Culling the Cannabis Garden

This concept is going to sound backwards to many of you, but our years of cannabis growing experience have shown that the best way to produce the highest quality product is to cull plants at each stage of growth.  Professional gardeners know this rule well, but most cannabis growers do not. In fact, it seems backwards to many cannabis gardeners to throw out plants as they are transitioned through the different stages of the plants life-cycle (i.e. clone/seedling, vegetative, flowering) as they have put effort in keeping these plants alive and as healthy as possible. However, culling plants at each stage will produce a more robust and higher yielding crop through the selection of the strongest individuals and the discarding of weak plants.

Written By Celia Daly
December 11th, 2014

This concept is going to sound backwards to many of you, but our years of cannabis growing experience have shown that the best way to produce the highest quality product is to cull plants at each stage of growth.  Professional gardeners know this rule well, but most cannabis growers do not. In fact, it seems backwards to many cannabis gardeners to throw out plants as they are transitioned through the different stages of the plants life-cycle (i.e. clone/seedling, vegetative, flowering) as they have put effort in keeping these plants alive and as healthy as possible. However, culling plants at each stage will produce a more robust and higher yielding crop through the selection of the strongest individuals and the discarding of weak plants.

The Logic Behind Plant Culling

As plants grow, their true character comes out. Plant growth characteristics can be delineated as: sensitive to low, medium or high amounts of dissolved solids in water, preference for direct or indirect light, susceptibility or resistance to disease and pests, short or long internode length, etc. Some are large growers, some are not. Some are prone to bugs and infections while others are more hearty. Some can thrive on limited nutrients and others need to be pampered to reach their full potential.

These differences cannot be seen simply by looking at a seed or clone cutting. Instead, they only show up once the plants have a chance to grow and are exposed to your individual growing style and cultivation environment. As such, it is recommended to cull plants at each stage, before moving them into the next phase. This means that you survey your crop, select the best ones to move on and destroy the rest.

Let’s repeat that, at each stage of the grow, throw some plants away and keep only the best performers.

In order to make this work, culling losses must be factored in from the beginning.  For example, let’s take a conservative estimate of 10% culling loss at three stages; clones, rooted clones, and vegetative growth.  Using this formula requires about 140 initial cuttings for every 100 plants that end up in the flower room.  This culling loss can (and should!) be adjusted based on your success rate and cultivation style.  When losses are not factored in from the start the pressure to produce often overrides plant quality.  Gaps in your healthy plant count are filled with less than desirable replacements which in turn brings yield potential down and increases the potential for pest/disease incursion, both of which create more work for facility personnel.

The Rewards of Culling Plants

By doing this, the plants that make it through to harvest will be the best performers. You won’t be struggling with underperforming plants or playing “catch-up”.  The culling process can help avoid many common cultivation setbacks associated with pests, disease, and genetic drift, since sickly plants are often the most vulnerable.  The plants selected in this process will produce higher yields and better looking products.  You will easily be able to make up the cost of starting extra plants through the quality of the ones that make it to flowering.

Share:

Featured Articles

Engineering Greatness: Meet Kenneth Loshelder, PE

Surna is extremely thankful for Kenneth and all that his team of engineers do for our company and for our clients. With over 15-years of experience, he has built a career focused on environmental consistency and energy efficiency. He encourages cultivators to engage with experienced mechanical engineers early-on in the buildout process. We asked Kenneth to answer some questions and lend valuable insight into the construction of cultivation facilities.

HVACD MEP Coordination for Cannabis Cultivation

Effective HVACD coordination is a key component in minimizing frustrating and costly construction delays in cannabis facility buildouts. There are a number of considerations your MEP team address in all stages of the project, from pre-design planning, to commissioning and beyond, in order to provide a comprehensive HVACD coordination effort.

What Causes Construction Delays for Cannabis Facilities?

Construction delays can be costly and frustrating. While it is impossible to see into the future and prevent everything that could conceivably go wrong when building out such a complex project such as a cannabis cultivation facility, there are several steps cultivators can take to minimize the risk of project delays and stay on schedule.

Grow Room HVACD Maintenance Plans: Getting the Most Out of Your Investment

Without a proper HVACD system maintenance plan, your energy bill will increase, your equipment could fail, and your plants will suffer. Avoid these problems and keep your climate system in working order with the help of this guide.

5 Reasons Why Your HVACD System Isn’t Performing

Our recognition in the industry as the experts in cultivation climates means that we are often asked to diagnose performance failures in systems not of our design. When we audit these systems, we find there are common themes as to why they aren’t performing as expected. Let's discuss the most common reasons we find for issues with HVACD system performance.

Hot Weather Growing – Cannabis Cultivation in Extreme Climates

There are so many options for climate control in cultivation facilities, and it’s possible to implement an affordable, energy efficient system that meets your budget and lasts for decades - even in hot weather cultivation climates. Start by choosing a qualified, experienced mechanical engineer like Surna for your team to help evaluate those options and ensure that you stay on the path to profitability, even under the extreme conditions of the Arizona desert.
Sign up to read our blog.

© 2021 Surna. All rights reserved.

Atarim

Dive straight into the feedback!
Login below and you can start commenting using your own user instantly

Surna Scroll to Top