Welcome good peeps, transplanting your cannabis plants is a fairly straight forward process. However, there may be some finer points to it, that you can wrap your head around with the help of this article. I can’t begin to count the number of cannabis plants I have transplanted over the last 45 years, gazillions, I would guess, heh heh.
In the past articles here at SKUNK, I have preached the virtues of certain growing container designs. You should definitely check that out after this article and read: Growing Containers II – Skunk Magazine. For more in-depth supernatural growing information, grab a copy of my True Living Organics Book, 2nd Edition. I also want to mention, that just before transplanting your cannabis is a great time to trim and prune. Never take more than 1/3rd of your total plant mass when trimming/pruning. On with the show…
Soil Moisture Levels for Transplanting Your Cannabis Plants
Okay, we are dealing with two separate soils here. The old soil surrounding the root ball of the plant you are transplanting, and the new soil that backfills the new container. Here’s a few bullets I think you will find handy…
- Never transplant your cannabis plant(s) when dry. Roots are far more easily shocked/damaged. Soil is also very crumbly and may fall away from the root ball, causing other problems. You always want your plants to be watered decently well, but not fully soaked. I like to transplant plants about 2 to 24 hours after watering; depending upon container size. If you must transplant fairly dry plants due to root ball size, be very gentle; and mist the root ball if possible.
- You also want the new soil to be just moist, but not wet; for sure, not wet! Avoid the urge to compact your soil. Allow it to just sort of settle in the new container. This is a major problem I see in many gardens. Over compaction, during transplanting. It kills plants fast and ugly.
- During routine transplanting, find a way to “rain” on your plants to wash off the leaves. I do this at every transplant. High functioning leaves (“solar panels”) are essential, and every little good move adds up.
In order for topped plants to produce much better yields per plant, they will need larger pots than untopped plants. As an example, I flower untopped plants in 3-gallon pots. I flower topped plants (about 4 to 6 mains) in 4- or 5-gallon pots. These examples are under 400-watt lighting.
Smothering Roots When Transplanting Cannabis Plants
Whenever you transplant, it is important to elevate the root ball about ¾ to 1 inch above the level of the new soil in the container you have transplanted it into. Stepping up from a 3-inch pot to a 7-inch pot, this is not a super important move. Going from a 7-inch pot to a 3-gallon+ container, or anytime you are putting plants from containers into the ground, this is SUPER important. Lemme ‘splain…
When a plant’s roots have reached all the edges of a growing container. The roots all along the edges, and up on top (including the floor) are all specialized roots. These roots are adapted to have high exposure to air. These roots are heavily responsible for feeding the plant, along with getting air for themselves (the roots). Other, thicker roots towards the center of the container are adapted to have less air exposure, and I call them ‘water-roots’ because they are big drinkers baybee. They need less air exposure to function. When transplanting your cannabis plants, especially into the ground, or into much larger containers, below the new soil line, you effectively shut off all the high air exposure to the whole root system—yikes!
This is why it is so vital to leave that root ball a tad above the soil level of the new container. This allows the plant to still function very well using its roots up top to access greater amounts of air—roots need air. You can just fill in the little gap between soil levels with mulch, like bark or something. You can mulch the top of the raised root ball lightly as well. Cutting off all the air access to all the roots, then watering them, just further reduces the air available to the roots. Heavy shock and death can happen fairly easily.
- If transplanting cannabis into prepared holes with custom soil in the ground, or in raised beds, you want to make sure and blend in some native soil with your custom soil. You don’t need a lot, just as a catalyst to help your prepared soil balance out with the native soil.
- Always paint outdoor growing containers with white, or lighter colors on the outsides. This will reflect the heat from the sunlight better, avoiding cooked roots from heat absorbing black pots. Aluminum foil works well too, it’s just very eye-catching.
- If transplanting from under lights to outdoors, an overcast day is always a good time to do it. Otherwise wait for the day to cool, towards evening. Transplant then, assuming mild overnight weather.
- Going from under lights to outdoors, you can gauge your outdoor photoperiod as sunup to sundown, plus 1 hour. It’s good to have your photoperiods close, and raising plants a little bigger indoors, then putting them out later, like in early- to mid-June. This works out well in that respect. Make sure their indoor photoperiod is very close to their outdoor photoperiod for at least 2 weeks before transplanting.
- Only apply top dressing under the mulch, during transplanting, on the new soil and avoid top dressing the top of the root ball.
- Water lightly, if at all, right after transplanting. I almost always wait a day (or 5) before watering lightly for the first time.
My girl is all uber high risk for “The Covid.” So, I have to be extra vigil. I have time to do a lot of gardening while staying mostly hunkered down. When next you find yourself transplanting your cannabis. Add a little tweak, and hone your true transplanting skills. Competent and consistent transplanting skills are one of many things required to truly be a ‘Druid’ class grower. Always try and polish up those fundamental skills. Many small moves all add up to make your buds magical, and of the highest quality. No bull.
Well, everyone, our time together today with this article, has ended. Glad you stopped by to grab a read. I’ll be back with another article next week, every Tuesday here at SKUNK. I have been smoking a lot of Blue Rhino 1947 this last week. Just a super exotic ride that causes smiles for miles. My latest favorite is Chunky Cherry Thai, wowzerz! Grab some BR1947, and Chunky Cherry Thai beans over at KOS, and try it out for yourself. I like these two varieties … a lot. L8r G8rs…
- REvski 😊
I'm The Rev, and I have been with SKUNK for about a decade now. I hail from Southern California, spent mucho time in Northern California, and now reside in Southern Oregon; always coastal. I am an all natural style cannabis grower and I have written a couple books on the subject - check out True Living Organics 2nd Edition on Amazon - I have been growing for over 45 years, and I have been breeding cannabis for over 30 years. Check out kingdomorganicseeds.com to see some exotic selections. Growing connoisseur cannabis is what I teach mostly, growing it in living soil without using liquid organic nutrients to feed the plant. I am also a highly skilled synthetics grower, hydroponics, aeroponics, DWC/SWC/NFT, Ebb and Flow, and soilless, but I cringe when smoking synthetic grown herbs, so for the last 15 years or so I preach the artisan style of all natural growing, specializing in container growing. Cheers and welcome aboard.