Pay attention that growing marijuana may be subject to special restrictions and regulation in your country or state. Please contact your attorney to obtain advice before cultivating cannabis.
Time to give your cannabis a little haircut! Caring for your plants takes many different forms. Some plants require little to no attention and thrive on neglect, while others demand all the love and care you can possibly give them. Weed plants are particularly high maintenance and require special care to reward you with the best final product. To achieve a successful yield, a multitude of factors must be considered.
One particularly laborious yet crucial step for high-quality weed is pruning cannabis. This essential procedure requires dedication and energy. But don’t get discouraged! We've prepared a set of steps and tips to make sure you maximize your harvest's success.
Reasons for Pruning Marijuana Plants
If you're wondering why cannabis pruning is such an essential part of taking care of these plants, here are just a few reasons:
- Promotes growth – pruning increases bushiness and boosts bud production.
- Improves airflow and sun exposure – this leads to better yield and product quality.
- Improves overall plant health – besides the reasons mentioned above, pruning also prevents pests, molds, and other fungal and bacterial infections.
- Better smoking experience – if you intend to smoke your harvest, pruning will remove the small leaves that cause excessive coughing and an overall unpleasant experience.
Ah! Did we mention a pruned plant looks more neat? So pretty!
When Is It Best to Start Pruning Cannabis?
You can start pruning as soon as the vegetative stage, as long as the optimal growing conditions are met, and extend it to the flowering stage. Begin around the second week of the vegetative stage and keep pruning up until the second week of the flowering stage, leaving at least a one-week interval between each pruning.
Deciding how to trim cannabis plants will depend on your desired results, personal preferences, and level of expertise. Let’s start with how to prune weed plants to maximize harvest.
You have some low-risk techniques, such as normal defoliating, where you simply remove damaged leaves, and high-risk techniques. Some of the most popular techniques in this group are topping, which means pruning directly above a node; fimming, which focuses on cutting small leaves and leaving only around 30% of the plant intact; and lollipop, where you trim to focus on top growth, making an almost lollipop-shaped plant.
Then there is weed plant trimming. This is essentially the process of harvesting and preparing the buds for drying by removing all the fan and sugar leaves (the small leaves around the buds).
There are two techniques: wet trimming, done right after harvest, when the plant still has moisture, and dry trimming, where the buds are dried first, and the leaves removed after. There are specific benefits to wet and dry trimming. The first makes it easier to remove sugar leaves and relieves you of the trouble of hanging your plants, but you'll have to deal with the mess of sticky oils and the aggravated risk of mold. The latter doesn't involve much mess, since the resin glands are already hard, but you'll have to be much more delicate handling the buds when trimming.
How to Trim a Weed Plant Step-by-Step
Now that you know the many paths you can follow, it's also important to note indoor and outdoor plants will have slight differences and preferences. Read along to learn how to prune marijuana plants:
Potted Plants Indoors
Potted indoor plants have the advantage of constant and controlled conditions, making it easier to achieve your desired result.
Around the second week of this stage, prune the lower branches and remove large fan leaves and any damaged material. To prevent wind damage and unwanted attention, cut the top to reduce height. To do this, pinch off the tall stalks and then make a clean cut about 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 cm) below with pruners.
Flowering stage In outdoor plants, lower branches should always be absent. Since it’s impossible to control airflow and sun exposure, this is the best way to maximize bud production.
Harvesting works the same way for indoor and outdoor plants. Cut small branches. If you opt for dry trimming, hang the branches in for about a week to dry. After that, or if you’re trying wet trimming, remove the fan leaves and buck or puck the buds.
Trimming is also identical for both scenarios. Trim the sugar leaves carefully not to damage the buds. Aim for uniform and not too big final products. Store the buds and enjoy
Every journey begins with a little step. Don't rush! Take everything nice and slow, just as you would with people. Learn how to listen to your plants! They'll be thankful and reward you with harvest.
Tips for Pruning Cannabis
Here are some additional tips to increase your chances of success:
- Use high-quality tools, such as nice quality clippers, pruners, and cutting scissors.
- Wear gloves when handling your plants to prevent stickiness and reduce the risk of contamination between dirty hands and plants.
- Use grape seed oil or olive oil to reduce stickiness and keep your cutting tools efficient.
- If you're a beginner, start with basic pruning by removing damaged or yellow leaves.
- Stop fertilizing a week before pruning and a few days after to reduce shock risk.
- Don't remove too many leaves at a time and space out each pruning to about one to two weeks apart.
- For Indica varieties, wait an additional week before starting pruning as they grow slower than Sativa.
- If you go with dry trimming, use the trimmed material for other purposes, such as making edibles or cannabutter, to reduce waste.
With these tips, you're bound to succeed. Knowledge is power!
After-Trim Plant Care
After pruning, follow these steps to help your plants react well to your interventions:
- Water your plants after pruning to reduce stress and shock and stimulate growth.
- Abstain from fertilizing right after pruning, but your plant's roots will benefit from a dose of vitamin B complex fertilizer.
- Start the curing process by storing your buds in glass jars in a dark and cool cabinet right after trimming, as this is crucial to preserving your hard work.
Aftercare is important, so make sure you give you greenie a warm embrace (metaphorically speaking, of course).
Is It Ok to Trim Leaves During the Flowering Stage?
Yes, you can start trimming weed plants from the second week of the vegetative state until the second week of the flowering stage. Just make sure you don't over-trim and space out your pruning sessions to avoid shocking the plant.
Is it Better to Trim Weed Fresh or Dry?
Both methods are equally effective; it depends on your preferences and desired results. Trimming fresh weed might make your product more susceptible to mold, but it's relatively easier to achieve a cleaner look, while dry trimming relieves you of all the stickiness, but it's harder to create an even final look.
How Long Do You Have to Trim Weed Plants?
Weed plants require multiple prunings throughout their growing and flowering cycles, so you'll have to trim your plants pretty much throughout their whole life. This doesn't mean you'll have to constantly cater to them, but they will demand a lot of attention and care.
Now it's time to give your plant a cute fringe! No worries… You're a professional hairdresser now.