LST is a technique that maximizes yield, and keeps plants low profile
Low stress training does not require any mutilation or damage to the plant which, for some, is the sole reason to use it above high stress training methods. Low stress training is done by tricking the plant into thinking the apical tips are no longer able to be the apical tips. In nature, if a branch gets blocked by another branch, or a large leaf from another tree, the plant will do it's best to navigate the growing tip so that it can continue growing upwards.
If, however, the plant cannot easily find a way to make that growing tip go back towards the light, the level of auxins will shift, and the lower sites will be called upon to try and stretch up to become the next apical tip.
This process can be repeated over, and over again in our controlled, indoor environments: apical tip grows up, apical tip trained down, other tips grow up, other tips tied down, more tips up, and so on.
There's a couple Different Approaches to LST
The first approach involves constantly training, and untraining, the main apical tip so as to utilize as much of the growing pot as possible. Constantly training a single apical tip:
Before we begin lets get some knowledge on what you will be looking at:
Light Brown: Pot Outline Green thick Lines: Main Stem Small Thin Lines with Green Balls on top: Fan leafs Yellow Lines: Side Branches Red: Tiedown Metal Hooks (or thread whichever item you use, i use Hooks - it's easier) The Text in the box: First digit is Step No. and Second Digit is Pot Size, below the numbers is the type of view your looking at (either from the SIDE or from the TOP)
STEP 1: Grow your plant from a potent marijuana seeds strain of choice to 3 or 4 leaf sets, some use 5 but i always use 3 because after 3rd leaf set the main stem starts to harden and it will be harder to bend over your plant properly without breaking the main stem. STEP 2: Using a metal hook (i cut small sections of cloths hanger and bend a U shape at the end as a hook) bend over your plant with metal hook at the last internode (space between the last set of fanleafs and the next to last) and stick the metal hook into your dirt to hold down the stem. STEP 3: This is really not a step, just waiting time... Take note of how the top of the plant that was bent down will bend back upwards towards the light, this could take anywhere from 3 hours to 1 day. Under my 1000 Watt Metal Halide light it does it in under 3 hours. STEP 4: Veg and dont tie down until you have a new leaf set. You will notice Side branching has started already because good light is getting to the main stem areas next to each fanleaf stem intersection with the main stem. STEP 5: Depending on your starting pot size you may have to transplant. If you started out with a large pot, repeat step 2 over and over again holding the main stem down with hooks until you reach the end of the pot. In this illustration to save time and drawings, i started out with a small pot and it reached the end of the pot after the first tiedown. I repotted it into a 10 inch pot which will be my final pot size for this plant in order for me to continue the LST Bends around the inside edge of the pot.
STEP 6: Now that your new leaf set has formed you have enough length in growth since the first bend(s) to allow you to start bending the stem horizontally around the inside edge of the pot. Use metal hooks again to keep this bend in place. Side branches should be coming along very nicely. Sativa cannabis seeds strains grow faster and produce more stems, indica marijuana seeds varieties will grow half as much.
STEP 7: Continue repeating steps 4 and 6, allowing the plant to grow and then keep tieing it down along the inside edge of pot using metal hooks (or whatever your using) Side branches should be forming and growing up towards the light.
STEP 8: Continue to repeat step 7 until you are all the way around the pot... when you reach the point where your plant first met the edge of the plant Top the plant (cut off the very top of the plant) and hold it down horizontally with a metal hook... During all this time of repeating step 7 you should also be tieing down horizontally the new branches that have formed from the main stem as much as possible until you use up as much space as possible inside the pot as well , the outter branches growing over the outside edge of the pot you can hold down as well with string to keep those tops even with the inner branches. STEP 9: After you have used up all possible space inside the pot (or your eggcrate) its time to just let it flower.. This is a side view of how it will and should look by that time with all the side branches growing upwards towards the light... these will all become Collas unlike a non LST plant will only have one colla.
During flowering and even before due to lack of light on the main stem fan leafs which is all the way to the bottom almost against the soil those fanleafs will die off anyways, i usually cut these off the main stem right after the branch has grown out in that area, keeps things neat down below where you will need good airflow during flowering.. so go ahead and take off any fanleafs coming off the main stem that is going around the inside edge of the pot.
Set your timer to 12/12 and watch it bloom. There is no Step 10 in the picture but we all know what that is HARVEST!!!
Sativa indica hybrids or sativa marijuana seeds strains are suitable for LST as they grow fast and low stress training helps to control their height. Choose a potent, high yielding cannabis seeds variety for LST!
Training every apical tip
The second approach to LST is simple: train every apical tip down until you are happy with the bush you have.
There are many different ways to attach the training to the pot and the plant. In addition, there are many materials that you can use to apply the training.
I prefer using clipped pieces of shielded copper wiring. This reduces the amount of time you have to fuss with knots and the pieces are easily reusable.
For attaching, you can attach the tip to the base of the stem to begin with. From there, you can either put holes in your containers, or tie some rubberbands around the outside and pull the training medium down to them. They just snap in place. Very handy and easy, though the rubberbands have to be replaced:
I have personally used both LST and SCROG and I can tell you that both techniques are mighty effective
Here's one of my plants that I had topped and then tied the 4 branches down using the LST technique. The pics was taken right after tie down.
The thing you have to be careful about is what kind of tie down you use, the plastic coated wire is the best ,as well as pipe cleaners. I had neither so I used wool . Just make sure not to use kite string or any kind of thin string as this cuts into the stem and branches