• Elise Castelaz

What’s This “Sea of Green” All About?

Here at Point Seven Group, we assist Clients in many aspects of their operations, but lending a hand in application development and business formation is the cornerstone of our services. During such projects, we come across a wide array of cannabis experience and varying perspectives on the horticultural portion of these fledgling businesses. One thing we tend to hear a lot is, “we’ll employ a sea of green approach.” Now, you may be saying to yourself, “isn’t this whole thing a sea of green?” … and you wouldn’t be wrong.

Yes, these vast cultivation facilities and sprawling plant production areas certainly do appear to be a sea of green, but the terminology is deeply rooted in pre-regulated cannabis cultivation. This phrase is used to describe a specific grow methodology that, like every other aspect of canna-business, is widely debated.

Sea of Green (SOG)

While there are countless ways to cultivate, one methodology that we see used most often in commercial cannabis is a hybrid of the SOG approach. Long story short, this involves propagating, vegging, flowering, and harvesting numerous plants at the same time in lieu of training and bringing to fruition only a handful of large plants. The thought here is that the aggregate yield of smaller plant + higher plant count will be comparable to that of the larger pant + lower plant count. While this methodology carries intrinsic benefits that are desirable for high-volume commercial cultivation, relatively shorter growth cycles, and the ability to curate a more even canopy with less labor and time needed for plant training and manipulation, it’s not without its drawbacks. Consideration must be paid to the number of plants that are continuously growing and affecting the microclimates within the space, the possibility of overcrowding and adversely affecting yield and plant health, and the density of the canopy may prove to be difficult for total plant observation and coverage. Also, home growers and licensees with very limited plant counts must be cognizant of the number of plants this methodology utilizes.

Screen of Green (SCROG)

An alternative methodology for plant training is creating a canopy of large ‘colas’ from less plants by carefully manipulating the bud sites into a preset screen. By encouraging the branches to grow more laterally, it increases your light absorption efficacy and tends to produce a higher volume of dense buds versus the inclusion of less dense, airy buds that form in the mid-to-low canopy. As with everything, this method comes with its caveats, which may not make it an ideal choice for large-scale commercial cultivation. It’s labor intensive in terms of training and harvesting, it’s difficult to cultivate numerous strains and genetics at once, and the static nature of the setup can prohibit mobility when needing to reach the inner canopy.

So what does it all mean? Nothing. Well, not nothing. However, if your environmental controls, production inputs, and strain genetics aren’t dialed in, then the approach you take to training your plants is not going to be indicative of the success of your garden. Keep those plants healthy and the rest will come in time. Happy Growing!

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