The “Screen of Green” method, better known as “ScrOG” is a technique that helps you produce a beautiful, even canopy while optimizing your yield per square foot. The theory behind scrogging is to manipulate the plant's branches to grow horizontally, rather than vertically, so that more flower nodes are exposed to their energy source (light!). Scrogging is traditionally a technique used in indoor grow operations to maximize the yield, but forms of scrogging can be utilized in outdoor grow operations to enhance the quality of your final product.
In this Grow Guide, I'm going to walk you through four simple steps that will help you reach your very own Screen of Green.
Step 1: Screen Your Green
One of the most important components of the Scrog method is the screen itself. The screen serves as a support system for your buds as they develop, so it needs to be sturdy and able to hold weight. The screen can be created from a variety of materials depending upon your budget, access, and grow room set-up. At TKO Reserve, we use plastic trellis netting for our screen, with t-posts or wood posts to hold the net in place. Since we typically grow in long, community beds, this style works perfectly for our canopy. However, there are a variety of methods to choose from; some growers opt for metal screens while others like to make their own out of tightrope. The only requirements for the screen are that it is made from a sturdy material with 2” x 2” squares, other than that you can get creative!
Once you've decided on a material, it's time to install your screen! The best time to install the screen is during the vegetative stage when your plants have grown into thick bushes. Make sure your screen is securely attached to a wall or post and gently bring the screen down on top of your canopy. Try to bring the screen down as evenly as possible, guiding the tops of your branches through the 2” x 2” squares in the screen. Once the screen has reached the halfway point of your canopy, you can fasten it permanently in that position. If any branches were bent in the process, you can go through and straighten them so they shoot directly up through the screen.
Another method of scrogging is to place the screen above your plants and wait for them to grow up into it so you can manipulate the branches as they reach the screen. This technique also works great and may minimize any damage to branches, but in my professional experience, carefully bringing the net down into the canopy and then weaving the branches throughout the screen produces the best results.
Step 2: Weave Your Green
Alright, now that the screen is in place, it's time for the fun part: weaving! This is the step where you manipulate each branch to expose it to the most light possible, which will, in turn, give you more dense and resinous flowers.
Each plant should have anywhere from 10-20 branches stretching through the screen. In this step, we will be strategically weaving these branches throughout the screen. Starting with the outermost branches, begin pulling them outwards and weaving the branches through the net, expanding your canopy with each manipulation. By looping the branch over and then under, you're ensuring the stability of that branch throughout the flower cycle. In other words, make sure a thread of the screen is wrapped gently around the branch so that it doesn't fall down when the developing flowers begin gaining weight. Continue around the plant, weaving and stretching branches horizontally throughout the screen. Don't worry about the tips of the branches not facing towards the light because they will quickly adjust and straighten themselves out. Once you have woven most of your plant, you will notice that screen space is diminishing, leaving some branches in the center of the plant without a home.
For these center branches, the best strategy is to top them. We've discussed topping in a previous Grow Guide, but for a quick refresher, all you do is precisely cut the very top nodes off the branch at a 45-degree angle. This may seem counterintuitive, but by removing the very top of the branch, the lower nodes will start receiving more direct nutrients and energy, thus developing into their own full-on colas. Essentially, you are turning one cola into two colas, or possibly even four or five colas if you're lucky!
Pro-tip: If your branches are slightly brittle and not willing to weave through the net, you can always use clips or ties to secure the branch to the screen without bending the branch too much.
These manipulations lock the plant in an optimum location which will help you produce a beautiful, even canopy that has quickly become the trademark of the scrogging method.
Step 3: Trim Your Green
Now that your canopy is looking nice and even, you can see that there is quite a lot of growth underneath the canopy lacking direct light. In this step, you will be removing any branches that either aren't receiving light or aren't reaching the screen. Similarly, remove branches and nodes that are growing away from the light (pointing downwards) so that the plant's energy is all directed vertically towards the light. If you don't remove these underneath branches, they will use the same amount of energy as the top branches trying to produce flowers, but the flowers will be wispy and not as potent because of their lack of light exposure. Focusing all the energy at the top of the plant will create the largest yield, the most potent flowers, and the happiest grower.
Step 4: Flower Your Green
After all the manicuring and manipulation has been completed, it's time to begin flowering! Seeing as this is primarily an indoor technique, you have the power to start your plants' flowering cycle whenever you choose by switching the light cycle to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. During the first three weeks of flower, your plants will experience explosive growth. To keep your Screen of Green under control, revisit the screen every couple of days to tie down the new growth and make sure all your branches are exactly where you want them for the flowering cycle.
There you have it … Four simple steps that enhance the quality of your harvest and double, or even triple, your yield! After a few runs of experimentation, you'll be a scrogging expert too!