Mainlining variations

Doesn’t seem to be a ton of info on this topic in these forums (and nothing particularly recently) so I thought it might be best to begin a new thread.

I’ve adopted the mainlining technique within the past few months, or I should say several variations on the method that involve combinations of LST and HST techniques. I have yet to harvest a truly mainlined plant with 8/16/32 etc uniform colas, although I’m vegging some young Super Skunks currently, some of which I’m topping at the third node and only leaving two growth tips and so on as the true version of the method indicates (pic1).


I’ve definitely seen much greater yields thus far (see the OG Kush plant about a week away from harvest in pic2), and this is without scrogging (I just started flowering several plants in my smaller tent that were mainlined this way and will also be scrogged, so I expect this yield to be even better).

My question pertains to whether any more experienced growers out there can speak from experience as to whether it’s more advantageous to mainline a la traditional nugbuckets method, or to rely more heavily on LST than HST to decrease stress (obviously) and promote more vigorous, aggressive growth. I understand the many reasons to go the traditional route, such as those listed in this article (Mainlining and Manifolding | The Best Way to Train Cannabis? – Grobo), but the plants that I’ve grown this way thus far seem to take so long to recover, and I’m topping only once the plants have 7+ nodes. I read one article that claimed mainlining only added 2-4 weeks to the vegetative stage, but from what I’ve been seeing so far it takes this long just until I can top for a second time. I’ve actually given up on vegging plants I’ve grown like this previously out of impatience, flowering them with only four colas. Maybe I just need lights with higher PAR, although I’m comparing these plants to others under the same lighting.

Although I suppose I’ll see for myself with this question once I flower my Super Skunks, as not all of them are being trained this way (pic3), but it would be helpful to know sooner rather than 2-3 months from now if possible. So far I’m more partial to “knuckling” the plant somewhere between the third and fifth node (I’ve seen this referred to as monster cropping, but I associate that term much more with cloning cuttings from flowering plants), and then topping the main growth tip at its uppermost node and wiring down all the branches, which I also top once they grow taller and stronger (pic4). Other variations of less topping and more tying also seemed to have worked out better for me, and if one google image searches “mainlining cannabis” there are quite a few variations as well (pic5). Thanks all for any support and clarification!
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I gave mainlining a try a few years ago on about 10 plants or so. It was a lot of fun, and a good learning experience, but ultimately I felt that I could get better yields with more basic types of training. Most of the plants I mainlined had slightly thinner stalks and branches than average, and I had to use a lot of stakes to help support them.
I’d say if your goal is to enjoy what you’re doing, and you want to create really cool plants to look at, then keep experimenting and have fun!
If you’re looking to maximize yields as your priority, then I might consider going to more conventional methods like topping, Super cropping, scrogs, ect.

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@Arrow and @kaptain3d are your mainlining guys here. They’ve done some pretty impressive torturing

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I’m sure @Arrow would have a more complete/detailed answer…
In the meantime here’s mine : I’ve never done a “true” mainline (8/16/32 colas) but I love to torture my plants. It’s been in my limited experience that, for me at least, that you need a lot more vegging time to really maximize your crop. There’s a point of diminishing return on your investment if you grow for crop only. Most of the growers here will have grown one crop and a half before I finish just one… :nerd_face:

But, for the fun of it, it can’t be beat! :crazy_face:

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I’ve done several modified Mainlines/manifolds and prefer the Nebula Manifold, less topping which equates to a faster recovery and veg time.

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Out of likes :clap::clap::clap::clap:

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Thanks everyone for your responses. @Cap_Ron I would say that I enjoy growing regardless of the technique–so much of the fun comes from trying different things out and learning from them. But learning from others is also great. And growing is definitely more fun when you’re getting bigger yields lol, so I’d say that’s probably my main priority. I consider efficiency and yield per unit time of growth part of what goes into that though, and to a lesser extent but still important utilizing my time asw best I can. Training each individual plant can be a time consuming and tedious process, especially when you’re growing 50+ at once (you never heard that, federal government) and I’m sure I could be doing things faster than I have been. Unfortunately my first scrogging attempt was a pretty epic failure after my tent collapsed halfway through flowering and I had to cut the trellis to rescue the plants and nurse them back to health, but I just finished scrogging my smaller flower tent which I started on 12/12 today and I expect to have a pretty nice yield from these when all is said and done (although they were individually trained during veg).

@kaptain3d I too love to torture my plants though, haha–every time I’m training and tying down branches so the plant is spread eagle I feel like such a sadomasochist. It feels so wrong but also so right. But there does come a point where I gotta focus on other shit I have to get done. I think my optimal goal would be to grow plants that veg for eight weeks and yield 2+ oz each. Maybe this is asking for too much (at least with my equipment)?

And @OGIncognito that’s effin awesome, never heard of that particular method before but I just read the article on it by growweedeasy and they say plants go from seed to veg in four months and a 2 foot plant can yield over 6 ounces. Far out dude!

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It should be easily achievable… depending on the spread of your canopy… imo. I average 4.75 oz for a coverage of 30" x 20".
Normally I only do 3 plants in my 33" x 60" tent… under 2 Mars Hydro TS1000…

On point Kapt :muscle::muscle::muscle:

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A mod type on this Photo with the 3 toppings . 6.25 zips dry


Here’s a true manifold on an Auto. Around 3 zips but could have been more… my neglect :love_you_gesture:

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I started growing Christmas trees like everybody else…topping mostly, fimming some…killing my fair share… :sweat_smile:

i have strolled down this path before… the original nugbucket way…i find the nebula’s way is quicker, ( as @OGIncognito rightly points out ) …i can extend her way into a complete light addict flux should i so wish…

i then started to experiment with the no training training technique…( this here is where you want to be heading )…i developed 2 diff techniques which incorporates this technique…
the back to back flux, where i use 2 plants in the same pot, to up yield per floor area, and the Fleche where i twist and break the plants apical up to 3 times per node interval, and then put her in the horizontal plane ( @kaptain3d called the name on this piece of madness :crazy_face:)

knuckle every individual branch… :+1:

is taking your apical clone in flower… :sweat_smile:

:sunglasses: :v:

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I think that is monster cropping
Following along. I do basic manifolds because…I like to. Nothing crazy but fun to work with

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That’s a well explained break down.

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Holy cow nice job. Those are some tall and fat colas. Do you recall the veg time on those photos? Had one pretty bad experience with autos and it felt like it took all the things that I enjoy (mainly my control of and manipulation of the plant) out of growing. I used to grow photos outdoor in high school way back when (ok, 15 years ago) on a much less serious level than now so those are what I’ve always known…long story short, the only auto that survived a cotastrophe in the seedling stage hermed out hardcore right at the start of the flower period, likely because I topped it once and then dealt with some PM infection and ozonator stress before I learned about a magical substance called JMS stylet oil. Anyhoo, I’ve never flowered a plant that big that I’ve trained with some sort of mainline variation–at least not yet. My mother plants are the biggest so far.

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I’ve never been able to FIM successfully…I usually just get a node with shortened stubby fan leaves, no matter how far down on the growth tip I cut. Oh well. These are all very helpful techniques you mention which I’m going to look into further and probably experiment with. I’ve actually yet to come across any of them in my own internet research. Gotta love ilgm message boards!

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you are most welcome… :sunglasses: :v:

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The photo veg’d for 12 weeks could have been less but it was an attempt to run photos and autos in the same grow space. I harvested her with a 2nd run of autos. I’ve experimented with multiple training techniques in my quest for bigger yields in tight spaces running several plants and strains at the same time. At the time I didn’t know I was modifying a mainline. The manifold is the easiest to get the results with multiple plants seeing as I control their horizontal spread before I let them go vertical. This allows to me lessen the area space around the pots. I’ll typically let them go vertical once they hit the outer edge of the pots and with the manifold method of removing the lower nodes keeps the inner portion of the base less clutter with branches and lower hanging fruit. Also a huge benefit is training is over once you let them go vertical versus adjusting your tie downs and tucking and weaving several times a week :love_you_gesture:

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This sounds like the best way to do it and makes a lot of sense. I think I gotta just be more patient with vegging if I want to get plants like the one you grew. I plan to build a hydroponic apparatus once it’s in my budget so that should hopefully cut down on veg time a little.

:+1::+1::+1: out of likes Grow Bro. My brother @repins12 has a great inexpensive DIY hydro set up and I believe several have his design and Kill’n it :love_you_gesture:

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Great, thanks. I’m all about DIY, I built my cloner over the summer and it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made. It’s worked like a dream with 75%+ success rate, no need for humidity dome or any fancy bells and whistles. If anyone is interested, this is the protocol I used:

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