Sea of Green — Cultivation Method
One thing we tend to hear a lot when we are working with commercial grower license holders is “we’ll employ a sea of green approach.” Now, you may be saying to yourself, “isn’t this whole thing a sea of green?” … and you wouldn’t be wrong. Yes, these vast cultivation facilities and sprawling plant production areas certainly do appear to be a sea of green, but the terminology is deeply rooted in pre-regulated cannabis cultivation. This phrase is used to describe a specific grow methodology that, like every other aspect of canna-business, is widely debated.
So what is the Sea of Green cannabis cultivation method?
While there are countless ways to cultivate, one methodology that we see used most often in commercial cannabis grows is a hybrid of the SOG (Screen of Green) approach. Long story short, this involves propagating, vegging, flowering, and harvesting numerous cannabis plants at the same time in lieu of training and bringing to fruition only a handful of large mature plants. The thought here is that the aggregate yield of smaller plant and higher plant count will be comparable to that of the larger plant and lower plant count. While this method carries intrinsic benefits that are desirable for high-volume commercial cultivation, relatively shorter growth cycles, and the ability to curate a more even canopy with less labor and time needed for plant training and manipulation, it’s not without its drawbacks.
Consideration must be given to three important components. First, the number of cannabis plants that are continuously growing can affect the microclimates within the space. Second, the possibility of overcrowding can adversely affect plant health and yield. Finally, third, the density of the canopy may prove to be difficult for total plant observation and coverage. Home growers and licensees with very limited plant counts must be cognizant of the number of plants this cultivation method utilizes.
Screen of Green (SCROG)
An alternative methodology for cannabis plant training is creating a canopy of large ‘colas’ from less plants by carefully manipulating the bud sites into a preset screen - a Screen of Green (SCROG). By encouraging the branches to grow more laterally, it increases the light absorption efficacy and tends to produce a higher volume of dense buds versus the inclusion of less dense, airy buds that form in the mid-to-low canopy. As with everything, this method comes with its drawbacks, which may not make it an ideal choice for large-scale commercial cultivation. It’s labor intensive in terms of training and harvesting, it’s difficult to cultivate numerous cannabis strains and genetics at once, and the static nature of the setup can prohibit mobility when needing to reach the inner canopy.
So what does it all mean? Nothing. Well, not nothing. However, if your environmental controls, production inputs, and strain genetics aren’t dialed in, then the approach you take to training your plants is not going to be indicative of the success of your garden. Keep those plants healthy and the rest will come in time.