Low Stress Training

June 2024

Low Stress Training (LST) is a cultivation technique where you manipulate the shape of cannabis plants in order to get greater yields. It's easy and fun to do as well! Read on and find out how to apply LST like a pro.





Sonoma Seeds

  • 10 Free Seeds w/ $420 order

  • 500+ strains

  • Fast and reliable support

Crop King Seeds

  • Free Shipping CA & US

  • 24/7 Chat Support 

  • 80% Germination Rate 

Marijuana Seed Connect

  • 10 Free Seeds w/ $420 order

  • 500+ strains

  • Fast and reliable support

Rocket Seeds

  • Worldwide Shipping 

  • High Quality Seeds 

  • Free Shipping w/ $200 order 

Mary Jane Garden

  • Private Payments 

  • Help w/ Growing & Choosing Seeds 

  • Medical Marijuana Seeds Available 

Beaver Seeds

  • One Free Seed 

  • Fast Delivery 

  • High Germination Rate 

Marijuana Seeds Canada

  • Great Promotions 

  • 100% Secured Private Transactions 

  • Trusted Since 2009 


  • Lots Of Promotions

  • Exclusive strains

  • Established In 2002

Even if you don’t have much experience growing cannabis, you should give Low Stress Training a try. Low Stress Training (LST for short) is a simple and convenient way of increasing your yield. In doing so you ensure that your plants do not grow too tall and stay in shape.

What Is Low Stress Training And What Is It For?

LST is a training method that gives you a bigger yield. In addition, growers are able to make optimal use of the available space and lighting. Simply put, with this technique you carefully bend the branches of the cannabis plant and then tie them up. There are two reasons for doing this. First, cannabis usually grows a large main stem that develops an elongated cola. In doing so, the plant also has other, smaller side branches from which smaller buds grow. Thus, cannabis naturally tends to develop into the shape of a Christmas tree. We also call this apical dominance. LST aims to break through this. In doing so, you ensure a canopy of the same height.

This brings us to the second reason for LST: better distribution of light. By bending and tying plants and thus breaking the apical dominance, the canopy gets an equal height. And as a result, all parts of a plant receive more light. This results in more viable buds, which means you get more harvest at the end! Not only that; LST also doesn’t require you to change your grow space for great results. All you need is some knowledge and essential tools.

If you know anything about growing cannabis, then you know that this plant usually develops thick fat buds at the top. Underneath that, several smaller buds grow. This is true not only for cannabis, but also for many other flowers, fruits and vegetables that people grow.

Over the centuries, gardeners have developed ways to get more out of their plants, including simple training techniques. These techniques include topping and pruning plants, as well as inverting, ScrOG and a variety of other methods. They differ from each other, but each of these techniques allows for optimal use of light, space and resources.

Low Stress Training is a modern variation on an ancient technique used to grow fruit trees in a flat structure. The ancient Egyptians probably also used similar methods to grow trees horizontally over 3,000 years ago. The method we know as “slate trees” became popular in Europe in the 17th century. In the process, espaliers with fruit (carefully pruned and shaped fruit trees) were a common practice. This practice was used, for example, in numerous of apple and pear orchards. Not necessarily for better harvests, but more as a way to beautify the landscape.

LST: A Technique That Your Cannabis Plant Won’t Mind 

A key element of this training technique is already in the name. This “low stress” method is different from “high stress” techniques, such as topping. In the latter technique, you cut off the plant’s main growth area to redistribute growth hormone. LST, however, is milder. Therefore, there is less risk of overloading your plant. Moreover, she needs less time to recover and adapt than with “high stress” changes. With LST, you do not need to do any additional pruning or trimming. However, people often use this method in combination with other, more intensive methods. All in all, plants respond favorably to LST. They reward your efforts and finesse in doing so with healthy, substantial yields and large buds.

Everything You Need For LST

To apply LST correctly you will need the following materials:

  • Rubber coated wire/soft plant tie wire
  • Thin wooden sticks/bamboo sticks
  • Small hand drill
  • Duct tape

For this method, you need very few items. However, we do recommend that you do not use ordinary string for tying your plants. Regular rope or wire is often too thin or strong. It cuts into the stems and that does your plants more harm than good. Therefore, it is better to use special tying material.

Prepare Your Plant Pot For LST

We keep talking about tying stems, but what do you tie them to? All you have to do for this is to create some holes in the rim of your growing pot. Then it is possible to put the loops through the holes and tie them around the branches to keep the shoots in place.

It is also possible to use thin wooden sticks or bamboo sticks of about 30cm long. These are also useful for keeping everything in place. Finally, because sometimes something goes wrong when bending the branches, you need duct tape. With this you can support snapped or broken stems.

How LST Works On Cannabis Plants

We now move on to the interesting part: how to apply LST to your cannabis plants.

Break Through The Apical Dominance

First of all, it’s all about breaking the apical dominance. First, gently bend the main stem toward the edge of the grow pot. Secure the stem with the soft binding wire in the drilled holes. Ta da! You’ve just flattened the canopy and made room for future, horizontal growth. This way the light is better able to reach more buds. And that makes for a higher yield.

Tips: Some growers choose to top the main stem first and then bend the secondary stems to the sides. This gives the plant more of a spider shape. But even if you apply standard LST – without topping – you may want to remove some leaves. This is because it allows the light to penetrate better.

Shape Your Plants

With LST you should keep in mind that the cannabis always maintains a flat canopy. So a branch should not be longer than other branches. Regarding shaping, it is important that you bend the stems outwards and not towards the main stem. It’s not rocket science, but it’s useful to aim for a shape rather than just doing it randomly. Although the latter sometimes works quite well, as a beginner it is wiser to think about what you want in advance to avoid pitfalls.

Moreover, it sometimes goes wrong, for example if you accidentally snap a branch while bending it. But that is no reason to panic! Plants are stronger than many people think. As long as a branch is not completely off, it is possible to repair such mishaps with some duct tape. It will take about a week for the plant to heal, but it’s not the end of the world.

It’s also good to realize that you don’t do LST just once and then not have to do it again. With this technique, you have to consistently make adjustments to the plant. That’s because she will continue to grow no matter what shape you have bent her into. Over time, more shoots grow and the leaves get bigger. Therefore, you must occasionally adjust the bent branches to ensure that the canopy remains neatly even.

Where And When To Apply LST

Some people think that LST is only for indoor growers – but that is far from the truth! Remember that training plants is not something new; it was initially a method used outdoors. If you live in a colder climate, like a Northern US State or Canada, LST outside is a great way to increase yields during the summer season. Even if there is not much sunlight. LST is also useful outdoors for keeping your cannabis plants low. So a plant with branches bent for a flatter canopy not only gives better yields; it also attracts less attention than a tall cannabis plant in the wilderness, waiting to be discovered!

As for when you should start LST, the answer is: as soon as possible. Once your plant is growing well, it’s ready. However, don’t do it too soon and wait until she has developed a few good nodes. There is only one time when LST is really problematic and that is when your plant is already in full bloom. At that point the stems are probably too stiff to bend. You then run the risk of breaking off branches with precious buds. That aside, you can start LST at almost any other time in the growth phase. The earlier, the better.

Low Stress Training And Autoflowers

Is it possible to use LST with autoflowers? Absolutely! Autoflowers grow quickly and don’t need a change in the light cycle to proceed to flowering. That is, they don’t have much time to recover from High Stress Training methods, such as topping and defoliating. With LST, however, the plants also benefit from optimal light exposure. In doing so, they don’t need time to recover because it causes no real damage. Although the autoflowers of yesteryear would probably not respond well to LST, the new generation is certainly able to deal with it.

LST can even be a very good way to increase the yield of your autoflowering ladies! Just remember that autoflowers go into flowering after about 4 weeks. So you need to quickly decide whether you want to use LST or not. Start as early as possible for the best results.

Low Stress Training | Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply Low Stress Training outdoors?

Yes, you can apply it outdoors as well as indoors.

Do I need a lot of additional materials for Low Stress Training?

No, all you need is rubber coated wire/soft plant tie wire, thin wooden sticks/bamboo sticks, a small hand drill and duct tape.

Does Low Stress Training increase my yield?

It can certainly do that.

Can I use Low Stress Training on autoflowers?

Yes, nowadays autoflowers are strong enough.

When should I start Low Stress Training?

As soon as your plant developes a few good nodes.