechanical Timer for Photo-period control

Week 1 of the Stretch – Strong Vegetative Growth

Over just 7 days they’ve all grown a whole lot but I think the most impressive is the Cheese plant, she’s doubled in size which is pretty cool since she was the smallest plant.
It might just be a visual thing though, since she only has 1 main coals whereas the others have multiple.

Here’s a couple pictures of the stretch

First day at 12 hour light cycle

Day 0 – Tonight the light will shut off earlier

Day 6 – Strong Growth, grow room is full

Plant training started with pinching and fmiing the taller colas

Day 7 – FMIing, Pruning and Pinching

For more, check out the section on Strech in our Flowering Stage Article

On day 6 and 7 we decided to start pruning a whole bunch of branches and leaves (mainly branches).
Let’s get into why we did this

Pruning leaves and branches during the Stretch

Since there was such a strong growth during this first week we decided to go for a round of pruning on the 2 Big Buddha Cheese plants.
These 2 gals have produced just to many side branches. If we had kept them this way we would have a bunch of small buds instead of a nice and strong ones. In order to avoid this we’ve removed all the small branches that didn’t show potential.

Whether it’s because they had no direct access to light, better looking branches next to them had more potential or the bud sites were too far apart, they’re gone, without going overboard of course.

Here’s a couple pics (as always click on them for the full view)

Grow room too full

Day 6 – Before first round of branch pruning

about 15 colas removed from the 2 big Buddha cheese plants

Grow Room after pruning

all the leaves and branches pruned off the plants

About 10 branches removed

There’s another reason for this pruning we didn’t mention above and this is the room around the Colas.

If you’re colas don’t have enough room around them they will basically race each other to the light source. This will make some lengthy and weak stems, which won’t be able to transport many nutrients, thus producing smaller buds.

You want the leaves of your different plants to overlap or touch as less as possible.

Super Cropping the top colas

As you may have noticed our Big Buddha Cheese plants are much, much bigger as the others and some of those cola’s are way taller than the others, which is an issues for the light balance..

In order to keep our canopy as even as possible we’ve decided to super crop the top Colas. This has 3 advantages

  1. Folding the cola reduces its height
  2. While she recovers growth will be slowed on that colas
  3. Once she recovers she’ll be able to store more nutrients within the stem.

We’re currently writing the guide on super cropping, we’ll link to it as soon as we’re finished with it, meanwhile here’s a couple pictures of the process.

Weed plant much taller than the others

Cheese plant before super cropping

apex folded and tied with string

Apex Folded  and tied horizontally 

Super cropped Apex

View of the Horizontal Apex

Check out our Plant Training Guide

We repeated this process with every auxiliary branch that we decided to keep. She will be working at repairing these sections, making them more resilient.

Alright folks that’s all for this one!
Until next time, be safe and grow easy 😉

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