Auto-flowering strains are quite simply the best strains for newbie growers and growers with timeless schedules. They grow quickly and do not require as much maintenance or care as other photoperiod strains. Nonetheless, before going into growing, you’d want a certain measure of certainty as to how much yield you are to expect from your plant. This is usually affected by the factors of strain and the conditions in which the cannabis is grown as you’ll find out below. Note, that while auto flowers generally produce less than normal cannabis strains, they still produce quite excellent yields. Our Guide will show you exactly what to expect on your autoflower yield.
What is a normal autoflower yield?
Generally, an autoflower produces 20 to 60 grams per plant. This is derived from the content of the final dried bud. This number however is not absolute, the most difference being if the plant grows outdoors and is healthy. In such scenarios, an autoflower yield can be as high as 160 from a plant.
Indoor farming yield
Conventionally, plants grown indoors tend to produce less when compared to their outdoor counterparts due to their more restrained environment. The expectation should be within 10 to 60 grams but super strains produce much more.
Outdoor farming yield
Outdoor farming is the best recommended means of growing autoflowers as it is more productive because it provides the plant with limitless space for limitless growth. In outdoor farming, a plant produces between 50 to 100 grams. As with the indoor farming above, larger plants and super strains tend to produce much more.
Measuring autoflower yield
- Grams per square meter
- Grams per kilowatt hours
How many grams per square meter
This is one the most common means of measuring a plant’s potential yield and is easily the most frequently used. This method of measurement comes to a final number by taking into consideration how much yield could be derived from a certain space setting. It is also preferred to measure per plant as different plants differ in size and possibly health. To calculate the potential yield, the total grow area is divided by the spacing of the crops.
Grams per kilowatt hours
As indoor growing has become the norm with its use of high-powered lighting, pro indoor farmers have also begun to prefer to measure their autoflower yield by the amount of electricity consumed. It is even speculated that this will become the industry standard in a few years. By this method of measurement, the total weight of dry buds is measured in comparison to the amount of electricity consumed.
Tips on getting better harvests from autoflowers
- Choose high producing autoflower
- Use high-quality breezy soil
- Use proper pots (preferably big ones)
- Avoid transplanting
- Provide adequate lighting
- Provide proper nutrients
- Avoid over-watering
- Use screen of green (ScrOG) or sea of green (SOG)
- Apply grooming
- Harvest when due
Choose high producing autoflower
Getting high harvests or yields from autoflowers always start from this point – the seeds. As the cannabis industry continues to grow, so also have hybrid strains that can yield greatly especially autoflowers. The key then is to make a pick from the vast array of available high-producing strains that have been genetically engineered to help growers reap high gains. For instance, the Jack Herer autoflower strain is known to produce a mind-blowing 700 grams per square meter.
Use high-quality breezy soil
Autoflowers are a darling of the cannabis industry because of their extremely quick growth. On the flip side, this gives the grower less time to care for his plant, therefore, care has to be provided from the planning stage and one of the ways of doing this is choosing the right kind of soil which is preferably breezy and airy. Lightweight soil allows the plant’s roots to dig deep in absorbing nutrients.
Also, organic soil is highly recommended. This is to be used in combination with high-quality soil to boost growth. Take perlite which aerates the soil and is perfect for the plants in their seedling stage and coco coir which is a natural fiber processed from coconuts which helps in balancing the pH level and boost the life of plant growth supporting microbes for instance, and you realize that you could never go over the top in caring for your plant soil-wise. Note that going for synthetic fixes risks the possibility of burning out the plant and destroying the chances of any yield at all.
Use proper pots (preferably big ones)
The size of a marijuana plant is directionally proportional to its pot – this explains why plants grown outdoors reach such wonderful heights. More space for growth translates to more growth as the plant’s stem and roots can reach their maximum potential. Therefore, one of the easiest ways of increasing autoflower yield is by growing them in the largest containers while being conscious of the average size of the strain you are growing. The advantage of this is that plants grown in large containers always have healthy roots and aid in a proper soil system. To aid with estimates, a grower should use a 7.5-liter container for every 30 centimeters of estimated height.
Transplanting is the act of changing your plant’s pot mid-growth usually to a bigger container or outdoors. Autoflowers are known to go into shock when transplanted and this would lead to a loss of vegetative growth that affects harvest quality and size. To mitigate against this, plants should be grown in the desired containers from the start so that they are not moved mid-growth. Of course, experienced growers can always do this but the variables involved ensure the odds are always against the grower so this should always be avoided.
Provide adequate light
The importance of light to a grower can never be overemphasized. For indoor growers, the 18/6 routine can easily be implemented which is 18 hours of light followed by 6 hours of darkness. It is advisable to get this right from the beginning since autoflowers don’t depend on light for the flowering process. Some growers have trialed a 20/4 routine and even 24-hour lighting routines but the 18/6 isn’t broken and is efficient so why fix it?
Outdoor farmers should always have seasonal variations on their minds and plan accordingly. Summers with their long days are perfect for outdoor growing. If as an outdoor grower your plant gets 12 hours of light, it is way better than any indoor light setting. Remember to grow your plant in an area that has no shades so that it can get all the light it could get.
Provide proper nutrients
The temptation as a new grower is to overload your containers with nutrients and even fertilizers in the belief that they aid growth. This is wrong. Autoflowers being hybrids need fewer nutrients (including water) than their natural counterparts. A rule to have at the forefront of your mind at every point in time is that you should begin with only 50% of the required nutrients for 3 weeks. Also, the soil should only be lightly fertilized as the vegetative stage of autoflowers is quite short and does not need so many doses. As long as you follow tip two above, you’ll be fine. Also, remember to add nutrients in only little amounts when you do begin to add them. The alkalinity of water used should also not be lesser than 6.0 nor exceed 7.0 to ensure a maximum harvest.
As autoflowers could easily die from too many nutrients, so also could be destroyed by too much water. Plants should only be watered according to requirements not because the grower desires it. Before watering, the grower should ensure that the soil surface is dry before water is applied according to the pot size. Too much water is an issue because it starves the root of access to oxygen causing the leaves to yellow and could also bring about fungus, rot, and even insect infestation. Watering can be quite straightforward – don’t get it twisted.
Use Screen of Green (ScrOG) or Sea of Green (SOG)
The screen of Green (ScrOG) and Sea of Green (SOG) is the most popular grooming method which focuses on generating high autoflower yield – in size and quality.
The screen of Green is applied to single plants to increase their yield. By this process, a screen is positioned under the canopy (for indoor growers) for the manipulation of growth horizontally instead of vertically. This results in the plant having a wider than usual top layer that is well lit which then produces healthy and high-quality buds which equal high yields. The layers below the top are then discarded and the healthy and high-quality ones kept.
With the sea of green method, many smaller strains are packed together forcing them to flower sooner. This technique is perfect with autoflowers as they have a genetically engineered short vegetative phase. However, the grower should note that this technique is best used with the smaller strains of autoflowers.
This tip is recommended mainly for growers with some experience as they are more high-stress than the ScrOG and SOG mentioned above. These techniques involve complicated processes like trimming or cutting the main stalk which is known as topping. This technique encourages (or forces) the plant to grow more laterally. Topping was successfully carried out and made the plant produce a cluster of buds to grow tightly together (cola) which in turn increased yield.
Grooming methods like topping, lollipopping, fimming, and so on are recommended for more experienced hands because as has been mentioned, autoflowers easily go into shock and may not have the opportunity to recover. It is worth risking however as professional growers have had great success with these grooming techniques.
Harvest when due
It is quite easy for first-time growers to harvest at the wrong time (too late or too early) however, it is easy to identify the ideal time for harvest – the buds will appear whitish and resinous and the scent will be more pungent than usual and quite aromatic, and the pistils will curl and appear brownish.
Where grooming methods had been applied, the top buds are more likely to ripen sooner than those lower on the canopy. Use the above hints and harvest them as soon as they show the above signs and wait on those on lower canopies. To hasten their ripening, remove some of the foliage from the above canopy to enable easier light access to the lower canopies.