When you are training your autoflower plants with LST or even some light HST methods like super cropping then you will inevitably get in a situation when you have done too much damage to your plants and need to fix that damage. It does not matter if you are a beginner or an advanced grower because each cannabis strain has different growth characteristics and even being very cautious with your training methods does not guarantee that you won’t damage your plants once in a while.
There are multiple ways you can hurt your autoflowers when training them but the most common are:
- Bent / Folded stems – The most common damage that you can inflict on your autoflower plants when you are training them is to fold or bend over the stem of a branch. When you are pulling your plants stems too strongly with LST then if the stem that you are training is too rigid or you are training it too fast then it can easily fold in half. When this happens then your plant won’t be able to support itself anymore and the ben’t over stem will still grow but it will be super-cropped and will stay down if you don’t support it. When this happens you have two choices that are:
- Leave your plant alone – If you don’t wan’t to support your plant then you can easily leave it alone and that bent stem will continue to grow but because it will be lower than the other stems it will get less energy and less growth. In a couple of days the tissue in the place where the bending happened will harden and will start to form a bulge that will look like a knuckle and if you let your plant grow then later on this stem will become almost as strong as it was before folding but will still remain in that folded position.
- Support the folded stem – But if your branch has been folded too low and you want it to get as much light and energy as the rest of your plant then you can support it with a stick from the ground or tape it together in a straight position with duct-tape. In time this folded branch will also form harder tissue in that bending site and you will be able to remove the support system.
- Broken stems – When you are training more rigid plants or doing the training in the flowering growth phase then you can also get not just folded but broken stems that will stop growing if left untreated. If this happens and you see that your stem has been broken but is still hanging on by a thread then you don’t have to panic and you need to quickly mend it together with duct-tape or a support structure just like you would do with folded stems. Autoflower plants are strong and they wan’t to survive so they have evolved a mechanism how to mend their wounds and if you act quickly then there should be no visible reduction in growth or en yield on the branch that has been broken and fixed afterwards.
- Detached stems – But the most stressful thing that can happen to a plant is when a branch snaps completely in half and there is not even a single thread that connects it with the main plant anymore. If this happens then you again have two choices:
Remove the detached stem – If the stem is broken in two separate parts and the portion that has snapped off is small then you can just trow it away and let your plant continue growing producing more branches and stems. Because in this situation it is much harder for your plant to fix the damage even with your help, then, if the damage is minimal, maybe the best course of action really is to trow that broken branch away!
Try to fix the damage – But if your plant is still in the vegetative growth stage and your broken branch is fairly large then you can also try to fix this situation with the same duct-tape and support system method. Because there is no connection between the two branches then the success rate will be lower but you can still try and if your autoflower does not heal then you can trow away that stem and hope that your plant will regroup and you will not loose that much end yieald.
How to fix damage?
I like to use duct-tape to mend my plants because it is easy and inexpensive and it has worked for me almost every time. When I get a bent or broken stem I just put it back together in a straight position and glue the tape around the wound. This tape will act as a support system and also will not allow the stem to move around so that it is easier for the plant to heal itself. I usually don’t remove the tape until harvest but if you like, you can remove it after two to three weeks.
As you can see then fixing broken, detached or bent over stems is not that difficult and if you ever get into this situation then simply tape or support your branch and allow the plant to heal itself!