The Guide to Pinching, Bending, Tying and Weighting Your Girls to a Larger and More Even Yield.
So you want to Bonzai your babies and don't know where to start. Well lets start by attempting to gain an understanding of the basic concept at work with this technique. Most simply put, cannabis is a WEED. yes, this means like most weeds cannabis will grow! bend it, cut it, break it step on it, etc... and as long as a viable growth tip still has a life line to the roots and the plant is receaving water and light it will continue to grow.
(NOTE: first step is to buy some dyna-gro pro-teck sillicon supliment or some comparable product and start watering with it regularly.)
Techeniques and skills
Pinching: IMHO this step can be started as soon as the plant is not longer a seedling and has entered the veg phase of it's life.
First you will want to learn how to pintch or crush your stems. to do this you take your thumb and index finger and gently apply pressure to the soft new stem growth about 3 nodes from the tip of the plant or branch. slowly increase the presure with a slight rolling motion util you can either fell the stem beginning to crush or until when you release it it is obviously softenned (with the new growth this is all you want). the older the growh is the more you will want to do it until the stem makes a snapping noise or crushes. after a couple days the stem will get fatter and stronger in this section allowing the plant to hold more weight.
similar things can be done to the stock bellow the point were the leaves begin. usually tho this invovles using both hands to gentally "ring" or produce and "indean burn" effect by twisting the stock in opposing directions with the two hands. do this at several levels from the base to the base of the leaves.
this techneque may take some pactice and will produce a form of cannabis bonsai (CB) all it's own. plants grown with this techneque will be supercropped, the stress plus the big thick stemps and shorter build inducing bigger thicker denser bud growth.
getting a sense for crushing will also get you ready for the next step or bending.
So you think you are read to start bending your girls to your will and producing a serious bonzai.... you're standing there with a crushed stem and a slightly limp plant and a questioning look. now what?
lets put the girls aside a second and talk body type.
there are three basic cannabis body types i have experienced thus far. 1) shorter, stockier and with good lateral branching. 2) Tall, thin, strechy even, with little or no branches to speak of and last but not least 3) reveg which no matter what it was before tends to be just plain bushy, especially at first. (there are of coarse essencially infinite combinations fo these traits but for our purposes here these 3 grouping will serve useful for determining how and when you bend.)
so now we can go back to the girls and start deciding what we want to do next.
1) if you have the first body type of plant you will want to let your girl develop for a while and then start bedding shortly before your plant is to start flowering. the reason behind this is that if you start bending early the branches will get too man branches and the whole thing will be far too dense for proper bud developent once flowering does begin.
so about 2 weeks before flowering find the lowest sport (About 3-5 internodes up) that you can get the main stock to crush between your fingers. crush and bend it as close to a 90 degree angle as you can. all the branches below this point now need to be bend in a radial patter outwards away from the top body of the plant to produc and nice fan shape. try to bend them at aproaximately the same hight as the main bend to produce a flat plain. place a small weight on the main stem at least 1 or 2 internodes past the bend. (fishing tackle works well but just about anythign works) becareful that it does not stress the plant to much or pull it below the plain. (you may also want to way the lower branches or wait a day). give the plant a day.
the next day start bending all the bantches above the bend outwards (upwards for those under the stemp) so as to maintain as even a plain of the whole plant as possible. these can often just be bend again and again day after day but weighting can be useful for them as well. on this day also begin to crush all the places on stem and branch between the nodes so as to supercrop and incourage stem thickness and not stem lenth. daily move the weights out as far as they can go with out causing the plant to dip below the plain. also bend the main tip and all growth tips out flat each day. eventually long branches and the main stem may require much heavier weights as well as multiple weight sites along the stem.
continue this process through flowering until the tips stop growing and you can no longer move stuff cuz it is too crowded and sticky with trichs.... you've done what you can do be sides pulling on the main branches' stocks to help keep them in the pain cuz they will push up toward the light with incredable strength by the time you are done.
2) with the thin one that done want to branch you gots to start much much earlier.
in this case it is the early bending that induces the developement of the much needed latteral branching. (this is the case for the Blue Mystic lady so many of you liked so much in the thread "my current crop 3/2004"
so when the plant is 5-7 internodes tall and you have determined that it just is not wanting to etend it's arms for you, you start to bend. first you crush at about the 3rd or 4th inthernode and bend the main stock. then you can either tie the main stem to the edge the pot or place a weight on it at about the 2nd or 3rd not past the bend. day after day keep the grow tip as flat and close to the plain as possible. the less it grow up the more the branches will begin to form. as they form once agian start bending them flat and pinching stems for supercropping. add weights as needed.
continue until plant is of flowering width (basic formula is once per foot of radius).
alsways trying to keep it in the plain and trying to produce as even spacing between all bratches as possible. continue with bending and moving weights into flowering until tips stop growing up and resin is too sticky.
3) The easiest group to bonzai well are by far the reveggers. (reveging is when you take a plant that has reached sexual maturity and been harvested while leaving some leaves and small buds neer the base, these a placed back under a veggitative light cycle and coaxed back into veg.)
reveggers tend to be bushy and relatively flexible. there are a couple ways to bonzai them. the easiest (if you don't brake your plant) is to focus grow on 2 or three bushy brantches ane when the get about 8-10 inches tall (or the hight you want) bend them back at the base of the branch until they are now perpendicular to the ground. do not let the branch and or stem split so much that the brach can not hold itself up any more but some spliting is ok.
once you have them pulled all out use wire (anodized aluminum bonzai wire works well) to brase the plant appart as there will be a lot of resistance against the bending. add weights to outer branches as needed and yes keep it in the plain and try to keep everything as evenly spaced as possible. continue through budding until the tips stop growing and it gets too sticky with resin.
chapter two done, on to the next.
Finally Flowering: the last and final installment.
So now you've got your girl(s) all bent, weighted and tied down and you are thinking it's about time to start the 12/12 lightcycle, is there anything else you need to know to make the bonzai flowering thing actually workout to be worth your while?
first you will want to transplant, or double pot, into soming that is at least 5 gal if you are in soil. anything LESS would be a WAIST of time. keep in mind that too an extent the larger the root ball the larger the total bud mass. if you transplant the you will want to wait about 2 weeks into the flowering cycle or after when most of the initial growth induced by the budding light cycle has basically stopped. this way all the extra root development does not go to producing stem length but goes to producing more fuller buds. thus bugger harvest.
if you double pot you will want to do it emediately as it takes a lot longer for the roots to spread through the wholes in the bottom of the pot.
finally don't forget to keep bending the tips out flat and moving the wieghts until the tips stop growing significantly and the buds start to swell. at this point it should be come much harder to move the weights too much with out seriously disturbing the buds and all those precious trichs on them.
(update: There are lots of ways this technique can be manipulated, altered or impoved bassed on your personal growing and smoking tastes. One variation is to stop bending as soon as flowering starts, resulting in taller bud strctures. Another variation that is often combined with this one is to remove all the lower buds and focus all bud growth just on the tips. I prefer fluffy buds but if you would rather have dense buds then you can also trim off the big fan leaves as soon as the branch at it's node starts to develop. this will limit the vertical growth of the branch and later the bud but ultimately does not seem to effect over all bud production. experiement and have fun. )
for now, this here by concludes my Bonzai grower's guide to single plant sea of green. i wish all the luck to your and your attemps to learn and use this wonderful style of growing. I have not tried this method with a light larger than 400 but it especially seems suited to smaller lights like the 400s.
this technique is always under development and imput is always welcome.