The more I read and practice, I’m convinced the limiting factors with autos have to do with their more pre-programmed life cycle. Unlike photos, autos are unforgiving stresses like FIM, or other HST techniques. Even transplant stress can submarine yield by creating a runt of an already “rushed” auto.
I’ve tried topping vs LST tying down, and in a side by side battle of sisters, the LST plant outweighed her sis by about twenty percent. That was doing almost nothing else.
As above, I defoliate with a mind toward the permanence of the loss of a sugar factory. I’d rather add a fan than take leaves.
So my LST “without a net” technique has evolved to simply tying down the young plant, exposing what will be the lower bud sites to the light, and to a bigger share of the stuff the plant sends to the top. It’s the same hormonal signal as when topping, enhancing secondary colas without losing the primary top.
It’s accomplished using pipe cleaners to tie the plant down to the rim of the fabric pot. Poke a hole and create a tie down, repeat as needed for a couple of weeks around the week three to week five window. Tie the top down, and adjust as needed, adding a second or third tie down as the plant grows. By week five the stem is roughly a horizontal “7”, shape, as if it was going to ring the pot.
At the first sign of preflower, around five weeks since sprouting, stop messing with it. No additional ties, and let it chase the light. Leave the existing ties loose. Within days the stem will take on the shape of a lounge chair like at the beach, fighting the horizontal curve,working toward the light. I leave the restraints very loose, looping the pipe cleaner over rather than twisted, so the growing plant can fight back. These are 35 days above ground, and officially done training. I think I may have taken a total of ten leaves for various reasons for three plants in five weeks.
They’ll have decent main colas and a compliment of secondaries.
Everything we do that stresses the plant costs. Factor the costs when trying to get benefits from stressing.