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All the Young Dudes: Cannabis Pollen Collection and Use

Pot magazines like High Times are famous for publishing amazing pictures of cannabis flowers of mostly the female species. Cannabis is a dioecious plant, which means that the male and female flowers develop on separate plants, although monoecious examples with both sexes on one plant are found. Sibling crosses draw genetic traits from both the mother and father plant, the male plays just as important a role as the female does but its rare to see male cannabis plants in full bloom and pollen collection and use is almost a mythical craft. I will do my best in this article to shed some light on the ways pollen is collected and dispersed.

Before we talk about collecting pollen let’s talk about staggering. This is a trick I learned by trial and error that allows us to get the maximum number of seeds per plant. This doesn’t apply to those just working with a branch or two.
When pollinating a mother plant for seed I will start her into 12/12 a full 7 days before I move the male into budding room. Keeping in mind that each strain is going to be a bit different on its time frame, this 7 day rule has worked very well for us.

Once the male is flowering well the females will be entering a window around day 21-24. Most hybrids I work with are done in less than 9 weeks so 3 weeks in is good place to start. You can pollinate up to day 30 but you stand a good chance of the seeds never getting mature so I find each strain perfect window. Apollo-13 is closer to 21 days and Jacks Cleaner is better at say 26 or so.

One thing I must insert – and I am not trying to be rude for young, aspiring breeders out there – is advice to concentrate on producing the best herb you can and mastering the craft of room set-up. Again, no offence, but you can’t breed properly in a cab. I do it in a limited space but I have been growing successfully some 32 years and didn’t start breeding till I had around 20 years under my belt. It doesn’t hurt to experiment – that is how we learn – but I think at least a few years as a grower are in order before anyone attempts breeding even though I lay out every single step. If you think its easy, ask a grower how many complete garbage strains he’s grown out from so called “Established Breeders”. It takes an eye and that is gained from experience.

Ok, so now we have our male in full bloom and we have our females in the breeding room. This area should be completely separated from main bud area preferably in another building completely. If the two rooms share a common HVAC duct system you will get pollution into your main area. Pollen is serious stuff and flies everywhere and you cannot see it. It will stick to your clothes, pets, etc. You must change clothes and bath after entering your breeding area.

Over the years I have budded out quite a few males and each one acts a bit differently. Some bud extremely fast while others tend to release pollen over a longer period of time. The best males to work with are one that matures in a short window maturing and releasing pollen in a short time span.

I prefer to simply allow my males to hang out with my mothers for a few days with a small fan positioned on the male with females in the air stream. As the stamen open the pollen naturally flies into the air providing max coverage. We also like to pluck off ripe pods and gently roll them between our fingers over each cola head. This is how we capture the amazing suspended pollen shots I set as a standard and later Jill perfected.

The Pollen Trap

One trick I have used in the past is the pollen trap. This trick takes a good eye for when the male is about to open. If you can figure that out – simple – take two large Tupperware containers and form a box that will hold a cup with water. Wax paper in bottom and along sides and tops you have cut off the mature male. Place the tops to hang over the wax paper and tape the entire box shut this allows you to have it in a non secure place like a vegetive room. Warning: don’t spill the water as it ruins the pollen and don’t put more into the glass than you need to. I used a heavy bar glass that wouldn’t tip over.

One thing we should cover is male cluster formation. When selecting a male for breeding we run him as a mature full size plant and we want to see even if he has met all our other breeding criteria that he makes big gnarly male clusters this indicates the bud formation he might pass on. If you male produces small clusters he most likely will not pass on larger yields to the offspring. This is not set in stone but it is a very good indication.

Once the plants are fully pollinated I wash the females off with a spray bottle of water and if its raining I place out doors for a night up high on a barrel where no bugs could possibly get to her. I prefer a gentle long rain to a spray bottle as it removed any access pollen. Once I have redundantly rinsed I place the mothers back into my main bud not in the main air stream of my blowers

More Tricks

Back to the male we have used for the breeding party. I will bend his branches over and cover them with a V spaded hanging trap I make from wax paper. This is the process I will get Jill to shoot here in about 3 weeks and add to the thread. One thing to watch out for is the male flowers they contain water and must be removed from pollen. I find the hanging traps I make can be shaken and the flowers being heavy fall to the corners and can be removed from the pile.

Collecting pollen is a bit like milking a gnat, when you manually roll a pod and it falls it may be a million grains but its is barley visible to the eye it also tends to stick to the wax paper but the solution is to mix in some dry flour. I used a ratio of about 5 to 1 and ended up with a yellow looking mix that resembled cake batter. I allowed the flour to dry well and microwaving wouldn’t be bad idea to remove any moisture that might remain in the flour.

The male Cannabis plant is amazing in its own right and in the game of creating hybrids a male known for his attributes can be worth a lot more than the most elite female cutting.

If you have any questions you can reach Subcool at:

www.tgagenetics.com

Subcool is an expert grower, breeder, seed producer, and author of Dank: The Quest for the Very Best Marijuana, and the upcoming Dank 2.0 published by Ed Rosenthal's Quick Trading Company. He and is a regular contributor to Cannabis Culture and other marijuana magazines. Read more articles by Subcool on Cannabis Culture.


Comments

Very Cool

I might like to summarize this description for my own blog.
www.1-800-cannabis.info

Thanks, Sarah

Subcool on Cannabis Cuts 4/19/11!!

http://podcasts.piratecatradiocafe.org/CannabisCuts/CannabisCuts-20110419.mp3

And Don from DNA Genetics!!

Pollen - Hermaphrodites?

Pollen, the Male orgasm of a Marijuana plant! This silky fine stuff can be very hard to remove from a seed crop, or not startle and spread. Plant 50 seeds and when they all start to flower you will have to remove half of them. Supposedly plants become acclimatized to the grow area where the seeds are made. Does a hot dry grow area make the resulting seeds prefer the hot & dry or the opposite, cool & humid? Do you consider hermaphrodite pollen valuable? The stressed out plants can trigger automatic pollen sacs on females from the 'survival' reaction. WHICH in turn makes feminized seeds. ALL FEMALES.... with the potential to produce more hermi's which is not preferred (avoid stress and no hermi's appear - ALL strains have the potential to hermi). Hermaphrodites are not really meant to be worthy but why are all the top strains 'feminized' like blueberry & white widow... if the cannabis cup winners are hermaphrodites the genetic concept defeats the purpose. Now there are autoflowering strains which don't spread pollen and don't have males available. HOW do Auto-flowering plants make seeds? Hermaphrodites or defects?
BUT when you start your breeding, how will you know which is male to keep the male 7 days longer out of the flowering room. You must clone it first because you shouldn't spark the 12/12 light because re-juvinating a plant from flowering back to vegetative degrades the genetic profile. SO.... DO WE REALLY WANT AUTO-FLOWERING STRAINS?

Pollen

I collect pollen by laying the male on it's side in a box with a tin foil trough underneath to catch the pollen/flowers as the fall off. A CFL or two supplies enough light for the male to finish and the box can be isolated in another part of the house to keep the pollen from getting the girls.

I then carefully pick out any flower parts and collect the pollen in a vial and store the open vial in a sealed jar with desiccant for a couple of weeks then seal the vial. Separate buds on lower branches can be dusted letting the rest of the plant mature and be cropped. The bottom of the plant can be kept growing until the seeds mature.

Using pollen stored that way didn't seem to work when last used and was wondering about the shelf life of such pollen.

Two weeks in a jar with colour changing laboratory desiccant should have dried the pollen sufficiently I would think but maybe not?

Love your stuff SubCool! Sure wish I had this kind of info available back in the late '70s when I first grew bud.

L8r

Peace

Open and actively

Open and actively pollenating male flowers can be snipped and dried in small containers where they drop plenty of pollen that can be applied as desired with a paintbrush. Also, a male with lighter bud clusters might compensate with other qualities. Don't knock the little guys; most Hawaiian bud is small, but it'll smack ya.

Open and actively

Open and actively pollenating male flowers can be snipped and dried in small containers where they drop plenty of pollen that can be applied as desired with a paintbrush. Also, a male with lighter bud clusters might compensate with other qualities. Don't knock the little guys; most Hawaiian bud is small, but it'll smack ya.

Open and actively

Open and actively pollenating male flowers can be snipped and dried in small containers where they drop plenty of pollen that can be applied as desired with a paintbrush. Also, a male with lighter bud clusters might compensate with other qualities. Don't knock the little guys; most Hawaiian bud is small, but it'll smack ya.

Pollen Get Everywhere By The Sounds Of It.

I never tried breeding before, but genetics sounds like an interesting challenge. Do you think there is any method we could use to induce random increased gene express to try and find new stronger hybrid traits? I'm into making bubble hash, so I'm just thinking there could be some interesting results. Any ideas, you can find me at http://bubblehash.org

Excuse my spelling ... geez I can't proof read very well

Cheers!

Females aren't a species.

Females aren't a species. Cannabis is the species; female is a sex, male is a sex.

Thank You

I am always surprised at how often this guy gets published. People must be desperate for material. He's SO medicated all the time that he comes across like a dumb country boy at best.

Subcool you couldn't hold a candle to Marc Emery. You always bashed Marc Emery when you had a real family at Breedbay. Now that person you bashed for YEARS is locked up for doing the RIGHT thing and you are doing WHAT for him?! I'll bet NOTHING Right?!
Congrats on having someone you bashed for years give you a spot in his Mag.
I wonder if the Emery's know how poorly you've spoke of them over the years.

Thank You

I am always surprised at how often this guy gets published. People must be desperate for material. He's SO medicated all the time that he comes across like a dumb country boy at best.

Subcool you couldn't hold a candle to Marc Emery. You always bashed Marc Emery when you had a real family at Breedbay. Now that person you bashed for YEARS is locked up for doing the RIGHT thing and you are doing WHAT for him?! I'll bet NOTHING Right?!
Congrats on having someone you bashed for years give you a spot in his Mag.
I wonder if the Emery's know how poorly you've spoke of them over the years.

Unbelieveable

I am always surprised at how often this guy gets published. People must be desperate for material.
Subcool you couldn't hold a candle to Marc Emery. You always bashed Marc Emery when you had a real family at Breedbay. Now that person you bashed for YEARS is locked up for doing the RIGHT thing and you are doing WHAT for him?! I'll bet NOTHING Right?!
Congrats on having someone you bashed for years give you a spot in his Mag.
I wonder if the Emery's know how poorly you've spoke of them over the years.

Thank You

I am always surprised at how often this guy gets published. People must be desperate for material. He's SO medicated all the time that he comes across like a dumb country boy at best.

Subcool you couldn't hold a candle to Marc Emery. You always bashed Marc Emery when you had a real family at Breedbay. Now that person you bashed for YEARS is locked up for doing the RIGHT thing and you are doing WHAT for him?! I'll bet NOTHING Right?!
Congrats on having someone you bashed for years give you a spot in his Mag.
I wonder if the Emery's know how poorly you've spoke of them over the years.

Thank You

I am always surprised at how often this guy gets published. People must be desperate for material. He's SO medicated all the time that he comes across like a dumb country boy at best.

Subcool you couldn't hold a candle to Marc Emery. You always bashed Marc Emery when you had a real family at Breedbay. Now that person you bashed for YEARS is locked up for doing the RIGHT thing and you are doing WHAT for him?! I'll bet NOTHING Right?!
Congrats on having someone you bashed for years give you a spot in his Mag.
I wonder if the Emery's know how poorly you've spoke of them over the years.

Thank You

I am always surprised at how often this guy gets published. People must be desperate for material. He's SO medicated all the time that he comes across like a dumb country boy at best.

Subcool you couldn't hold a candle to Marc Emery. You always bashed Marc Emery when you had a real family at Breedbay. Now that person you bashed for YEARS is locked up for doing the RIGHT thing and you are doing WHAT for him?! I'll bet NOTHING Right?!
Congrats on having someone you bashed for years give you a spot in his Mag.
I wonder if the Emery's know how poorly you've spoke of them over the years.

Thank You

I am always surprised at how often this guy gets published. People must be desperate for material. He's SO medicated all the time that he comes across like a dumb country boy at best.

Subcool you couldn't hold a candle to Marc Emery. You always bashed Marc Emery when you had a real family at Breedbay. Now that person you bashed for YEARS is locked up for doing the RIGHT thing and you are doing WHAT for him?! I'll bet NOTHING Right?!
Congrats on having someone you bashed for years give you a spot in his Mag.
I wonder if the Emery's know how poorly you've spoke of them over the years.

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