Cutting back your cannabis plants, or pruning, can help your plants to produce larger buds to maximize your yield and to produce buds with more potency. There are a few different reasons why growers would cut their cannabis plants such as to make a parent plant or make a clone, but the most common reason to prune cannabis is to have more distributed production or to have a more discreet plant.
1. Use Quality Plant Scissors
Pruning your plants correctly takes some dedication and knowledge of the proper techniques to ensure healthy plants that produce bountiful buds. You should have some good pruning scissors that are clean and sharp to avoid damaging your plant or introducing disease.
2. When to Prune Cannabis
You should begin pruning when your cannabis plant is in the vegetative stage. Never cut back your plants during the flowering stage. Pruning generates a hormonal response in your plant that releases a growth inhibitor hormone called jasmonic acid. This defense mechanism requires time for the plant to recover from and over pruning could halt growth or eliminate production of buds.
You should water your plants after pruning to help them recover, this helps to reduce shock and stimulate growth. If you are new to pruning, donâ€™t overdo it and do not strip a stalk or branch of all its leaves.
3. How to Prune Cannabis
Cannabis plants require sunlight and airflow to produce high-quality buds. It is critical for the plantâ€™s energy to be focused at the top. This means that you should cut back and get rid of any dying leaves or branches near the bottom of the plant that receive little light and any bud sites that are located at the foot of the main stalk. It might be hard at first to understand the logic behind cutting leaves early, although any leaves pruned prior to 12 weeks contain minimal THC and you are doing your plant a favor to grow healthier and produce more.
With careful pruning, you can help your marijuana plant to send the energy where it is most beneficial and not waste valuable nutrients on large fan leaves or dying leaves. Those large fan leaves have a purpose, however, and serve sort of as a solar panel to get the right nutrients throughout the plant. While defoliation can lead to better yields, the large leaves absorb sunlight necessary for photosynthesis and store it to use later. If you remove too many leaves you can damage your plant. The leaves produce sugar that gets sent to the younger leaves, side shoots and buds.
Focus on the lower branches first before moving to the middle of the plant and pay attention to bud sites that are shielded from the sun. You will have to use precision cutting and never remove branches with your hands. You should also work in intervals and never cut too much at once to avoid shocking the plant and causing damage.
The top cola, the highest tip of the plant, contains a chemical element that can hinder the growth of other branches. If you cut the tip, the energy is distributed to the other branches. By pruning the top of your plant you can help your cannabis to grow wider and bushier instead of tall and straight. Topping is important as you donâ€™t want one big stalk with a huge bud on it, but rather several colas with manageable buds that are less prone to mold and disease. There is more information along with a couple of videos showing how to prune cannabis and the importance of topping on Leafly.com.
If you are new to cutting back your cannabis plants, begin with caution and start with only the leaves that look unhealthy such as withered or yellow leaves, leaves with brown tips or with signs of lobes partially eaten. By pruning your cannabis plant correctly and at the right time, you can be rewarded with a healthy, bigger yield.
Get enough quality cannabis seeds to try different pruning methods and learn what works best for your objectives and your available space.