In recent years, defoliation has become a fiercely debated topic among cannabis cultivators. Some growers even believe that defoliation can be harmful to their plants. However, we at Mary Jane’s Friends & Co. believe that defoliation is an important part of growing your plants and increasing your cannabis yield.
This post will teach you all about defoliating your plants, when it should happen, and why it’s important.
What is Defoliation?
Simply put, defoliation is a technique used to selectively remove a plant’s fan leaves. This trimming process is often used by growers to increase the size of their buds and improve yields. By carefully defoliating your plant, you can easily control how the plant grows and stimulate extra bud development.
Defoliation can also be used to remove some of your cannabis plant’s branches. By removing some of a plant’s smaller branches, you allow the plant to transfer its energy to other growth regulators.
Benefits of Defoliation
Regular defoliation creates stronger, healthier plants. Defoliating your plants give them the opportunity to thrive and grow. Below, we will discuss several of the benefits that defoliation offers cannabis growers.
Cannabis defoliation helps improve airflow and light exposure to the main growth regulators surrounding your plant’s cola. This allows your plants to redirect energy and focus on new growth.
Increased light exposure will help improve your plant’s photosynthesis process. According to a 2015 study, higher light levels allow cannabis plants to have a greater adaptability potential and optimum growth.
Improved airflow will increase your plant’s strength and adaptability. If you are growing your plants indoors, additional air exposure will help mimic a natural outdoor environment and improve the structural integrity of your plants.
Lower Risk of Pests and Mold
Pests and mold can invade your plants and even destroy your crop. By defoliating your plants, you decrease your plant’s humidity levels and increase air exposure, allowing a stronger defense against bothersome creatures and fungus.
By not maintaining a plant’s growth and foliage, you can expose it to all kinds of harmful organisms, including white powdery mildew, mold, and spider mites.
After defoliating your plant, your plants will become easier to harvest and trim. By actively maintaining your plants, you will have less to do when it’s time to harvest. With all the large fan leaves removed, you will no longer have to deal with the excess parts you must trim and maneuver around.
When Should I Defoliate My Plant?
Before you decide to defoliate your plant, you should always inspect it and make sure that it is healthy. If a plant is sick or weak, your risk severely harming the plant or even killing it. To ensure that your plant bounces back from the defoliation process, make sure that you are giving your plants enough light and space to grow.
Finding the perfect time to defoliate your plants largely depends on your personal preference. Let’s further discuss the three life cycle stages to figure out which is best for you.
During this stage, your cannabis plants should remain untouched. Removing any part of the plant can cause unnecessary damage and stress. Your plant should be strong and healthy before you expose it to any avoidable stressors. If your plant is a seedling or clone, leave it alone until it becomes more mature.
Once your plant has reached its vegetative state, you may begin some light defoliation. At this point, your plants should have leaves and branches that can be gently shaped and trimmed.
You should only begin the defoliation process if your plant has begun to take shape and grow into its structure. As your plant begins to stretch out, keep an eye on it and start considering what shape you would like for it to take.
For some, this is a great time to begin practicing defoliation. When trimming, always make sure to keep the leaves that are getting the best light exposure. Instead, focus your energy on the inner parts of the plant that are obstructing your plant’s airflow and light. You may also begin trimming the lower parts of the plants as you see fit.
When beginning the defoliation process, think about the concentration of your plant’s leaves. Do they appear to be cluttered and dense? Does this part of my plant offer optimal growth and exposure?
Defoliating your plant before it begins the flowering cycle may also give your buds more space to develop.
During the flowering stage, your plant has redirected its energy and is now focusing on flower production. Now that your plant is no longer completely dependent on its leaves, leaf production should start to slow down.
Make sure that you are concentrating on your plant’s fan leaves during defoliation. At this stage, the fan leaves are obstructing your buds and keeping them from growing in an ideal environment. By removing all the unnecessary foliage, you will expose your buds to more light and airflow. This ensures that they are growing in the best environment for flower production.
At this time, you should also keep an eye out for any old, yellow leaves. Make sure that you remove these as well since they are no longer necessary or ideal for your plant’s growth.
You can choose to defoliate your plants at different times during the flowering stage or only do it when you see fit. Be careful to not remove too many leaves as this can stress out your plant and stunt its growth.
For some, defoliation can be a confusing practice. With so much contradictory information on the internet, it’s hard to determine which practices are best. That’s why we’re here.
We are here to help all cannabis growers in Michigan maintain and grow their plants.
We understand that defoliation can be a time consuming and complicated process. Trust Mary Jane’s Friends & Co to help with all your cannabis maintenance. From your plant’s growth to post-harvest processing such as hand trimming or machine trimming, we have your back.