Grow Methods- Using a Screen - Sea of Green

Please be sure to see my second post about using a screen after you read this....
You can increase the growth area by training your plants, this can be good if growing in small spaces.
You can use a screen to maximze plant growth, especially in areas with a low height.  The screen should be set about 1-2 feet above the planting medium, if possible. There are two purposes for that gap. First, you have to get your hands underneath the screen in order to handle the plant shoots and to water the plants. Second, there needs to be sufficient space for the plant to branch. Branching is essential to Screen training. Some growers prefer shorter gaps for smaller lights, as little as 4-6" between screen and plants when using fluorescent lights is ok.
Note that the screen does not have to be absolutely flat, and there are good arguments for bending the screen to match the curvature of the light field. I think most growers have tall plants on the outer edge of the grow area and shorter plants in the middle so you can set your screen up like this if you wish.
This type of method of growth is great for clones. Clones are set under the screen at a density of about 1 plant per sq. ft. Experience in using the method with various types of plants may result in more or fewer plants, but 1 per ft. is a good starting point. Note that plant density is much lower than for a normal or more traditional  plant growth method That means fewer clones to manage and fewer plants to be cloned. One 8 site clone bucket could supply you with all the clones you need.
The clones are established and kept on 24 hrs or 18/6 until they show new vegetative growth. About the time where the growing tips penetrate a few inches above the screen, say at two weeks, the lights are switched to a 12 hour dark period if you are growing plants that produce in the fall. The plants will continue to grow, filling the screen with growth. At a density of 1 plant per ft., it usually works out that the plants stop and "crown off" just as the screen is filled.  Note that this timing method is not universal. Different plants may require more vegetative growth, or perhaps even less. My advice is to start by flowering asap the first time, because overgrowth of plants will not increase yields.
Training really isn't difficult. With a limber plant I usually let the shoots grow vertically above the screen and then pull and bend them under the wire re-orienting the stem horizontally under the screen to line up bud/flower sites with screen holes. You don't have to tie anything down, as the upward pressure of the stem will hold the foliage to the screen, but some growers like to tie off stems to the screen during the early phases of screen filling.
Some plants have brittle stems, and are difficult to train. It is possible to bend a stem by crushing it lightly at the bend. So long as the vessels in the plant that carry fluids aren't damaged too much, the shoot will heal and be just. It may also be possible to top brittle plants under the screen, so that the future growth will be in several, more slender shoots.
The second pruning step occurs during and after the screen is filled. All growth under the screen must now be clipped off. Shaded growth quickly shrivels and dies, leaving ideal growth mediums for mold. Excess leaves and shoots should be clipped close to the stem, to avoid leaving stumps as mold sites. Subsequent pruning is really limited once the plant starts flowering and stops growing.

Click here to see my second post about using a screen....

Click here to read a post comparing SCROG to a traditional grow method

Good Growing
Dr. E.R. Myers

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