Growing cannabis plants can be highly lucrative; however, there is a steep learning curve for growers without decades of experience. To compete in a legal cannabis market, you must maximize the space you have while minimizing waste. Managing a profitable grow is complicated but following proven trimming techniques is one of the most basic methods to ensuring your next harvest is successful.
Cannabis trimming doesn’t start at the end of the season; it’s an ongoing process to help maximize your yield and reduce external threats. In this post, we are going to discuss different trimming methods used throughout the plant’s lifecycle. Each developmental period is critical, requiring multiple ways of upkeep. Trimming using best practices puts your plants in the best possible position to thrive.
Pruning Cannabis During the Vegetation Stage
Cannabis plants require maintenance throughout their entire life cycle. Removing small parts of the plant to encourage healthy growth is called pruning. To maximize each plant’s yield, some areas of the plant need to be trimmed regularly. This way, you won’t waste light and nutrients on areas without the potential for cannabinoid and terpene-rich flowers.
The vegetative state is when you want to begin pruning. Wait until your plant forms four pairs of leaves or knots before removing any branches. Most plants exceeding twelve inches in height are beyond the seedling stage, have entered veg, and are ready to prune.
Below are three of the most common pruning methods; each is essential to producing healthy cannabis plants.
Once your plant reaches your desired height, you want to remove the central stalk. Topping
encourages lateral growth, spreading the plant out rather than up. Cannabis plants produce more flower when their limbs spread outwards. Topping alters the plant’s growth trajectory, maximizing space and increasing flower output.
FIM, an acronym for ‘F*** I missed,’ is a popular topping method that increases flowering sites. Instead of making a clean cut under the knot on the main stem, leave 20%, allowing more offshoots.
Lollipopping or Low Pruning
Lollipopping is a pruning method that focuses on the bottom parts of the plant. When done correctly, plants will grow in the shape of a giant lollipop, with a bare main stem and bushy upper growth. Lollipopping removes plant areas that won’t produce, focusing your resources on the buds with access to light. Ventilation is another reason to clear out lower growth, especially in indoor grows. Air can travel freely, limiting areas where moisture can build and create a mold breakout.
An experienced cannabis trim team usually begins lollipop pruning no later than the end of the third week of the vegetative stage. The process only takes a few minutes per plant but should only be done by professionals who apply a unique growth strategy to each plant.
Defoliation consists of removing leaves to help bolster plant growth. Benefits of defoliation include an increase in airflow, light penetration, and resin production. Every grower has a different approach based on past outcomes.
Every cannabis plant grows differently. Therefore, proper defoliation requires an understanding of cannabis plant growth and experience.
Post Harvest Trimming
Once your plant’s trichomes have properly developed, it’s time to harvest. While flowering is the final phase of the plant’s lifecycle, your work is far from over. Proper post-harvest trimming techniques ensure buds are ready to consume and little goes to waste. The different trimming techniques have advantages and disadvantages; the final decision is ultimately up to the grower. Any experienced cannabis trim team will have the experience and resources to hand or dry trim while the cannabis is dry or wet.
There’s no substitution for hand trimming. Handling each individual bud allows the trimmer to perform a higher level of precision, preserve as many trichomes as possible, and is more environmentally friendly than using machines.
Hand-trimmed buds are more valuable in today’s craft cannabis market. Consumers appreciate the attention to detail and preservation of each bud’s natural beauty achieved by hand trimming.
Utilizing technology over manual labor also has advantages. For large grows, trimming every bud may not be an option. Machine trimmers can process cannabis at an exponentially higher rate than a cannabis trim team. Using a machine trimmer makes sense for large operations, but the buds will become more uniform, and more flower is wasted.
Dry Vs. Wet Trimming
Deciding when to trim is entirely up to the grower. Everyone has their own preference, and there are advantages to trimming flower immediately vs. letting it dry out first.
Wet trimming is much easier and saves time but gets messy. When cannabis is fresh, the leaves stick out, making them easier to cut; however, the buds are still we and can be very sticky. The disadvantage to wet trimming is a potential reduction in quality. The outer leaves retain moisture in the drying process; the buds can get dried out prematurely when they are removed.
Dry trimming takes more time but can produce higher quality bud. Allowing buds to dry retains moisture and creates a more enjoyable consistency. The dry trimmed flower usually has a better taste and more colorful buds.
Hire Our Cannabis Trim Team Today
At Mary Jane’s Friends & CO, we specialize in trimming cannabis plants to increase yields at every stage of development. Our knowledgeable and experienced staff are passionate about cannabis and enjoy helping local growers maximize their harvests. Trimming takes persistent attention to detail and love for each plant. Contact us today by text or phone to discuss how we can help optimize your next grow.
More Services from Mary Jane’s Friends & CO
We are proud to be Michigan’s first legal, licensed, and insured cannabis maintenance company. Our services extend far beyond trimming plants; we specialize in every aspect of the cannabis plant’s lifecycle, from transplanting clones to sterilizing facilities post-harvest.