A Comprehensive Guide to Scrogging Marijuana Plants

Scrogging is a great way to grow cannabis plants horizontally, allowing for plant canopies that promote even growth among the buds while exposing bud sites to intense light that normally would see little.

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Bigger buds, higher yields, and greater potency, there is little to not love about scrogging, also known as the Screen of Green (SCROG) method. In fact, as you become a better grower, growing bigger and bigger plants, you’ll quickly find that scrogging becomes essential for most grow setups. 

What is Scrogging?

Scrogging is a cannabis cultivation technique that involves using a horizontal screen or mesh that’s placed above the plants for them to grow up and through. After the branches grow about 6 inches above the screen, the cultivator will redirect them down by threading the branches horizontally along the screen

This method is designed to expose all the bud sites to more light, allowing lower buds to become closer in size and potency as the buds at the top of the canopy

Another popular method for optimizing yield and light exposure is the Sea of Green (SOG) method, which involves growing a large number of plants that are kept fairly small and minimally pruned. Some research indicates that the SOG method may be the best method for optimizing yield and potency. 

However, new growers are likely to find growing a large number of plants vs. a few can be daunting. And if you aren’t cloning or breeding, it can get expensive fast due to retail seed prices. 

Benefits of Scrogging Marijuana Plants

Without a doubt, the number one benefit of scrogging is light exposure, promoting even buds across the entire canopy. Instead of dealing with several plants in your garden, you can focus on scrogging a single plant without hurting your yields. But that’s not the only benefit of scrogging marijuana plants. 

Greater Yields and Potency

Research shows there is a surprising drop in potency as you move down an untrained cannabis plant. But not only is there a loss of trichomes, the lower buds tend to be larfy and unappealing, break up terribly in grinders, and can have a grassier flavor. 

Control of Plant Height

Cannabis plants, especially the sativa variety, can get surprisingly tall fast, and when you’re growing indoors, it’s very likely you’ll need to use techniques that keep the plant shorter but wider. By maximizing the photosynthetic potential of the entire plant, buds produced under SCROGs tend to be more uniform in size and quality.

Structural Support

The SCROG netting is perfect for supporting heavy buds that would otherwise fall to the side, stressing the stems to the point they can break. 

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Pest and Disease Control

This plays off our last benefit. By supporting the buds to stay upright, you avoid contact between the larger buds. An open and well-ventilated canopy makes it more challenging for pests and diseases like powdery mildew to thrive.

Health of the Canopy

 Besides reducing the threat of pests and diseases, scrogging can help keep a cannabis plant healthier by allowing better air circulation, along with light. This promotes even temperature and humidity levels throughout the canopy. 

Setting Up for Scrogging

Materials Needed

  • Screen or Mesh
  • Frame or Support 
  • Structure Ties or Soft Plant Ties
  • Pruning Shears or Scissors
  • Plants! 

Initial Steps Before Scrogging

Before you start scrogging, you need to do a few things to set your plants up for their SCROG. Really, the only thing you need to be doing is incorporating hard-stress plant techniques such as topping, i.e. you need to break apical dominance, creating multiple bud sites. 

They don’t need to be perfectly even in height as scrogging will do that. And you may still need to remove a few of the lower branches. The most popular topping method is topping right above the 3rd node while removing the branches on the first node. 

How To Setup Your SCROG

When growing indoors in a tent, setting up a SCROG is a breeze since you can just secure the screen to the frame. I use four rope hangers to attach my screen to my tent’s hanging poles, as this allows me to easily raise or lower my SCROG. For outdoor setups, you’ll want to create a frame around your plants with stakes, etc., to attach your SCROG.  


Training and Maintenance


When growing indoors, you’ll want to have your SCROG up and running about a week before switching your lights to 12/12. If you’re growing outdoors, I greatly recommend researching your climate and its effects on photoperiod. In general, I’d have the SCROG up when plants are receiving no more than 13 hours of light. 


Scrogging is very simple and is much less stressful on the plants (low stress) vs. topping (hard stress) so feel free to weave branches through your SCROG as needed (as long as the branches are long enough). 

When the branches aren’t long enough — less than 4-6in above the SCROG — it can be tempting to SCROG by only redirecting the stems from underneath the SCROG. Do not do this! You want to pull the branches over the net first. Then weave it underneath the net so it sits in the next grid space over. Use ties if the branch is only long enough to fold over the net. 

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During the pre-flowering stage, expect to SCROG every single day due to the rapid growth and still pliable stems. Once that rapid height starts slowing down, the branches will become too thick and stiff to safely pull them down and weave through. You want a 6″ colas above the screen when the stretch is done. 

If you did everything right, your canopy should be incredibly dense with light struggling to reach the buds sites and branches that failed to reach the SCROG net, so before flowering sets in too much, feel free to remove them. 

Common Challenges and Solutions

There is no discounting the range of benefits to scrogging, but there are some potential issues

I love scrogging, but I hate how it locks the plants into their spot. This can make it very difficult to thoroughly access and assess plants for pests, diseases, nutrient issues, and sex when growing in confined spaces, e.g. closets. You may find you prefer the sea of green method for this reason. 

The other big issue growers face — besides improperly scrogging by not following the over then under rule — is creating an uneven canopy. Maintaining the rapid growth during pre-flowering is time-consuming and you may find yourself plant training every day for close to an hour when you add on top other plant maintenance. So don’t grow too many plants if you’ve never SCROGed before. 

Final Thoughts

Scrogging is one of the best methods for maximizing a plant’s yield and potency, allowing cultivators to grow just 1-2 plants vs. 4+. Additionally, scrogging supports heavy colas, creates better airflow throughout the canopy that discourages pests and diseases, and promotes plants to grow wide vs. tall. Many growers improperly SCROG by failing to weave the branches over the netting first before tucking them into the next grid space. Additionally, uneven canopies are common due to the grower failing to keep up with the rapid growth during the pre-flowering phase. If this continues to occur to you, you may prefer the SOG method.

Nicholas McKenzie - Cannabis Research Specialist

Nicholas McKenzie - Cannabis Research Specialist

Nicholas has spent the last ten years teaching gardeners, businesses, and enthusiasts how to succeed in the exciting and ever-changing world of cannabis. Whether he’s in the field getting his hands dirty or in the lab studying cannabinoids and their uses, Nicholas is passionate about bringing well-researched, factual, and concise information to an industry that very much needs it.

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