The importance of a continuous canopy: It's all about EFFICIENCY, baby!

Discussion in 'Basic Growing' started by stinkyattic, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. stinkyattic

    stinkyattic CultiModerVatorAtor

    I wanted to write a thread about efficiency.

    We often see new growers planting a seed into a huge pot 'to avoid transplanting', assuming that the act of transplanting is traumatic to the plant.

    So first off, I'd like to say... IT'S NOT! As long as you do it correctly, the plant will benefit from a correct transplant schedule.

    So, why do we transplant? There are several reasons, and you should understand the theory behind all of them.
    First up is the plant's ability to use all the soil moisture in its pot. A plant that is MUCH too small for its pot can't get to the corners of the pot with its small root system, and as a result, moisture may sit and stagnate, causing root rot, anaerobic/reducing conditions in the soil, and unwanted interactions between fertilizer components. A plant too LARGE for its pot will use water so fast that you can't keep up with watering, and any slight changes in the soil chemistry can lead to wild pH fluctuations.

    Second, the soil itself changes over time, as particles break down, buffering ability is used up, and nutrients are leached out by the activity of roots or flushing action. Old soil in a pot will get to a point where pH changes (usually drops, since most commerical media are peat-based and peat haas a natural pH around 5.0-5.5). As larger pieces of soil material break down, the interstitial spaces between them also get smaller, and the soil holds water very differently. Drainage starts to slow, and the roots again end up sitting wet and stagnant.

    Third, and this is what I want to show pics of, plants potted in large pots simply don't make effective use of either light or space. The goal of an indoor or greenhouse grower is to maintain a continuous canopy so that no light is lost to the soil surface. This is illustrated in the pictures attached, and called 'supercropping' in the nursery world.

    First we see a flat of vegetables sown directly into a tray. This is broadleaf sage BTW. These will be pricked off into their own pots shortly.
    Next, is some young heirloom tomatoes "Mortgage Lifter" sown in nursery 6-pax.
    Next is cannabis given the same 6-pax treatment.
    Then we have a bunch of cannabis seedlings that have been potted-up to 3" pots.
    Finally, some vegging cannabis in 6" pots.

    Notice that the space BETWEEN the plants under the light is always minimized!

    Attached Files:

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  2. stinkyattic

    stinkyattic CultiModerVatorAtor

    This applies equally to from-clone plants as well

    Not only seedlings should be treated this way. Any plant, regardless of propagation method, should be allowed to get just a hair rootbound, then allowed to dry out a bit, before gently upending the pot while supporting the soil and stem with a flat hand, rapping it on the bottom, and letting the intact rootball slide out.

    Shown is what your root ball should look like when you transplant.
    The next pic is a bunch of clones that have just been potted into 2.5" peat pots and can be carried around in a tray and stuck wherever there's a 1x2 foot bright spot in the grow room. I do the hardening-off during this period; the ones with domes are a week 'younger' than the ones without.
    Next, is those same clones given a week or so of veg time to establish a healthy root system and stuck under a HPS1000 to grow on and flower- I don't want to re-pot them until they NEED it, so they are still in those little pots! lol
    Finally, 2 pics of a flower room that shows new arrivals, month-flowering plants, and a few large retired moms in the back corners blocking off those dark edges of the room.

    Attached Files:

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  3. sensilights

    sensilights Registered+

    great post :thumbsup: very informative, i wondered about starting in 4" pots versus jiffy cubes but i think you answered my questions :)
  4. keeko

    keeko Registered+

    excellent job....are those one gallon pots your flowering in or bigger?
  5. stinkyattic

    stinkyattic CultiModerVatorAtor

    Those are 1 gallons that fairly recently-rooted clones are flowering in.
    In the background, retired moms are flowering in 3 gallon squares.
  6. fiddyonefiddy

    fiddyonefiddy Registered+

    so its ok to have them standing close together, a friend said to do that too, because the plants race each other to get the light which makes them grow faster.
    thanks stinky, always with the good info.
  7. Mr. Clandestine

    Mr. Clandestine Registered+

    I totally agree, letting the plants get rootbound before transplanting really seems to make them enjoy the larger environment more. And it really helps when trying to get them out of the smaller pots... you don't have clumps of soil falling out everywhere and disturbing underdeveloped roots.

    Great post! I'd rep ya for it (like you really need more reps anyway ;)), but I gotta spread some around first.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. killerweed420

    killerweed420 Registered+

    Great post stinky. So what in general are your recommended repotting intervals and what size pots should be used?
  9. stinkyattic

    stinkyattic CultiModerVatorAtor

    Okay well I wish I could give precise times but this is something that you have to get a feel for yourself.
    Light, temps, strain, water, medium, drainage/lightness, food, CO2, humidity all impact how the plants' roots will spread out in the pot they are given. You will learn over time how fast your plants grow into their homes. I would definitely recommend re-potting every 6 weeks or less, so choosing a pot that your plant will fill with roots in a month is a good start.
    I go from 2oz per cell 6-pax to 3" pots to 6" quart pots to 3 gallon pots with from-seed plants.
    I go from rapidrooters to 2.5" or 3" pots to gallon pots for flower for from-clone plants running SOG, or if given 2+ weeks' veg time, there is another re-pot step up to 3 gallon pots at about week 3 of flower, when stretch is ended and I can tell the ultimate size of the plant.
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  10. Rusty Trichome

    Rusty Trichome Registered+

    Nice info, Stinkster. :thumbsup:
    All the way up to 1 gallon pots, I slide out the plant from the pot to check the root conditions. Slide back into pot when done checking.
    Using care, it's never caused a problem. (unless I drop the darned thing, lol)
    Quick, easy, no guesswork.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2008
  11. hatch

    hatch Registered+

    Girl You Got Mad Skill's!!!!!:thumbsup:;):Rasta::smokin::hippy::D:)
  12. jash420

    jash420 Registered+

    Many thanks, this post along with so many more have helped out so much, and in the perfect frame of time no less.. Also everytime I read CultiModerVatorAtor it makes me crack up.. Good stuff.. Hope all is well with everyone on this saturday..
  13. Weedhound

    Weedhound Registered+

    Ok ok.....I'll do it with smaller pots've convinced me. Thanks VERY much for adding ANOTHER HUGE CHORE into my already complex life. :D
  14. stinkyattic

    stinkyattic CultiModerVatorAtor

  15. Perp

    Perp Registered+

    This is one thing I've never been clear on. From this part of your post you imply that the roots continue to grow throughout the flowering period. Is this, in fact, the case? Is there a time when the roots do not grow anymore?
    I've always re-potted before flowering and then allowed a couple of weeks veg thinking that's enough time for the roots to spread out into the pot.
  16. stinkyattic

    stinkyattic CultiModerVatorAtor

    Roots continue to grow throughout the plant's life. They grow fastest when they have fresh, light soil to grow into. If you give too large a pot, they just keep growing- it can even appear the the plant is just SITTING there not doing much, but all the action is underground. There's a balance you have to find between root and shoot growth.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. LiGhT420

    LiGhT420 Registered+

    Thanx stinky good thread
  18. Opie Yutts

    Opie Yutts Registered+

    OK, I'm convinced enough to at least give it a try. Makes sense to me. So crazy it might just work. Thank you stinky, and Weedhound for giving me the heads-up.

    (walking to the closet to unearth some youngsters)
  19. adrfern

    adrfern Registered

    First of all good post... i've seen a lot of people who miss this aspect and come asking why there plants have a stunted growth (Then as u pick up the pot u feel the inbalanced weight between the top of the pot and the bottom)

    To add some information if wanted:
    Symptoms that the plant needs a transplant: Plants that have roots that are being limited from a small pot normally have a small amount of branches and overly strech upwards.

    After a transplant (which is the second most traumatic experience for a plant. the first being the clonation) the photosintesis and the production of cloraphil is slowed, therefore it is recommended to transplant at the last hours of the day. That way the plant can recover at night. Also the transplanted plants should have a softer light for 2 days, therefore the leaves can grow at the same rithym that the roots can contribute water and nutrients.

    Tranplanted plants require low levels of nitrogen and potasium, while needing higher levels of phosphorus. Any product that contains Trichoderma fungi or vitamin B1 will help to reduce the shock of the transplant. Obviously is if the transplant is done correctly, textbook, then there won't be signs of stress.

    In jorge Cervanes there is a table that u can use to know when to transplant. Here it is:
    2-6 weeks pot of 10 cm
    6-8 weeks pot of 7,5 Liters
    6-8 weeks pot of 11 Liters
    2-3 months pot of 19 L
    6-18 months pot of 38 L

    (important note: as stinkyattick said, it depends on ur situation and very important is the strain) Also if you use "Spin-out" the plant can stay in a smaller pot longer.

    Question for stinkyattic: Why do u wait for the soil to be alil dry before doing the transplant? any particular reason?
  20. stinkyattic

    stinkyattic CultiModerVatorAtor

    Is spin-out a chemical pruner? I don't believe in those. I feel that they are stressful, and that instead if you want to buy time, you should use an enzyme such as Cannazyme to break down only the DEAD roots. But even that should be approached with caution, as it tends to release a burst of nitrogen back into the pot from the broken-down material.

    I wait until the soil is dry because it is slightly shrunken compared to wet soil, so it slides out more easily. Furthermore, a very wet root ball is heavy and can actually break apart under its own weight while moving. IF you do it on the dry side, the plant will barely notice the transplant until it feels all that nice SPACE, lol!

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