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Canopy Control for Bigger Yields: Learning how to get a grip on your plants.

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So, after a bunch of years of growing heavy fruiting and flowering annual plants, I have learned that among the many elements you need to control (temp, humidity, pH, etc.) one of the overlooked incremental pieces to maximizing your yield is controlling the plant's canopy.  

Every gardener knows that pruning a plant can promote the hormones that cause bushing and branching; what they don't often tell you is how to handle the heavy tangle that usually occurs when you've done that.  

An effective plan will include thought from the beginning of the plant's life throughout its life-cycle. Here is what I would recommend:

  1. Pruning a fast growing plant as soon as it has begun to develop multiple branch nodes (approx. 5) helps set a shape in which the bottom branches catch up to the crown. 
  2. Do not make your plant compete for light with its neighbors
  3. Clean up the inside and bottom branches to keep the least productive portions of the plant from drawing energy away from the most productive portions at the top.
  4. Define the Perimeter: Stake out and cage off the plant with structure that loosely describes the expected growth of the plant. At this point, C-Bites are the recommended solution to customize a stake cage to fit an individual plant and grip everything together.
  5. Once you've built a cage, you can train the long branches towards the edges and expose the interior undergrowth to direct light. As the plant grows you have maximized the number of nodes that are directly under the light source - which translates into making a bunch of tops!
  6. Keep this process up through out its heavy growth to maintain the desired canopy height.
  7. Keep the plant clean of detritus and maintain good airflow through the canopy.   

With a little effort up front, the right tools, some maintenance and vigilance you too will see that effective management of the canopy can be the difference between a good harvest and a great one!  

Hasta la next blog,

Garden happy.