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Ask Me Anything with Dustin Keller from Groficient Solutions

We’re hosting an Ask Me Anything event on Wednesday, November 15th, 2017 at 11am MST with Dustin Keller from Groficient Solutions to answer your questions about plant training.

About Dustin Keller:
Dustin Keller is the owner of Groficient Solutions, an agricultural consultancy and equipment manufacturer based in Grass Valley, CA. With over 15 years of experience growing indoors and outdoors, Dustin developed the idea of the Canopy Crawler, and with his partners, created the first mobile, steel grid trellis system that maximizes yield, decreases plant count and is a reusable environmentally friendly product.

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well done…What percentage of plant to buds do you achieve this way. it looks very clean and low profile yet suspect huge buds and a lot more than a natural growth pattern?

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Thank you, Charlie. Using the steel grid trellis, creates full resistance and converts all your laterals into tops giving them the chance to dominate and reach for light. We have guys doing 3 plants per crawler, pulling 3 lbs. per 1 kw light. We also have seen growers do 4 plants per canopy crawler pulling the same (3 lbs. per light), so it does depend on how long you veg.

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Hi Everyone,

Thank you for joining me today! I’m here to answer any questions you may have about growing, plant training, increasing yield, and bring some yield-maximizing knowledge to the Growers Network community!

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What process did you go through to design and optimize your trellis system?

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What’s the best way to scale up plant training in your opinion? It’s easy to manage when you’re a small grow, but as you increase in size it takes more effort and coordination.

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the steel panels come 5 by 16 ft. I used to hang two of them from the cieling with four 4’x8’ trays underneath. But found it extremely difficult to prune in the center and I had to climb through the bottom all the time which got old, so I teamed up with metal fab buddy and put an idea on paper and implemented the same steel trellis to make Canopy Crawler. We had done several prototypes in small indoor gardens and made improvements upon request by the growers. The version we are offering now is version 3.1!

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What are some of the mistakes you’ve made when training? i.e. what should we learn from them?

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Good question. Having full resistance with steel makes it so you want to push all the laterals up into the trellis, which can create overfilling and make it difficult to achieve full light penetration. The resolution for this was classifying branching by girth and removing any thin, wispy lower laterals.

Another mistake I made a few times in the beginning of using steel trellis was writing off/removing broken branches too soon because 9 times out of 10 after tying them up with rope they came back stronger than before and created knots at the break site.

Keeping trellis branches below the steel grid trellis when stretching is essential rather than weaving above and below. That will commit that lateral to that section of the trellis and it cannot be moved. The reason you want to be able to move your lateral branching is to relocate to thin areas of the trellis.

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How does nutrient intake for a plant work when it’s trained like in the image?

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wondering if leaf monitoring of Plant health such as our LeafMon from Cermetek has been discussed. It has been used with almonds, walnuts and grapes for the past few years and should be applicable to use with cannabis. It enables a precise 24/7 measurement of plant water stress for precision irrigation. for more details contact me, Frank Stempski at 408 482 2822 or [email protected]. thanks Dustin for this fine discussion

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Casey,

I’d also like to add that lowering the trellis onto the plants was a learned process as well. I start by placing the steel trellis high and place each plant underneath with minimal resistance for the first 3 days. After the plants are acclimated to your flower room, begin to lower the trellis slowly in two waves. You can see a video of this process here

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Good question, Nicholas. We haven’t noticed any difference in nutrient intake between trained and untrained plants. Also, none of our growers have reported any differences.

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We appreciate this information, but no we have not. That looks some pretty high tech stuff. I’m more of a grower and fabricator than scientist!

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What’s your trick to maintaining even light coverage on your plants when you’re training them?

Just wanted to make sure this didn’t get missed!

Great question. Here’s how you maintain even light coverage.

Continue stretching each lateral branch until the entire trellis is full, without letting any dominant laterals get too tall above your canopy. You’ll have to continue stretching those dominant laterals to maintain uniformity. Relocating branches from dense areas to thin areas on the trellis is also key. This is why we recommend no weaving above and below the trellis. Defoliating underneath the canopy is also important, so that anything that is not getting sufficient light is removed. By the end of Week 3 of Flower, you want no foliage below your steel trellis.

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It’s not something that comes easy. It definitely will take some extra work, but the results are phenomenal. We’ve had growers increase their yield up to +1 lbs. per light, only moving from netting to steel.

Plant training in the growth phase saves time in the processing phase. Eliminating larfy buds saves on trim time/cost. This is one common benefit reported by all our growers.

Plant training and SCROGGING is mainly taken care of during the vegetative growth phase, stretching and tending to plants every other day. Once your plants are SCROGGED and the Canopy Crawler is full, then you’re ready to flip to flower and no more SCROGGING is necessary. Once in flower, all you’ll need to do is thin leaves and defoliate the first 3 weeks.

It is a new system that will have to be learned and incorporated into the larger grow operations in order to enjoy the benefits.

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How do different strains react differently to this training process?

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