Late in the vegetative cycle of marijuana, as the tallest branches begin to excel upward they can get too close to the light as well as block light from getting to the lower parts of the plant. Using “Low Stress Training” (LST), is one way to safely encourage more vertical growth and help keep the canopy & light coverage even.

Using LST to even out the canopy height

An Afghan Kush ready to get her tallest branches “trained” or bent & tied down to allow others to become dominant tops.


Grow guide for marijuana beginners.
Low stress training is a form of training your plants in a manner which requires virtually no damage to the plant and almost no recovery time. Low stress training, or LST as it’s more commonly referred, is the practice of bending the plant’s highest branch tips down lower, allowing the lower branches to now be at the “top”. This is done to coax lateral growth into vertical tops (colas) and boost lower growth by allowing more light to penetrate the plant.

With the tallest branches now tied down low, the next tallest become the top and vertical growth increases.

The biology behind this is that the highest plant tips contain a hormone that triggers lateral growth into becoming the top when it (the original top) is removed (damage, topping, fimming, etc.), so rather than remove any growth to achieve this, or having to break or snap branches in the case of “supper cropping” LST is done with simple bending & tying (hence low stress).

Branches on an Afghan Kush get Low Stress Training.

The top has been bent low to allow other branches to become tops and let more light penetrate.

As mentioned previous, in addition to the hormone triggered growth, if a plant is receiving an uneven amount of light inner & lower growth can suffer due to low light. With LST you essentially spread the plant out horizontally, throughout available space, spreading the light evenly over the whole plant.

Nirvana seeds, staight from the source!

Jock Horror, Nirvana's "Jack Herer" at week 10 of budding.

Mutliple colas on this Jack Herer via Low Stress Training

Dinafem Haze Autoflower, grown under a Pro-Grow 260X LED

 Haze Autoflower needed no LST

Some strains take better to LST than others. Some bushy Indica phenotypes need little encouragement as their lowest branches often will grow as tall at the top itself, naturally. Certain Northern Light phenotypes and some hybrids like Jack Herer (pictured above), do exceptionally well with a little LST.

The Haze Auto (on the left) needed virtually no training as her lowest branches grew as tall as her top, I did utilize some training merely to open her up and allow better light penetration.

Sticky, sweet-smelling sublime bud!

I truly believe that low stress training properly done will usually improve yields. In the worst case it will surely improve the overall quality of the harvest.

Let me know your thoughts!