Marijuana Breeding Explained
Learning about the different strains can be intimidating, because you could wonder what a cross of this and that strain is, and what a hybrid or a land race strain is, or what a predecessor strain is.
All of those have to do with plant breeding — essentially, breeding a gentleman and female plant to combine or refine the DNA of two variations or strains. Breeding two different strains often results in a new strain, or hybrid.
Weed breeders generally breed to purify and strengthen strains, combine strain traits, or enhance specific characteristics.
Marijuana breeders generally breed to purify and strengthen strains, combine strain traits, or enhance specific attributes like higher harvests, specific aromas, strength, and several other things.
Once cultivating and breeding, it’s key to know where your seeds come from and what sort of DNA they have. If the seed breeder can’t give you an elaborate history of how a packet of seeds was bred or what they were crossed with, you never really know what you’re getting.
How to Breed Marijuana Plants
Pot flowers can be either male or female. Pot users are generally mainly concerned with female ferns, because only ladies produce the sticky nuggets that we all know and love. Nevertheless male weed flowers tend to be key for the breeding process, as they usually are required to pollinate the bud-producing females.
To do this, you require a gentleman of one strain to pollinate a lady of the other. Once pollinated, the female will then produce seeds that express the genes of both the male and female plant. Those seeds will be harvested and grown separately, and voilà: You have congregated a hybrid.
So how do you think whether to pick a man or a lady of each strain that you’re crossing?
“Often in pot, the traits of the female carry over to progeny (seeds) over the male. That mentioned, the traits of the male tend to be are usually obvious to the discerning grower so one should certainly pick a gentleman that will complement the traits of the female,” says Nat Pennington, founder and CEO of Humboldt Seed Organization who’s been breeding marijuana for 20 years.
“So much is possible with truly intentional breeding strategies.”
Immediately after two predecessor strains are generally selected for breeding, a gentleman and a few ladies tend to be put into a breeding chamber to contain the pollen. A breeding chamber can be as simple as an enclosed environment with plastic sheeting on the sides, or a specially designed sterile environment for large-scale breeding.
“A healthy male marijuana plant can pollinate up to 20 women plants, and by pollinate, I mean absolutely completely mask the plant with seeds.”
Nat Penningon, Humboldt Seed Company
a sole male plant can pollinate tens of women. “It’s routinely a perfect idea to have only one male, genetically speaking, per pollination effort,” says Pennington. “A healthy male can pollinate up to 20 women, and by pollinate, I mean absolutely completely mask the plant with seeds.”
This is intentional breeding — any grower who’s accidentally grown a man and pollinated a crop will know that one male can easy pollinate hundreds of girls, filling your whole crop with seeds.
The mature male will grow pollen sacs in the initial couple weeks of its flowering phase. Pollen will release from the sacs, move via air, and land on the female ferns, pollinating them. Having an enclosed breeding chamber is essential to contain the pollen along with to prevent outdoors pollen from getting in.
you could also help along the pollination effort by shaking pollen from the male onto the ladies, or by collecting pollen from the male and directly applying it to the ladies.
These female ferns will continue to grow and flower, throughout which they’ll grow seeds (as well as nuggets. These seeds will express the dna of both the male and female plant.
These seeds — now a hybrid of the two predecessor strains — will be grown on their own, outdoor of the breeding environment.
How to Breed Marijuana Phenotypes
Although the process doesn’t end there. The hybrid strain that you purchase at the dispensary has likely gone through several rounds — or generations — of breeding to strengthen its genes and to make sure that its descendants are usually healthy and consistent.
Homozygosity ensures that a plant will regularly produce the same seeds with the same genetic makeup over and over again.
A plant that produces a set of characteristics that have a lot of variety usually are mentioned to be heterozygous. With marijuana, you generally want seeds that are usually homozygous — ones that have the same set of genes.
Homozygosity ensures that a plant will routinely produce the same seeds with the same genetic makeup over and over again, ensuring that buyers and patients will get the same plant or seed time and again.
Right after a strain is crossed, a breeder will then have to select which phenotype of the new strain they like best. For large-scale growers, they desire to pick decide on the perfect phenotype for mass production.
Back to the Super Lemon Haze example: this strain of marijuana takes a lot of its bud structure, trichome and resin production, and in general appearance from Super Silver Haze. Nevertheless it takes its flavors and aromas from Lemon Skunk.
Many likely, there were early characteristics of Super Lemon Haze that grew tall and loose like Lemon Skunk, or tasted more like Super Silver Haze. Nevertheless the breeder discarded those characteristics and keep cultivating the ones that have the characteristics of what we right now know is Super Lemon Haze.
Backcrossing Marijuana Strains
High-quality breeding still doesn’t stop there. Whenever a breeder has crossed a strain and narrowed down a phenotype and finally has the one, they plan to will constantly backcross that strain to strengthen its genetics.
Backcrossing is a practice where a breeder will cross-pollinate the new strain with itself or a parent — essentially, inbreeding the strain. This makes the strain more homozygous, and strengthens its dna and desirable attributes, along with ensures that those genes continue to pass down from generation to generation.
Breeding is about time and patience. Says Pennington:
“To be a breeder, you must be ready to accept the fact that you won’t have uniformity in the offspring, you can get many ugly ducklings in the hunt for your golden goose.
To prepare seeds that will actually mirror the golden goose takes time, and yes it takes over just an one-off cross. Even soon after you noticed your golden goose, expect to have to do a whole variety of stabilizing backcrosses to reproduce your golden goose in seed form.”
Step by Step Cannabis Breeding
Weed propagation is a lengthy and complex process that can take years to understand and decades to master. Although, it doesn’t have to be, at least not for the residence grower looking to get into breeding on a tiny scale.
For some, breeding can be as simple as fortifying a little seed stock for next year’s crop, or maybe taking your preference strain and keeping its pollen to cross with other desirable female genotypes or characteristics in the future.
In this guide, we’ll review the basics of small-scale weed breeding methods and illustrate the advantages these methods may issue to those who desire to make their very own unique weed seeds and strains.
On the other hand, those who desire to carry seed stock through to the next season will find breeding to be a sustainable option to keep those dna around. Not every grower can afford to go back to the nursery or seed business and buy new dna between every season. Soon considering that, in many states the cost of an individual clone can exceed $20, while a dozen weed seeds could with little effort cost $100 or more. For several micro-budget residence growers, breeding is the only way to keep dna around.
For instance, a popular breeding practice demands propagating genotypes in large batches some days hundreds of ferns in number) to be able to see the widest margin of genetic variation possible.
This permits growers to select only the many desirable characteristics to cultivate further. But, any time while you have a maximum household plant count of 12, this isn’t possible. Residence breeders must work around these issues if they want to both breed and propagate sinsemilla marijuana (without seed) as well.
What You’ll Need:
One mature male pot plant, between 2–3 weeks into bloom phase (or collected male pollen)
One mature female weed plant, between 2–3 weeks into bloom phase
Isolated propagation chamber (e.G. A sealed grow tent or equivalent)
Small paint brush
Plastic baggies and ties
Below are the steps to get started:
1. Sanitize Your Growing Area
First, you should work within a tidy and sanitized environment. Start by cleaning your isolation chamber in preparation of obtaining the female plant. A tidy space will both help to prevent cross-contamination and offer a safe and sanitary place for the plant to completely mature.
Diluting a tiny concentration of bleach or isopropyl liquor with water should do the trick. Don’t forget to sanitize any pollination equipment, like your paint brush, as well.
ensure that your isolation chamber does not contain any female flowers that you don’t desire to breed with.
This will make sure the prevention of unwanted cross-pollination. But, if over one female weed plant must mature inside of the same space, implementing the following selective pollination technique (which necessitates using plastic baggies and then some ties to protect the pollinated colas) should still adequately protect your room.
2. Collecting Pollen from Marijuana Plants
Male pot flowers will start to show their pollen sacs in the initial beginning week or two into their bloom phase. Shortly immediately after, these sacs will open and pollen will become abundantly accessible.
As a desirable male plant has been identified, remove it from any female flowers and isolate it immediately. The aspiration aim is to gather the staminate pollen without accidentally open-pollinating any other female plant.
Keep the desired male plant in isolation while in the pollen collection process, then terminate the male to be safe. By using a little paintbrush, you could cautiously collect pollen into a plastic bag or glass jar.
be thoughtful that pollen is “alive” and that humidity can dramatically affect the viability of the pollen. For storage, keep male pollen sealed in an airtight container and store in a cold, dark space like a fridge for long-term holding. In the event you plan to access your pollen greater lots of times each year, it’s usually better to keep it in a freezer as the temperature swing from storage to room temperature is much lower. Flawlessly stored pollen may last for over per year under ideal conditions.
Applying Pollen to Female Cannabis
Female marijuana plants in the flowering stage is mature enough to receive pollen once ferns start to form hair-like stigma. Without complicating this process also much, the object of selective pollination is to place male pollen onto specific branches or colas from which the breeder wishes to produce seeds. Each cola can produce hundreds of seeds if pollinated properly.
Choosing which/how several branches to pollinate will come down to grower/breeder favorite. A solitary weed bud that has been pollinated can conveniently harvest 20–30 mature seeds.
To carry out this process:
Ensure there really is negative pressure in the isolation chamber before continuing. Prepare by collecting the baggie containing your male pollen, a paintbrush, and gloves. Gently collect a tiny quantity of pollen from the collection baggie with your brush (a little goes a very, very long way).
Run the brush gently across desired female ferns, making sure to only run the bristles across the tops of each stigma.
Whenever a cola has been pollinated, you might seal the cola covering it accompanied by a tidy plastic baggie and tying it off to form an airtight seal (this will prevent cross-contamination). Note: this step isn’t needed if (a) you intend to pollinate the whole plant in isolation, or (b) you don’t have any issues with potentially finding a number of seeds while in the rest of your pollinated plant. (Pollen spreads conveniently, making this is a possibility.)
To prevent any further contamination, keep your isolation chamber sealed during the maturation process.
This application process should repeat 1–3 times over the course of a week or two. Right following the fourth week of bloom, you could suspend your process.
You’ve got to reintroduce your pollenated female back inside a room with other maturing female ferns, you could rinse the plant down with tidy water immediately following pollination to remove any excess pollen.
This isn’t one hundred percent fail-proof, nevertheless once done cautiously and completely it may encourage the plant to breathe a little bit better.Collecting Seed for Harvest
Your seeds should be totally mature once the plant has completed senescence. For ripe flowers containing seed stock, it’s best to let the life cycle exacerbate completely before harvesting to give seeds their maximum time to mature.
Soon after you yield and dry your flowers, it’s then time to group up seeds. Totally mature seeds usually are darker and often contain striped patterns covering their encasing. If executed completely, you have got to harvest a healthy amount of seeds no matter how may colas you pick to pollinate. Congratulations, you’re right now a certified residence breeder!