What is Scrogging?
In the search of “how to grow the best crop possible,” you’ve probably heard of Scrogging or the SCRoG technique. SCroG stands for “Screen of Green.”
This is a great technique for getting the most out of your plants by allowing them to get maximum light and ventilation. The purpose of the SCRoG is to give each bud it’s own personal area for light, air movement and make it easier for the gardener to inspect.
How does Scrogging work?
A mesh screen is placed above the plants. The branches are trained with the screen to grow in their own personal area.
This lets each budding section grow to its fullest potential because it is not being shaded by other branches. As the plants grow, the screen keeps all the branches separated and maintains optimum airflow and UV absorption.
First the plants need to be placed in their final pots. They will not be able to be moved after they are attached to the screen.
If you move plants into a flowering room once flowering has begun, wait until then to use the SCRoG technique. Five gallon pots are most common and will give the roots enough room spread once the plant matures.
Placing the Pots
Most growers place the pots about a foot apart in each direction when scrogging. This let the plants not only have enough room to spread out, but lets them be easily inspected and groomed when the time comes.
[PRO TIP] Having plants that are the same height grouped together will make for a more even screen and less maintenance. If the plants are too tall they will create shade and not allow shorter plants to receive enough UV light.
Attaching the Screen
As with all things garden related there are an almost infinite amount of solutions and methods to solving a problem. The most common way to attach a screen is to place four corner posts creating a square or rectangle around the plants. Then, mount the screen to those posts to be tightened and adjusted.
The material of the screen also differs from grower to grower. Some prefer construction string, other use plastic mesh utility cloth. Either way is based on crop size, budget, and preference.
For wire or string applications, create an outline first on the border from post to post. Then attach other string to that border. This makes it easier to adjust tension and spacing.
For hardware cloth or other pre-assembled screens, attach at the posts and adjust tension with tensioners as needed. The common spacing of the grid squares are 4×4” or 6×6” depending on your crop size.
As the plants grow through the screen they can be tied down in the appropriate places. This allows each bud to have it’s own space. The branches of neighboring plants should brace each other when placed on the screen, like a wicker basket.
When placing plants, be sure to use the neighboring branches to support the other plants. It is important to follow the natural flow of the branches. Do not force, pull, or bench branches too extremes.
It is very easy to break branches in any part of the SCRoG process. Slow and gentle is the best policy for keeping your plants stress free and healthy.
After plants have all been attached to the screen it is common for them to look droopy or sad. This is due to the mild stress of being moved through the day. To remedy this give them all a good drink and lots of good light in the next lighting cycle.
It may help to attach your plants to the screen near the end of “dark” cycle so they can recuperate with UV light during the day phase. This cannot always be done due to visibility, but if you want to SCRoG in the dark, the use of a green colored bulb can be helpful. The green light does not affect the plants night cycle and will give you enough visibility to work.
[PRO TIP] Never tie a plant down with a material that is harder than it is. Such as fishing line, metal wire, etc. Use rubber ties or burlap string. This will allow the plant to move within the tie without damaging itself by rubbing which could lead to infection.
Since the plants are in close proximity when scrogging, proper airflow and ventilation is a must to keep mold and mildew at bay. You can accomplish this a number of ways.
The additions of fans, ventilation systems, air conditioners can help dramatically. By trimming back less vital leaves and stems under the canopy, you can also increase airflow. If there is not enough room to let light in, there is probably little air being let in as well. Trim back leaves that touch too densely and use fans to keep air moving.
Water can be easily applied to the soil under the canopy with the use of irrigation systems or a watering can. When watering a SCRoG crop do your best to keep the water in the soil under the canopy. Do not water from above the leaves or from the upper canopy.
Watering the soil directly allows the plant to absorb moisture more effectively. It also lowers the chances of water being held on the leaves or buds and becoming a medium for bacterial growth in the dense area of the canopy.