How to scrog autoflowering cannabis plants

Not to be confused with another popular growing technique, Sea of Green, Screen of Green is just that. The method uses a ‘screen’ to boost green growth, for optimal results. Using SCROG methods for autoflowering plants has been debated since the varieties emerged onto the scene. So, is Screen of Green beneficial for autoflowers? Let’s find out, as we explore everything you need to know about the SCROG technique for autoflowering cannabis plants.

What is Screen of Green

Screen of Green or SCROG, is a method of using a net or screen to promote horizontal versus vertical growth of cannabis plants. Why? We’ll get more into the benefits next, but basically to maximize optimal light exposure to the top main colas. As plants grow upward, growers install a net or screen just slightly above the plants, for the buds to grow through. After passing the screen, branches are tied and weaved through the net, manipulating their direction of growth.

The Benefits of Screen of Green

While the SCROG method does take additional work, and experience to perfect, it can be highly beneficial for your end results. Here’s a breakdown of common Screen of Green benefits to consider –

  • Better support  

    When a plant’s bud or branch is provided with support, it can grow stronger. This helps optimize development, for higher yields overall.

  • Bigger buds

    Again, the support provided by SCROG methods promotes stronger growth. More support, and stronger growth = bigger buds..

  • Maximum energy use

    Similar to Sea of Green methods , you’ll begin trimming and pruning lower growth when SCROG’ing. This diverts energy to the most important parts of the plants, further adding to bud size. Plus, you’re receiving optimal light exposure and energy to the most important part of the plant – the top canopy of main, fat colas.

  • Maximizes space

    Screen of Green helps to uniformize the structure of your plants, which maximizes your use of space. SCROG is also ideal for low clearance areas, or ceilings, since you can manipulate the height of the plant with the installed screen.

The Drawbacks of Screen of Green

Like anything in cannabis cultivation – advantages come with disadvantages, too. Before considering SCROG for your grow, be sure to be aware of the following drawbacks with this approach.

  • Difficult with multiple varieties

    Because of differing heights and plant shapes, indica and sativa varieties are not easily combined in SCROG setups. It’s best to grow the same type of plant, or even the same strain, to maintain uniformity. Sativa autoflowering strains are recommended, since they’re more apt to stretch during growth to utilize the screens, best.

  • Obstructed access

    As you can imagine, with a screen over the top of your plants access will be somewhat restricted. Drip irrigation systems are common for SCROG methods, for this reason, to make feeding and watering easier.

  • Time dedication

    With Screen of Green, you’ll have to monitor and maintain your plants more than normal. Watch growth carefully to attach any new bud growth, and keep your eye out for pests or molds that can spread easily.

How to Scrog with Autoflowering Plants

Bamboo scrog net under LED big light with young flowers of marijuana with self watering

Using SCROG with autoflower plants somewhat varies from regular photoperiod varieties. Because there are no separate veg or bloom phases, it can be difficult to figure out when to install your screen. For the most part, it’s best to begin the Screen of Green method with autoflowering plants, when buds begin to appear. When that occurs, here are the steps to take and a few tips to follow for ultimate success.

  1. Gather the materials you plan on using, which may depend on the budget you plan to spend. Minimally, you’ll need a type of screen, scissors and stakes. Here are a few examples of common materials growers use for SCROG –
    • Plastic nets or screens, chicken wire, nylon netting, hemp string, fishing line or metal wiring.
    • Bamboo stakes, PVC piping, wood, metal or plastic frames.
  2. Secure your screen using ties to the frame, or posts about 20 to 25 inches from the top of the plants. Ideally, when your autoflowering plants are about a foot or 12 inches in height.
  3. As colas and branches begin to break through the screen, you’ll bend the branches beneath the screen. You can attach them horizontally with green ties for additional support. Continue this step as the plant continues to grow.
  4. Once your plant has significant growth above the screen, prune the bottom branches.

You’ll find as you move forward with the Screen of Green method, that you’ll develop your own groove, for what works best with the strain or space. With that said, lastly, let’s review the final precautions for SCROG methods with autoflowering plants that you should keep in mind as you go.

SCROG Tips & Precautions

SCROG does vary slightly for autoflower varieties than for photoperiod plants. For ultimate success, bear in mind these key points –

  • Topping

    Normally, topping isn’t recommended for autoflowers to avoid stress to the plant. But, some growers have been experimenting with the technique and finding success. Topping plants produces additional side colas, which can be beneficial for maximizing yields.

  • Avoiding stress

    Again, autoflowers are more susceptible to stunted growth from too much stress. So while implementing any technique like defoliation, pruning, or topping, go slow at first to watch the overall health of your plant.

  • Optimize airflow

    Optimal airflow is also vital for the health of SCROG plants since they grow tightly together. Defoliating lower branches will help, ensure you install fans or an air exhaust system to keep a good flow of fresh air.

Screening for Green Success

As you can see, the SCROG growing method takes some time to implement and get used to but can be worth the extra work. By providing additional support, Screen of Green is highly beneficial for maximizing space, for optimal yields. Which is even more advantageous for growing smaller autoflowering plants. So, if you’re looking to get creative with your next plot and boost results – use this information, and tips to do so wisely.


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