October 5, 2013

How To Prune Marijuana Plants: 7 Tips for Trimming Cannabis

October 5, 2013
Picture of triimming cannabis: find out how to trim weed plants on the Weed Blog.

Currently, 11 states have legalized marijuana for adults over the age of 21, and 33 states (including the 11 recreational states) have legalized for medical marijuana patients. Most states allow adults or patients to home cultivate marijuana, meaning individuals are able to actually grow a certain number of weed plants legally! As legalization spreads nationally, ordinary Americans are learning cultivation methods which were once secret murmurs of the underground.

But, cannabis cultivation takes time, effort, and money. Cultivators need to understand climate, lighting, watering, and how to prune marijuana. After investing such significant resources, any cultivator wants his cannabis plants to grow to their full potential to maximize these resources. A key component of this process is pruning cannabis. Learn important tips here about pruning marijuana properly. 

How To Trim Marijuana: Pruning Weed Plants

Cultivation of any plant involves trimming or pruning in some way. Excessive growth can be bulky and cumbersome. Pruning weed is especially important because trimming pot plants actually increases yield. Follow these 7 tips to learn how to trim marijuana plants properly:

  1. Prune your cannabis branches early: When your marijuana plants are small before the flowering state, cut a few of the lower branches because they won’t produce much during the flowering stage. This will allow the young marijuana plant to focus on more productive, upper branches and could potentially increase the flower yield of the plant.
  2. Use a good cutting tool and prune weed carefully: Use sharp scissors and take caution when pruning cannabis branches. Your plants are still young at this point, and a quick clean snip won’t be as stressful on the plant as tearing with your hands or using a dull blade. 
  3. Remove dead leaves: As your small marijuana plants age, they will grow larger and produce more leaves. As this growth occurs, the leaves toward the bottom of the plant won’t receive as much light as those toward the top. The bottom leaves will begin turning yellow, and they should be pruned. Pruning weed plants’ lower leaves will be beneficial for the entire plant. 
  4. Manage indoor cultivation: Space limitations from an indoor grow will likely necessitate pruning the plot plants. Ceilings and walls can inhibit the growth of your cannabis plants, and pruning can alleviate these problems.
  5. Top your cannabis plants: Learning how to top a cannabis plant isn’t difficult. The biggest branch (top cola) contains a chemical that restricts growth of the lower branches. If the top cola is pruned, it allows the rest of the plant to flourish. 
  6. Be patient transitioning your cannabis plants into flowering states: Give your plants about 4-5 days to recover after topping them before forcing their flowering stage. Waiting for this time period will produce higher yields than forcing flowers immediately after topping. 
  7. Don’t prune cannabis plants during flowering: Once your plants start flowering, stop most of your pruning. During the flowering stage, the plants are growing rapidly, and any significant pruning could shock them, inhibiting their growth. You could, however, remove some dead leaves or small, unproductive branches. 

Should I Trim Leaves Before Flowering?

As your marijuana plants develop, they will grow larger and produce more leaves. When you see unhealthy leaves, those that look yellow, brown, or withered, trim them away with your sharp cutting tool. Pay special attention to leaves toward the bottom of your plants as they are likely to die because they won’t receive as much sunlight as those at the top of the plant. This trimming should occur before the flowering stage. 

Trimming Lower Branches During Flowering

Learn how to trim plants like this.

When trimming marijuana plants, do not trim during flowering. At this stage, the plants are growing rapidly, and any significant pruning could shock them, inhibiting their growth. You could, however, remove some dead leaves or small, unproductive branches, but extensive pruning is not advised during the flowering stage. While some cultivators believe putting stress on the plant will force it to compensate for this stress by growing faster, there isn’t substantial evidence to support this claim. 

Trimming Outdoor Pot Plants

Learn how to trim weed plants outdoors

Trimming weed plants outdoors is very similar to trimming plants indoors. Here is a quick summary list for pruning marijuana outdoors:

  • Prune lower branches early
  • Prune branches carefully
  • Remove dead leaves
  • Top your plants
  • Don’t stimulate flowering too early
  • Don’t prune plants during flowering

With cannabis laws rapidly changing across the US, many of us are curious about the latest marijuana cultivation methods. Pruning marijuana properly is only one of these methods, but a crucial one, nonetheless. When cultivating cannabis, you always want to get the highest yields out of your favorite strains, and trimming your plants effectively will help achieve those goals. 

Read these other related articles from The Weed Blog to find the best information to cultivate your green thumb:

The Secrets of Colorful Cannabis: How To Grow Purple Cannabis Buds

What Budget Do You Need When Growing Marijuana at Home

Growing Marijuana Indoors: A Beginners Guide

Top Five Things To Consider When Buying Cannabis Grow Lights


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