What to Do if Your Cannabis is Growing Too Tall

As a cannabis grower, you must pay attention to various details. One element you might not be aware of is the height of your plants. In case you’re unfamiliar with cannabis’ natural state, it grows in a “Christmas tree” formation, with a single stalk that branches out wide at the bottom and narrow at the top. 

Some cannabis strains can grow much taller than others, with various plants growing taller than most humans. While these heights are impressive, they could lead to some issues with cultivation and harvesting. 

So, with that in mind, let’s discuss why cannabis can grow so high, why you should care about it, and what you can do to prevent it. 

Why Does Your Cannabis’ Height Matter? 

Tall plants may seem beneficial at first, but there are a few drawbacks, such as: 

  • More Noticeable – Even though cannabis legalization is sweeping the US, there are still stigmas surrounding the plant. Also, because marijuana is a profitable substance, enterprising individuals may try to steal some. So, taller, more noticeable plants could attract the wrong kind of attention. 
  • Less Light on Lower Branches – As with all plants, cannabis needs lots of sunlight to thrive. While a taller plant may seem like it’s doing pretty well, the bottom sections will get much less light than those closer to the top. When trying to maximize your yield, you must find a way for each section to get as much light as possible. 
  • Damaged Plants – Typically, cannabis grows really tall because it needs more sunlight. Also, because this growth still occurs during the same cycle, the stalk is usually not as strong or rugged as it would typically be. So, taller plants could start to bend over and potentially break. If this happens, you could risk an entire plant’s worth of buds. 
  • Lack of Space – If you’re growing cannabis indoors, you might not have much room for the plants to grow as tall as they like. This problem is worsened if you’re growing multiple layers of plants on movable racks. 

Overall, you need to maintain control over your plants and keep them short, lean and spread out as evenly as possible. 

Top Reasons Why Cannabis Might Be Growing Tall

Understanding why your cannabis is growing tall can help you mitigate the problem and cut it off before it becomes too severe. These reasons include: 

  • Lack of Light – Maybe your lights are too high up, or they’re too weak for the plants to photosynthesize correctly. Regardless of the problem, cannabis will grow taller and thinner to satisfy its light needs. 
  • Taller Plant Varieties – Some strains of cannabis grow tall no matter what, so you need to pay attention to what you’re growing before planting it in your operation. 
  • Longer Vegetative State – As a grower, you must control the various stages of your plant’s life cycle. By keeping them in the vegetative stage for too long, they’ll grow to massive sizes. 
  • Red-Dominant Light – Weak sunlight can cause cannabis to grow tall just as much as a lack of it. These plants grow in the spring and summer when the sunlight has more of a blue spectrum to it. So, if you’re using red-dominant lights, the plants won’t get as many nutrients, causing them to grow higher in search of better light sources. 

How to Manage a Tall Cannabis Plant

Fortunately, there are quite a few ways to manage your plants and prevent them from getting too tall. These methods also allow you to expose your plants to more light and absorb more nutrients, creating a larger and more profitable yield. Here are our top picks for how to control your cannabis: 

  • Bending and Low-Stress Training – As your plants enter the vegetative stage, you should bend the central stalk downward, so the plant grows horizontally, not vertically. Then, as branches spread out, you can bend these down too. The goal is to make your plant as wide and flat as possible. This way, each section gets as much light as the next. 
  • Topping – Cutting off the top of the plant is a fast and easy way to expose the bottom sections to more light. The added benefit of topping is that the main stem will branch off into two, meaning you get more buds. If you do this after the vegetative stage, you’ll do more harm than good, so keep that in mind. 
  • Screen of Green (ScrOG) – This option is similar to low-stress training, but you have your plants grow up through a wire mesh. This way, you can tie individual branches to each wire, so they spread out as much as possible. Many growers love this tactic because they can increase their yields without adding much extra infrastructure. 
  • Use Better Lighting – As a grower, you should invest in high-quality equipment and never cheap out on your lights. If you notice your plants growing too fast or getting too spindly, it’s probably time to upgrade. Alternatively, you may not have enough lights for your operation, so adding a few more can alleviate the problem. 
  • Pre-Flowering Topping – Another potential problem of taller cannabis plants is that they won’t have enough room once they start flowering. So, to mitigate the space constraints, you can top and prune your plants just before the flowering stage. This option will reduce your yields, but it’s better than having unhealthy plants that are all competing for the same resources. This option is kind of a last resort, and you should work to prevent the need for it next time.

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