The vegetative stage is the ideal time for pruning and training in order to achieve more branches, bigger plants and a much heavier harvest. Once a plant has three or more nodes, you can begin the pruning process. It can be as simple as trimming the tops off of growing shoots in order to increase the amount of future branches, but there are several different ways to prune selectively.
A sinker such as those used for fishing works great to weigh down a main branch without having to cut it. Once the branch sags below lower branches, a chemical signal is sent to the lower branches that they’re no longer subordinate to a main top, and they can each become a dominant branch, thus significantly raising your yield.
Some growers train branches by weighing them down or tying them down using the LST technique or Low Stress Training. This increases the canopy surface area that the light can reach and turns secondary and other branches into main tops. Bushier plants produce much more pot than “Christmas tree” style plants with one main cola and the typical triangular shaped profile.
Smart growers introduce a trellising system during the vegetative stage in order to spread their growing branches wide. There are many different styles of trellises from chicken-wire to strings or metal bars, but what they all share in common is spreading the canopy and creating a more level surface area. Branches tucked underneath a horizontal trellis will produce many more bud sites than branches growing upwards, so be sure to use one form of trellis or another to get the most out of each plant.
As the growing shoots approach the trellis, bend them to fill the empty holes in the canopy. When they start the flowering process, leave them alone until it’s time to harvest. Take care when removing the branches from the trellis not to damage the delicate trichome glands on the string or wire.