If you’ve spent time learning about growing cannabis, you may have come across the SCROG, or screen of green method used to train growing cannabis plants. 

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Using SCROG, growers can achieve maximum light exposure for their plants and grow more colas, or top buds (flowering sites for female plants.) Instead of creating a single top bud, you can now produce several, maximizing your harvest.

This technique should not be confused with SOG, or sea of green, a method that uses many plants and reduces their time spent in the vegetative stage.

What Is The SCROG Method?

A crucial part of any indoor harvest is the lighting. SCROG was developed as a more efficient way to distribute light to the crops in an even, controlled manner. Making the most of the energy used can save growers money in the long run.

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The main feature of the SCROG method is a screen, which can vary from chicken wire (popular but difficult to work with because of the small holes) to mesh netting or even twine. While the screen is a main feature of SCROG, the success of the method is much more reliant on properly making use of the screen.

As plants grow through the screen, and the harvester must continually pull down the branches and loop them back through the screen. They will receive more light exposure and consequently create more budding sites, which will produce a larger harvest.

With standard grow methods, the cola receives the most light, and the lower buds on the plant receive less the further down you go. The SCROG method divides the main cola and raises the lower buds up higher.

How To Grow Plants Using Screen of Green

scrog in a commercial gros iStock / SEASTOCK

You’ll need to have your screens as close as possible to your lighting setup if you want a successful SCROG operation. You’ll need to find a way to mount your screen so it’s close to the lights and in a good position for your plants grow through. SCROG works best for small amounts of plants, and you’ll need to leave ample space between them to make moving them around easier.

An easy way to mount the screen is to stretch it across four posts around the perimeter of your plants. Zip ties are a simple way to keep the screen connected to other objects. Make sure it’s tightly installed so it provides good support to the plants and be sure that it’s evenly distributed and level.

Your plants should all be a similar size when you SCROG because it’s difficult to evenly distribute your plants and keep the screen at a level position as they grow if they’re all different sizes.

Don’t overcrowd your plants when making the setup. They all need plenty of space to be able to weave their branches and growths through your net. If you have a good sense of how you’ll be able to get in and move around, you can probably gauge your spacing by eyeballing it. General guidelines fall somewhere around one plant for every 2’x2’.

You can top your plants and put the screen on to allow them to grow through the proper holes from the vegetative to flowering stage. As the branches begin to poke through the holes, you can start moving them to their own individual space in the net. Now, you can induce the flowering period of your plants by changing the lighting schedule. You can also force flowering just before they begin to grow through the screen.

Now, just sit back and train the plants. Whenever they begin to grow in new directions in the screen, you can just guide them back to the empty spaces. As they continue to grow this way, you’ll notice large buds and multiple colas that have thrived from the extra light they’ve received.

Why SCROG At All?

When you SCROG, you make taking care of your plants easier. No matter the plant’s size or position in the room, it should be getting equal access to resources using this method, which will provide a more abundant harvest.

You’ll also have way more control over the growth of your plants using SCROG. Plants can be rotated, readjusted, and manipulated easily when they’re in a secure screen. If any of the plants go bad, you can easily cut them out without hurting the rest of your crops.

Some growers claim SCROG-ing helps them double or even triple their harvest with the same number of plants. If you’re working without a lot of space but want to maximize your output, SCROG may be a good method.

Final Tips for Screen of Green

There is a fine line between training your plants or damaging them, and it’s important to be gentle as you SCROG, especially if this is your first time. Overall, this technique is easy to employ and not likely to damage the plants. Tuck gently, because breaking branches can hurt growth.

SCROG is a technique meant for indoor growing. Don’t waste your time setting up a screen if you have an outdoor harvest.

Plan ahead for the flowering stage, as this is where the magic of SCROG happens. It’s important to leave room for the extra growth that will come from this stage and anticipate getting your hands in there and moving stuff around.

Chicken wire is a popular choice and will do the trick, but it’s definitely not a favorite among growers. Using twine or a mesh netting may be easier because you’ll leave more space to get in and out. Plus, chicken wire holes are poky and you’ll probably end up having to cut yourself more space for yourself if you’re using it.