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Cannabis Stem Splitting: All Of Your Questions Answered

stem splitting

We’ve already dipped into topics concerning low and high-stress growing techniques, but there are some even more intense techniques out there. One such method is called stem splitting. Although it’s been in practice since the 1970s, stem splitting continues to generate conversation in the cannabis industry. The question being asked among most growers is this: should you take the blade to your marijuana plant? Read on to decide if stem splitting is for you.

What Is Stem Splitting?

Stem splitting is the act of cutting into your cannabis plant’s main stem in the days leading up to harvest. We know, we know, this sounds like the last thing you should do to your plant in such a fragile stage of growth. But hear us out: a lot of professional growers swear by this high-stress technique, claiming it makes for bigger yields, more trichomes, and improved bud potency.

Why Stem Splitting Makes Sense

Why should slicing into your cannabis plant yield better weed? Growing techniques like topping and super-cropping are generally ways to stress out the plant to your benefit. Something like splitting the stem causes a lot of stress for the plant, encouraging it to take in more nutrients. More nutrients mean more growth – in this case, denser buds and a higher concentration of trichomes. Increased trichome production is the goal that cannabis growers are trying to achieve by splitting stems in the last days of flowering. The biological purpose of trichomes – aside from getting us high – is actually to protect the cannabis plant against illnesses and pests. By tricking Mother Nature into trying to protect herself, we get more potent buds in the end.

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Cannabis Stem Splitting: The Technique

Don’t start hacking into your cannabis plants just yet. Take a moment and read through our technique for stem splitting. It’s better to go in with a plan! You’ll need just a few materials to get started.

Equipment

Before you get started, you’ll need to collect a few things you probably already have lying around the house:

  • A small, sharp, clean blade (like an X-Acto knife or paring knife)
  • Chopsticks, pencils, toothpicks, or skewers to separate the stem
  • String or tape to mark where you’ll cut the stem

Directions

splitting stems

Once you’ve got your tools in place, all you need is surgical precision. You aren’t going to be sawing away at your plant; rather, you’ll be carefully splitting the stem open as if you were giving your plant a little surgery. Keep in mind also that stem splitting is a practice best suited to outdoor crops. You can try it with your indoor plants and still be successful, though!

Step 1: Mark Out The Incision Site

Start by locating where you will make the incision. Just below the lowest branches of the plant, mark out an area down the stem that’s about 10–20cm (4-8 inches) in length, depending on the size of your plant. Mark the top and the bottom of the area by knotting string or taping around the stem.

Step 2: Cut Through The Stem

Next, insert the blade through the stem at the highest point of your marked off area. Slowly and carefully, cut a straight line right through the center of the stem. Run the knife down to the lower mark, keeping it stuck in the stem for the next step.

Step 3: Slide The Chopsticks In

Using your knife and chopsticks (or pencils, skewers, etc.), pry open the cut and insert up to three chopsticks, depending on the size of your plant. Once you have them inside the incision, remove the knife and space out the chopsticks. That’s it, you’ve done it!

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Frequently Asked Questions About Stem Splitting

Now that you know how to split the stem, you probably still have a few questions about the risks, timing, and effectiveness of the practice. We’ve got you covered.

When Should I Split The Stem?

When it comes to stem splitting, remember: Timing. Is. Everything. Most growers tend to favor the last week of flowering before harvest, although others suggest splitting only in the last 3 days before harvest. The general consensus is 7-10 days beforehand, but one thing’s for sure: if you split too early, your marijuana plant won’t be happy about it. The last thing you want to do is ruin your crop by splitting the stems before it’s time.

What Are The Risks Of Stem Splitting?

As just mentioned, stem splitting can be really hard on a plant because of just how aggressive this technique is. Subjecting your cannabis plant to high levels of stress just before completion of the bloom cycle is risky. We recommend only experienced growers branch out into this technique, especially those who are really trying to push their potency to the limit for concentrates. Stem splitting is also not advised for autoflowering strains, as it’s simply way too extreme for them.

Has The Efficacy Of Stem Splitting Been Proven?

Many skilled growers swear by stem splitting as a way to pump up their harvest in both potency and yield. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of scientific data to back up these claims. All we know is that stem splitting supposedly originated in Holland back in the 1970s. We can’t point you in the direction of hard data, so it’s up to you to decide whether or not you believe the hype.

Improved Potency, Here We Come!

The idea of splitting the main stem of your precious marijuana plant may seem pretty brutal. But hey, expert Dutch growers know best, right? It wouldn’t be a popular technique if it didn’t work! This one goes out to all you veteran growers out there: have you tried this technique? How has it worked out for you? Let us know in the comments below!

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Comments:
0
Matt
Love it
Reply

1
Tangerine Man and Diesel
Experienced grower indoors been reading up on the stem splitting. Trying for the first time on our 2 plants coming to harvest will keep yall posted
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0
Herbies
Hello Tangerine,Thank you for the review, we'll surely be happy to hear from you regarding the progress
Reply
1
King canna
Timing depends on growing media. 7-10 days for soil . 7days max for coco and 3days for hydro
Reply
1
Fumig8 Growlab
Heard of splitting the stem for a long time now. Think i will attempt this harvest.
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4
Mogreen
I started smoking and trying grow weed back in the 70’s. Back then it was a practice to drive nails into the stalk
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1
Mohamed Khalifa
I planted one seed and planted it after germination as usual. After a week realised the tiny growth of 2 stems. Luckily could easily separate them and planted each again in a separate small pot to continue vegetation and growth till I can transplant them again in a bigger pots. The question is …. What is better for the plant to keep it in dark or light in order to recover the root is opened while separation process and for how long? Or is it better to continue the normal light cycle 18:6, I read some comments to leave them in dark for complete 3 days but I am not convinced. Appreciate expert feed back to recover plant shock safely.
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0
Herbies
Hello Mohamed,More light means the plant is working harder and will likely produce a greater yield. At the same time, a plant that is working extra hard is more susceptible to deficiencies and other problems. When you reduce the light hours for the vegetative phase to17 or 16 a day, this will give your plants more time to recover.
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0
Trichome Genetics
We do it every round 2 weeks before chop chop 💪👃
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0
Jimmy
Just tried at week 09 of flower
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0
Jp
Can you still split the plant if you’re flushing them out the last two weeks and they’re grown in coco?
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-1
Herbies
Hello JP,Yes you can, usually that is done a few days before the harvest to achieve extra properties to that harvest
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1
Biggdongrowing
No use flush in coca you can then put it in dark 4 days then back to light for week 8 hours a day guaranteed primo bud
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0
Joe
I'm trying it
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3
Paul
I read all kinds of hype about stem splitting,I’ve heard, “yeah while your at it, Pee on them too, then, place da whole root ball into boiling water, then Harvest” - OfCourse this is just some SmartAss - JackAss, that thinks there’s only 1 way - Their Way - to do Anything! (I’m lookin at U forum) Let Me be Clear, I don’t know if it does or doesn’t but I’m Not Fool Enuf to be so closed minded that i wouldn’t listen to the theory anyway - I tried it, 5 years ago, and I Split Every Cannabis Stalk I Grow since first try - AMAZING BENNIES! So have at all da Closed Mindedness and BLAND POT - My Stuff FLIES OFF da Shelf😉 HAPPY GROWING
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0
L Bud
Pee on it, huh....sounds like R kelly method.
Reply
8
Herbies
Hello Paul,That's one way to describe your opinion about this article, thank you :) Your experience will definitely be useful for the beginners
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0
Roostar78
Was on the fence about the whole thing till reading this....... Definitely going for it now. Thanks Paul
Reply
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