Crop Steering in Cannabis Cultivation: A Comprehensive Guide to Optimising Plant Growth and Yield

Crop Steering in Cannabis Cultivation: A Comprehensive Guide to Optimising Plant Growth and Yield

Crop Steering in Cannabis Cultivation: A Comprehensive Guide to Optimising Plant Growth and Yield

Crop steering is a horticultural technique used to manipulate plant growth and development, ultimately leading to optimised yields and improved crop quality. In cannabis cultivation, crop steering involves strategically adjusting environmental factors and inputs to influence the plant’s physiological responses at various stages of its life cycle. This article will explore the concept of crop steering in detail, discussing the key components and how they can be employed to maximise cannabis plant growth, yield, and overall health.

Key Components of Crop Steering

Irrigation and Plant Nutrition:

Irrigation and nutrient management play a significant role in crop steering. By carefully controlling the availability of water and nutrients, cultivators can influence the balance between vegetative growth (leaf and stem development) and generative growth (flower and fruit development).

Wet Phase:

During this phase, growers increase the frequency of irrigation and provide a higher level of nutrients, promoting vegetative growth. This is particularly beneficial during the early stages of cannabis cultivation when plants are developing foliage and stems.

Dry Phase:

Reducing the frequency of irrigation and lowering nutrient levels during this phase encourages generative growth, which is advantageous during the flowering stage when the plant focuses on producing buds.

Light Management

Adjusting the light intensity, duration, and spectrum can significantly impact plant growth, flowering, and cannabinoid production.

Light Intensity:

Increasing light intensity can promote more vigorous vegetative growth, while reducing light intensity can help to initiate the flowering stage.


Cannabis plants are sensitive to changes in the day and night cycle. A longer light-on period (e.g., 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness) encourages vegetative growth, while a shorter light-on period (e.g., 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness) triggers the flowering stage.

Light Spectrum:

Different light spectra can influence specific aspects of cannabis plant growth. For example, blue light promotes compact vegetative growth, while red light encourages flowering and bud development.

Environmental Control

Manipulating environmental factors, such as temperature and humidity, can also impact plant growth and development.


Warmer temperatures typically encourage more rapid vegetative growth, while cooler temperatures can help to initiate the flowering stage.


Higher humidity levels are beneficial during the vegetative stage, promoting robust growth and minimising water stress. During the flowering stage, reducing humidity levels can help to prevent mould and mildew growth, improving overall bud quality.

Crop Steering Strategies for Cannabis Cultivation

Vegetative Stage:

During the vegetative stage, the primary goal is to promote robust leaf and stem development. This can be achieved by:

Implementing a wet phase with increased irrigation frequency and higher nutrient levels.

Providing a longer photoperiod with higher light intensity and a blue light spectrum.

Maintaining a warm temperature and higher humidity levels.

Flowering Stage:

The flowering stage focuses on the development of high-quality, potent buds. To steer the plants towards generative growth, cultivators can:

Transition to a dry phase by reducing irrigation frequency and nutrient levels.

Adjust the photoperiod to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness with an emphasis on red light spectrum.

Gradually decrease temperature and humidity levels.


Crop steering is a powerful tool for cannabis cultivators, enabling them to optimise plant growth and yield by manipulating various environmental factors and inputs. By understanding the impact of irrigation, plant nutrition, light management, and environmental control, growers can strategically steer their cannabis plants through the various stages of growth and development, ultimately maximising yield and overall plant health.

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