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Three Ways to Supercharge your Cannabis Yields

By Rich Hamilton
Published: June 1, 2022
Key Takeaways

Adding an octane boost to your car doesn’t necessarily make it run better or go faster, and it’s the same with growing cannabis. To get ultimate performance from your garden, understanding your plants and their needs will help your buds go the extra mile for you.

In the world of growing high-quality cannabis, bigger, smellier, and heavier is always the goal. So, what is the best way to maximize your crop’s potential and supercharge your yields? I could talk to you about additives and products you can buy, but I think that’s a bit too obvious, and it also won’t teach you anything.

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An intrinsic part of growing is educating yourself on your plant’s biology. Learn how to read your plants, and you will know the signs to look for telling that your plant is at a peak point. You will get much more out of your plants if you raise them from seed to weed correctly than by adding a miracle product at the 11th hour.

[1] Harvest at the Right Time

It may seem completely obvious, but if you pull your plants before they have finished maturing or when they have gone past their prime, of course, they are never going to be their best. The charts and cycle schedules that come with seeds and even some clones are only a guide. Just because it says the flowering time is nine weeks doesn’t mean that you pull them precisely at that point regardless.

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Pull it too early, and your plant will not yet have produced all its terpenes and cannabinoid-rich oils and trichomes. Pull it too late, and these will already have started to break down. You should also remember to factor in your flush time or any prep time you will need, as if you don’t, this may mean you end up harvesting later than planned. Look for these signs to get it right.

Trichome Color

The appearance of the trichome resin glands on the flowers will change. About half of the trichomes should look milky white, and the other half should be a vivid amber color when your plant is ready to harvest. If there are still clear trichomes, then it’s a good idea to wait a little longer.

Leaf Color

During flowering, nitrogen gives the leaves their green color. However, when it’s time to harvest, the nitrogen levels will decrease, and the fan leaves will turn yellow and begin to fall off.

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Curling Leaves

As well as turning yellow, the leaves may also curl and dry. The lack of moisture is a result of your plants taking in less water as harvest gets closer.

Brown Pistils

For photoperiod strains, the pistils will turn brown when the plant hits maturity. The optimal harvest time is when about half the pistils are brown.

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[2] Get the Environment Right

A steady, well-controlled environment is a key to maximizing your yields. This encompasses the correct temperature, humidity, light conditions, and air movement. By taking care of your cannabis growing environment, you will ensure that your plants all reach their true potential.

Light

The amount of light is a significant factor in determining your yields. Light also changes how your plant grows. Some grow lights like LED grow lights use a custom color spectrum to help your plants grow optimally.

Temperature

Cannabis plants like temperatures in the 65-85°F (19-30°C) range and will run into problems when the temperatures are outside that range. Get yourself a reliable digital thermometer to keep control of the situation at all times.

Air Circulation

Making sure your plants always have a gentle breeze and plenty of fresh air helps them grow faster. A gentle breeze that moves over, through, and under your plants is ideal. An oscillating fan or two can usually achieve this. Good air circulation also helps prevent white powdery mildew, bud rot, and pests like fungus gnats or spider mites.

Ventilation

It’s also important to vent out heat from your grow lights, especially if it’s getting too hot for your plants during lights-on. For each light type, the higher the wattage, the more heat produced. It would be best if you considered venting heat out of the growing area to keep the temperature under control.

Humidity

Depending on the life cycle stage, a correct humidity within the range of 40-60 percent will give you faster growth and more resin production. Too high humidity, and you risk bud rot and slow growth. Too low humidity will cause leaf stress and stunted development.

Finally, make sure your equipment and controls are still working when your lights are off. I know a bunch of growers that when their lights go out, so does everything else. This is a huge mistake.

[3] Get your Nutrient Uptake Working to its Maximum Potential

If you have your environment locked into perfect conditions, then the third way of supercharging your yields is to get the plants feeding as much as they can.

The best way to do this is by keeping to the EC levels for that particular strain (don’t forget, all strains are different). You also need to ensure that your pH is at the correct level.

Cannabis plants can only take up nutrients within a small pH window, ranging from about 5.5-6.5. Suppose the pH is lower or higher than this. In that case, the plant will struggle to take in nutrients, even if they are present, causing nutrient deficiencies via nutrient lockout.

It is a similar situation with EC. EC is a measure of your feeds’ strength. The more nutrient salts in the water, the stronger the feed and the higher the EC. Cannabis likes EC levels of around 0.8-1.3 for seedlings; 0.5-1.3 for clones; 1.3-1.7 for the vegetative phase, and 1.2-2 during flowering. With EC, try and keep to the lower end of the range as if EC creeps up too much because this can also cause nute lockout. You can buy probes that measure both EC and pH accurately in one go.

Check how clean your nutrients are. There are different grades of nutrients, some of which are inferior quality and not fit to be used on anything intended for human consumption. Low-grade nutrients can also throw your EC reading out and give a misleading result. Using cleaner pharmaceutical-grade nutrients will mean the elements in the solution are purer, reliable, clean, higher quality, and offer your plant a better level of nutrition. This can make all the difference when it comes to your yields.

Mycorrhizae is a great tool to ensure that your plants are getting the right level of nutrition. Mycorrhizae is a natural fungi that can be added to your plants’ potting soil from the seedling stage onwards that helps to optimize and strengthen your root zone. A big strong root zone means more ability to take up nutrition, hopefully leading to bigger, better plants and yields. Your root zone is the foundation on which everything else is built, so you know you are on for good results if you get this right.

You have some reliable methods to ensure that your yields are supercharged time after time rather than relying on the latest super product. Practicing these methods is also a great way to learn more about your plants and become a better grower in the process.

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Written by Rich Hamilton | Writer, Consultant, Author of The Growers Guide

Profile Picture of Rich Hamilton

Rich Hamilton has been in the hydroponics industry for more than 20 years, working originally as a general manager in a hydroponics retail outlet before becoming an account manager at Century Growsystems. He enjoys working on a daily basis with shop owners, manufacturers, distributors, and end users to develop premium products.

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