Shaping Tips for Professional Cultivators

Shaping Tips for Professional Cultivators

Hort How-To columnists Kurt & Kerrie Badertscher share a handful of canopy-shaping techniques that may benefit your bottom line.


This article originally appeared in the August 2017 print edition of Cannabis Business Times. To subscribe, click here.

 Canopy shape has a significant impact on your company’s bottom line, and that’s seen in the many different canopy shapes cultivators are trying out. No clear consensus has emerged on which approach is best, and that is not surprising for a young industry. These shapes are being created by growers using the familiar techniques of pruning, pinching, trellising and super cropping. Add light, nutrients, hormones and plant spacing to your shaping toolkit, and you can deliver the lowest-cost canopy management program for any growing situation. Here, we review a handful of canopy-shaping techniques and how they can impact your cannabis harvest’s bottom line.


It’s always easiest to do nothing. Many strains grow into bush-like forms with no effort on the grower’s part. So if a grower selects only such strains, they can duck a significant amount of labor. Sativa-dominant strains, on the other hand, often have tall and skinny phenotypes. Even they can be transformed into bushier shapes with the right handling, but the grower must decide if it is cheaper to coerce those plants into a higher-yielding shape or just plant more of them. The answer to that and other shaping questions comes from assessing the cost of producing a given plant size and shape against the additional yield attributable to the shaping.


Pinching off growing points manipulates hormone levels, a process to which all plants are remarkably responsive. Growing points produce auxins, whose presence at certain levels suppresses side branch growth. Reduce or eliminate the auxin levels with a pinch, and that suppression signal is lost resulting in increased side branch growth.


To read the full article in Cannabis Business Times' August edition, click here.

Photo by Vanessa Stump