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Low Stress Training (LST)

How to Grow Marijuana with Low Stress Training (LST)

What are Low Stress Training Techniques for Cannabis and Why Use Them?

Low Stress Training, or LST, refers to any method of training your cannabis plants without causing them stress in the way that topping or pruning might. As with most methods of trying to improve the yield of your cannabis plants, LST seeks to make the most efficient use of light. According to the inverse square law, the intensity of light radiating from a point source is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from that source. As far as the cannabis cultivator is concerned this means that the best light is at the top of the plants (if they are lit from above) and the lower branches receive a far poorer quality of light, seriously under achieving their potential.

LST methods usually involve pulling the plant downward to present it in a more lateral way, exposing more of its lower branches to the light and allowing a more equal distribution of light intensity. The increase in bud formation on these branches results in a higher yield per plant, and also a higher yield per watt of light. Meaning more bud for less bucks.

How to Grow Marijuana Using Low Stress Training

Despite being designed to minimize stress on the plants, many growers actually use a combination of LST and topping. The process starts with topping. This involves cutting or pinching out the growing tip of the plant below the end node. By removing the tip, the remaining stump will produce two (or more) new shoots and, once they have grown, these in turn can be topped. Topping can be done any time after around a month of vegetative growth, when the cannabis plant has at least 4 or 5 nodes. Theoretically you could keep topping for as long as the plant is in vegetative growth. But too much topping can stress a plant so most growers restrict it to 2 or 3 times. Topping is a good method on its own to keep your plants short and bushy and will produce several kolas instead of one.

Having topped your plant, and having several healthy shoots growing vertically, you simply pull back the branches, downwards and outwards. Most growers attach the branches to the pot with strings, although people use everything from wire, to pipe cleaners to retractable lanyards. A slight amount of built intension, such as an elastic band between two lengths of string, can help keep a constant pressure on the branch. You can either attach screws to the pot to tie the string to, or just use some duct tape. It is important that the strings are padded where they meet the plant, so as not to cut into the branch. Don’t be in too much of rush to train them. Slow and steady wins the race. As the plant grows gradually increase tension on the strings. The lower branches of the plant are now exposed to the light and the top branches are lower down, enabling you to have the light nearer to the whole of the plant. Using the low stress training technique will greatly increase your yield.

Of course, you don’t have to top your plant first. It is possible to bend the single growing tip of an untopped plant down and train the plant to grow low, either along the ground or in a circular way around the pot. This works in the same way as a gallery tree that you might see in a forest, where a tree has fallen and its side branches grow vertically to form a row of new trees. If the cannabis plant is trained along the ground by either tying or attaching it with wires, the side branches grow vertically, presenting new growing tips and kolas.

Are All Types of Cannabis Suitable for LST?

Most types of cannabis will adapt to Low Street Training. Indicas are often more favoured because of the improvements that can be made to their generally underproductive side branching. But Sativas respond equally well given plenty of space, and with their naturally strong lateral branching can produce impressive yields. We recommend Dance Hall, Super Lemon Haze and Cream Caramel.

Check out our cannabis strain review guide to find out the origins of your favorite weed.

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Rating: 8.4/10 (22 votes cast)
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From the forum

How to Grow Marijuana Forum - Growing Marijuana Indoors & Hydroponics

22 thoughts on “Low Stress Training (LST)

  1. secret Santa says:

    is it better to let them go wild or control them

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
    • Mentallyhayzed says:

      The more control, the better. You can control growth, light, and stages, it ensures more quality and production from the plant. If left wild anything could happen to stressing the plant to hermephrodite out in unhappiness. It all depends on the care and time you want to put into the plant, and the quality you want from the genetics of the plant.

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  2. Jeff says:

    New to this, “Topping”! Where exactly is the “Growth Tip, and the “End Node”? Please be very specific.

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    Rating: +3 (from 9 votes)
  3. gio says:

    in how long does buds star coming out around what day?

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    Rating: -3 (from 3 votes)
  4. […] Dance Hall marijuana is a good looking plant and will take on an attractive purple hue towards the end of flowering, particularly outdoors in lower temperatures. With many lateral branches Dance Hall weed responds well to training techniques such as Screen Of Green and Low Street Technique. […]



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    Rating: -8 (from 8 votes)
    • Richard Vert says:

      My friend. put down the pipe and pick up a book.

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      Rating: +9 (from 11 votes)
    • Mentallyhayzed says:

      The idea is to prevent the stalk from drawing in oxygen and killing itself. Just as cloning, oxygen can be an enemy as a bubble in the ‘clip’ stage. Same idea, you do NOT want over exposure and lose the plant. Two other ideas is just use water to keep burlap wet, and second, they make a tar for roses in case of stalk damage. I would check into that.

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    • Mentallyhayzed says:

      I would try a band aid. Get a strip of burlap to wrap around stalk, soak burlap in root or a growth hormone, wrap gently around stalk. Wetness should hold burlap, if not add a small strip of MASKING TAPE, anything else might cut of circulation in stalk if done to tight. Check in 3-4 days if stalk is acting healthy, remove, if not then reapply for another 2 days and check.

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  6. Glow says:

    Whats the best way to hide the smell without a carbon filter

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    • Mentallyhayzed says:

      A high circulatory flow provides advantages for smell reduction, also using dryer vent pipes as exhaust ports. You can get the length needed to run to a low or non traffic area to exhaust. Becareful as not to create so much flow you begin to oxygen burn your plants. Ideally at certain connect points cutting a heater filter and inserting it to catch particles will also reduce smell. Just remember to install “flow” side correctly. Heater filters are designed to catch particulates so they will need to be cleaned or replaced so-often. Most will agree an active charcoal filter cannot be beat however.

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    • Hugo Richard says:

      Live in Colorado or Washington State

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      Rating: +17 (from 19 votes)
  7. Glow says:

    This really worked I have 3 plant and they are doing grate thanks

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  8. Mike says:

    Haven’t grown before, but I’m interested. I was wondering if anyone’s tried using mirrors to concentrate the light around the entire plant and if that’s worked.

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    • Cennith says:

      Mirrors actually absorb a lot of light so are not great for concentrating light. The best material is Mylar sheeting, a shiny metallic substance.

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      Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
      • Matt says:

        The best reflective material would be Panda-Polly, not only is it tough but the white side of it is very reflective and its very easy to work with.

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        Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  9. Gareth says:

    Not sure it really matters which strain Fishmon. Just pick one and go for it, and make a note of what you do and the results. You can only read so much, the rest is about your own observations and experience.

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  10. Fishmon says:

    Very interested in LST. Have just started from clones.One super skunk, one sour diesel, and oh yeah! lets not forget the Cheese.
    Any suggestions on which strain I should start LST with.
    I’m outdoors and a rookie.

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