Growing Tips

Main-lining Technique

Main-lining, manifolding or fluxing, simply consists of “training” a Cannabis plant to form a central axis from a single node, thus creating an equal distribution center for all the tails.

Main-lining advantages

This method has advantages for both indoor and outdoor crops:

  • In outdoor crops, the plants will be more discreet and we will have greater control over the growth of the tails.
  • For indoor crops, we can increase productivity by achieving good light receptivity on all buds.

Main-lining main objectives

During the early stages of growth, the goal will be to create thick stems from a node in the trunk, it works best if you start from an area with extensive plant tissue.

With Main-lining you avoid the small sprouts that form at the beginning of the queues and waste energy. Many growers tend to prune the lower part of the plant to remove those branches that do not have much light reception and small shoots that are not productive but this translates into a great waste of material.

With Main-lining you can put that method aside and get better results with less waste of energy and nutrients.

Tutorial to apply the Main-lining technique 

What do I need to start the main-lining?

  • Scissors, or a pruning knife
  • Gardening ties (or soft cables or ropes that do not damage the stem)

You can use a metal gardening ring as support for the ties, it is the most ideal to give an even shape to the plant.


Step 1: Wait until the plant has 4, 5 or 6 knots

The best time to start applying Main-lining is when the marijuana plant has 5 or 6 knots. You can wait a little longer if you feel like the plant is not growing fast or if it looks weak.

If you apply this technique when your plant is very large, keep in mind that it will take longer to see the fruits of your work and  you will have wasted time, resources and effort in making your plants grow and then doing a pruning that will involve cutting the several cms.

Just make sure the plant is still in the growing stage!

Step 2: Prune the 4th, 5th or 6th node 

Cutting off the top of your plant is a technique known as topping or topping .

At the end of this step, your plant should have 3 total knots. 

Step 2b: Remove all vegetation below the third node where the topping was done.

Remove all vegetation below the 3rd node, including cotyledons (embryonic leaves) and fan leaves.

By removing all the vegetation you are telling the plant to send all the energy and effort to develop what grows from the top onwards.

Step 2c: Place the two new main stems at right angles to the ground.

Secure the two remaining branches and tie them gently so that they form a right angle from the ground (or as close as possible).

If your two stems are too small to tie, give your plant a couple of days for the stems to grow a bit.

Step 3: Allow the plant to grow vigorously again, then cut the tops of all the tails symmetrically to double the number of tails.

Look at the new tails that you created with the last step, wait until the plant starts to grow fast and strong. You’ll know it’s time to take step 3 when the tails start to stretch upward.

Some growers wait for the new tails to have a pair of nodes, while others do a new apical pruning after the tips are fully formed.

Again, cut all the plant material below the node you cut (try to choose the most symmetrical ones) and make sure it is the same node on each tail.

Be careful not to damage the new shoots that come out of each node as they will become the new tails.

For now, it is best to leave the fan leaves attached to the new tail, they will help its growth.

Each time you make each of the new queues apical, you are doubling the number of total queues. So in this step we will have twice as many tails as before (8).

Step 4: Repeat step 3 until you have the desired number of tails.

Each time you apical the plant, you double the total number of tails. This is because you are essentially splitting a new queue in two with each topping. 

So with the first topping, you will have 2 tails, with the second 4 tails and with the third 8, etc.

Step 5: (Optional) Tie the tails to a gardening hoop for more control.

You have already done the heavy lifting and created the foundation for your plant, now you just have to help it a little to get the shape you want.

Some growers prefer to tie the tails to the pot, others to a hoop and others with cables as in this blog. Use the one that best suits you!

Step 6: Remove all ties or clips once the plant shape and shaft are fully formed.

Remember that garden ties, supports, and scaffolds are temporary. 
Pay attention to how firm and how long a specific branch or trunk is tied down.

Once the structure is formed, you must adjust the ties, otherwise, when the stems thicken, the ties can cause strangulation damage, hurting and deteriorating your plant.

Step 7: You are almost done! Now you will mostly have to sit back and wait for the Main-lining to do the work for you.

At this point, there is hardly much left to do.

Allow the plant to continue growing and make sure the tails are the same size, if one grows larger than the others, you can tie it down to match its size.

Unlike other ways of growing marijuana, Main-lining is a process that is done in the early stages of growth, once you get to this step, all you have to do is keep your plant alive and wait for flowering.

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