Super Cropping Cannabis: All You Need to Know

Last updated: 2 June 2023

super cropping cannabis

Super cropping cannabis is one of those plant training techniques that separate a newbie from a seasoned grower while being amazingly easy to master. So, don’t waste your time – try it on your next crop and maybe set your new personal record in terms of yields and the quality of the smoke.

What is Super Cropping?

super cropping marijuana

It’s not the most descriptive term in our hobby, but super cropping cannabis is another way to manage canopy growth. Like all of these techniques, it results in a better-shaped canopy, more efficient use of lights, and most importantly, oversized, heavy buds at harvest. Super cropping starts by softening and crushing the main stem or a branch between your fingers and then bending it and tying it down, usually in a horizontal position.

The crushed site will soon heal and form a knot or callus. It will be even stronger than before, and you’ll get a more level canopy where every bud sits in a sweet spot in terms of light intensity and gets a chance to grow huge and dense. Many super cropping enthusiasts also swear that the stress inflicted on the plants this way makes them tap into their inner reserves to create more potent and fragrant flowers.

Why You Should Choose Super Cropping

If you look at online reports, you’ll most likely see growers super cropping weed as an afterthought. People see that the main stem has overtaken other branches, and they either run out of vertical space or have to keep raising the light until the lower branches are too far from it to get enough energy. In this case, crushing and bending the too-tall branch is the only way to limit the plant’s height.

super cropping technique advantages

However, other gardeners use super cropping strategically – as a way to manipulate the canopy into the shape they want right from the start. It’s debatable, but the benefits of super cropping cannabis plants could go even beyond other low- and high-stress training techniques.

  • (Proven) By keeping the height of the plant in check and ensuring all tops are at the same level, you get bigger harvests with buds of the same size, density, and texture.
  • (Proven) The ‘knuckles’ left behind from super cropping strengthen the branches to bear the weight of hefty buds.
  • (Slightly controversial) Limiting the length of branches improves the flow of water and nutrients to the tops, leading to higher yields.
  • (Controversial) When branches are super cropped, they become thicker, allowing them to transport more water and nutrients.
  • (Controversial) The stress caused by the damage of super cropping makes cannabis flowers produce more THC and terpenes.
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What You Need to Super Crop

tools for super cropping

The list of super cropping tools is very simple. You’ll need:

  • A steady hand
  • Latex gloves (optional)
  • A bunch of ties
  • Wooden stakes
  • A roll of duct tape

These are basically the same things that you need for LST, plus duct tape for emergencies – when you apply too much pressure to the branch or it’s too woody and snaps as a result.

When to Start Super Cropping

In a real-world scenario, you’re most likely to super crop your weed during the flowering stretch – when this high-stress method is the last resort in your battle with a plant that’s too tall for its own good.

However, we recommend starting any form of training, including super cropping, in the vegetative phase. It allows you to gradually give your plant the exact shape you want. Besides, softening a stem or a branch with fingers is less traumatic when they’re still green and pliable. Stopping any super cropping manipulations a week before the start of flowering will give your cannabis just enough time to recover.

How to Super Crop Cannabis Plants Step by Step

super cropping algorithm

Step 1

Select a spot on the main stem or a too-long side branch where you want to super crop. Avoid super cropping too close to the top, such as less than three nodes from the apex.

Step 2

Hold the stem between your thumb and index finger. Gently press and roll it until the inner tissues are crushed. Try to keep the outer tissues intact, but if they split, don’t panic – they’ll heal eventually, and you’ll just need to secure them, probably with a piece of duct tape.

Step 3

As soon as the spot you’re crushing is soft enough, bend the stem – usually at a 90-degree angle – and secure it in place with a piece of twine, a zip tie, a stake, etc. If the stem is very long, you can super crop and bend it in several places.

Step 4

Keep in mind that bent branches tend to resume vertical growth as soon as they’re left alone, so continue to tie them down as they grow. Maybe simple LST will be enough, or maybe another super cropping session will be required.

Super cropping instantly redirects the energy to other branches. Use this to spread them carefully and give the canopy the shape you want.

Super Cropping Tips

We haven’t talked about the dangers of super cropping so far, but they do exist, and the tips below will help you super crop the main stem and side branches in the least risky and stressful way.

Wash Your Hands or Use Latex Gloves

Branches often crack when super cropped (especially on older plants), and there’s a risk of infecting the wounds, so keep your hands or gloves clean.

Be Gentle But Persistent

The younger the branches are, the easier they are to handle. When it comes to old and hardened branches, you’ll need to thoroughly crush them before you can bend them. Don’t hurry, but be prepared to go all the way. Vertical splits are practically unavoidable, and so are the thick, bulging folds in places where you bend the stem.

Help the Wounds Heal

super cropping help the wounds heal

In most cases, the plants will recover on their own, even with the damage sustained to them. However, if you want to be on the safe side or if the damage is significant, bandage the branch with duct tape. If necessary, support the branch by tying it to another nearby branch or to a garden stake. You can remove the tape in a week when the wound has healed.

Can I Super Crop Cannabis Plants Outdoors?

Yes, outdoor plants can be super cropped just as easily, though the reasons might differ. Usually, you want to use this method to make the plants less visible. You can also super crop the plants started indoors so that they’re more compact when you’re ready to transport them to your guerilla garden.

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Super Cropping Autoflowers: To Do or Not to Do?

The common advice is to avoid high-stress training (HST) when growing autoflowers, especially if you’re a novice gardener. However, keep in mind that modern autos can survive even more stressful procedures than super cropping, so weigh all pros and cons and act accordingly. The rule of thumb is to use HST when there’s no other way of controlling the height.

When Super Cropping Might Be a Bad Idea

Never pile up stress on top of other stress. If your crop is already suffering from overwatering, overfeeding, or pest attacks, let it recover and resume active growth before attempting super cropping. Try not to super crop during flowering, but if you do, the best time is within the first two weeks. Estimate the stretch potential of your plant as early as possible, and if you expect trouble, act swiftly before the tops start pushing the light.

Super cropping (or any other form of canopy management) during late flowering will distract your cannabis from producing buds.

Nevertheless, super cropping – as a last resort – is still better than cutting the top clean off.

Topping vs. Super Cropping: What to Choose?

In terms of stress, super cropping is halfway between simple LST and topping. This means that if stress doesn't worry you, you should top or FIM your plant. If stress is a concern, super cropping is the way to go. Super cropping also makes your canopy more tangled and difficult to maintain, while topping is a cleaner way to achieve a bushy plant.

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Is Super Cropping the Same as Monster Cropping?

They may sound alike, but these two techniques are entirely different. We hope you now have a clear idea of what super cropping cannabis means, while monster cropping means cloning a plant that has already started flowering. Usually, you don’t do this and only take cuttings from a plant that’s still in veg.

A Fun Way to Outsized Harvests

Compared to its raw power and efficiency, super cropping cannabis is a surprisingly simple growing technique, and we encourage you to use it when the situation calls for it. It may sound scary, but all it takes is a leap of faith to set you on a road to better yields than ever before. If you want to extend your arsenal of green-thumb tricks further, explore our blog to find out more about cannabis cultivation techniques. Happy growing!

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Marc Lefebvre Canada
We were having a conversation about this today in my grow group. It was a name this technique question. Thanks for the info. Very interesting.
Hello Marc! Thank you for the comment, it's nice to hear you find it interesting :)
Thomas F
I like the idea of super cropping over LST and will be trying it future grows, including autos. Thanks for posting this guide.
Hello Thomas! Thank you for the comment - we're glad the guide is helpful and hope the technique will work out very well!
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