Cannabis has been growing in the wild for thousands of years. Before any human manipulation, this stuff grew as wild as it wanted with only the sun as its guide. There were no feeding schedules; no such thing as stress training of any kind. It’s crazy to think of the yields that wild cannabis produces on southern facing hills, brimming with buds without intervention. It’s a different story indoors, where space is limited, and plants cannot stretch their limbs as far. As an indoor grower, you might be wondering, if only there was a way to push our own grows to match their max yield in outdoor spaces, and maybe even surpass it. Lucky for you, there is and it’s called “trellising” your cannabis garden. Not to be confused with a wooden trestle, the trellis net can be the difference between a good yield and a “HOLY GUACAMOLE!” yield. It can also help in keeping a clean grow that is easy to manage, and makes for beautiful, evenly dispersed branches. Finally, and most importantly, it can be the tool that allows you to stress train your plants. This is how growers achieve maximum yield.  Learn how to trellis your cannabis garden from an experienced Denver grower by reading more!

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What is a Trellis Net?

To keep it simple, it’s a net used for growing plants in an organized way. This tool isn’t just for cannabis. Many growers use it for flowers and vegetables to keep things neat and encourage growth. More importantly, it gives plants a place to grow upward and outward. That is what they really love – unbound growth, just like their wild counterparts.

Green cannabis plants growing side-by-side on a trellis system. Trellised cannabis plants growing side-by-side. Photo Credit: David Martin
Most flowers aren’t terribly heavy, but think about a tomato or a cannabis flower. By the time that top cola is juicy with resin, the stem often struggles to support the tippy-tops. These top-heavy stems have a tendency to bend and pretty much appear to flop over. This is why you need the trellis net.  Let your babies grow tall and strong as they want by giving them a brace. It also opens the door for bending and stress-training for added light penetration and light disbursement. Using a trellis also allows for easy and clean understory (otherwise known as lollipopping); they go hand in hand. The difference in your yield could go from ½ pound per light to over 2 pounds per light. A grower doesn’t NEED to trellis their cannabis garden, but skipping out means passing up a lot of benefits.

What Happens if I Don’t Use a Trellis Net?

Truthfully, your plants will be just fine. They will still grow and yield plenty of colas, just as they would in an unmanned, outdoor situation. Passing on the trellis cannabis net, however, can create unnecessary problems. Have you ever walked down an aisle of a commercial grow room that wasn’t properly trellised? It’s almost like walking through a crowd of people as a famous person. Each of your fans has their hand out and basically whaps you as you pass by. In addition to increasing yield, trellises eliminate a dozen other, smaller issues that when taken as a whole can really add up.

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Issues That Occur When Not Using a Trellis Net in Your Cannabis Garden

  • Cannabis plants want to grow like the shape of a Christmas tree and will yield less if not trained and supported.
  • Bugs thrive in a grow without trellising because they can hop from plant to plant much easier. With a trellis, there will be less of a chance for critters due to evenly spaced and trained plants. You can also spot pests faster if the branches aren’t packed on top of each other.
  • Disturbing loose growing colas by bumping into them steals the resin and trichomes, ultimately hurting potency and terpenes (they can also fling backward and smack your eye and that stings). A trellis allows for a degree of protection for both the plant and you.
  • The overall appearance of a grow says a lot about the grower. Not to say a messy, flopped-over grow couldn’t produce, but there is far more trust in product quality when it comes from an organized grow. Trellised grows are easier to monitor and manage.
  • The tops might start falling over toward the end without a trellis, instead of growing upward to the light, which makes them fatter, and again, ultimately increases yield and resin production.

What is the Best Type of Trellis for Cannabis?

There are two types of trellis netting you can use. The first one is made of nylon and is similar to kite string. It’s very sturdy and stays taught without ripping. This type of trellis will be just fine in your cannabis garden, however, this type tends to stick to the cannabis resin a lot more. It gets caught on the colas and can make harvesting a sticky nightmare. The tiny fibers can be found later in trimming and are tough to remove.

Two different grows with cannabis plants, one growing with plastic trellis and the other growing with nylon. The most common trellis used are plastic or nylon. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
The other popular type of cannabis trellis is plastic. This is by far the preferred method when it comes to harvesting the sticky stuff. It unrolls nicely, and stays intact, so won’t be found by trimmers down the road.

When Should a Trellis Net be Installed?

Young cannabis plants on a trellis. Younger plants in the vegetative state need to be carefully trellised to avoid improper vertical growth. Photo Credit: David Martin
There is no “too soon” with trellis necessarily. The plants will grow and find the net in time. Wait until 2-3 weeks into the veg stage if you are not moving the plants into another room or tent to bloom. This gives the most space to work with your babies without netting in your face just yet. If you are transferring your plants to different spaces for flowering, go ahead and wait until then.

Steps to Trellis a Cannabis Garden

Here are the steps on how to properly trellis your cannabis. The technique may vary depending on where you are growing. These steps are best in commercial grows but can be applied to grow tents and even outdoor grows. Keep in mind, at least 2-3 people may be needed to accomplish a setup.

Steps To Install a Trellis:

  • Step 1: Choose which type of trellis you will need – plastic or nylon – then, determine what size of trellis you will need. If just a small tent, find the size that works. Trellis material goes quick, but if doing a commercial grow room, don’t be afraid to go big.
  • Step 2: Measure the distance of your tent or table ahead of time. Unraveling the trellis in the room and just going with it works, but can be frustrating. Handles and corners of a flood table can catch on the netting several times. A good idea is to measure first. Tape can help anchor the sides to keep it steady.
  • Step 3: Unravel the trellis until the right size, then add a bit more. These extra squares are beloved by plants growing at the end.
Wait! Before Moving On: Have you added poles or stakes along your table?  Unless you do this step, there is nowhere for the trellis to attach. Metal works, and bamboo is a popular option as well. Many growers will build out the stakes beforehand, and unwind the trellis onto it.
  • Step 4: Line the net up with your tray, then team-lift it over the poles. Align one end of the net first by placing the squares over one pole at a time. Leave a couple squares on the end.
  • Step 5: Next, have a partner do the same on the other side. Both ends come first, then place the middle over your center poles. The netting should be taught.
  • Step 6: Check that your trellis is taught throughout but not so taught to where it will tear.
  • Step 7: Slowly nestle the netting down the poles in a gentle manner. This is to prevent ripping or stretching, ultimately creating a spilled-over, cannabis nightmare later.
  • Step 8: Start with one layer during veg. You  can add 1-2 more layers of trellis in time. It depends on which strains you are growing. Now just watch the magic happen!

We hope this helps your future trellising endeavors that lead you to better yields and happier harvests.