Pruning Cannabis: Don’t Make This Mistake
From time to time, most plants on this green Earth benefit from intentional pruning. One of these plants is the cannabis plant.
Properly trimming cannabis plants will help them reach their full potential and increase the quality and yield of your harvests.
However, on the other hand, incorrect or excessive pruning can cause detrimental damage to a cannabis plant. In some cases, incorrect pruning can stress the plant out so much that the plant dies.
What are the main benefits of pruning marijuana plants? How does a cannabis grower know when it is time for them to begin pruning their plants? What are the best pruning techniques if pruning is required? Where do people commonly go wrong with cannabis pruning? Each question will be discussed in detail below.
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Why Should You Prune Cannabis Plants
The main reasons for pruning cannabis plants include increasing airflow and improving light transparency. Some cannabis strains are well-known for producing large numbers of fan leaves. However, other strains may produce fewer leaves. Fan leaves do not usually have trichomes. Sugar leaves are heavily coated.
Pruning branches and leaves won’t be as important for strains that don’t produce many fan leaves. For those strains that produce lots of leaf growth, it is vital to prune the plants. If there are too many fan leaves on a cannabis plant, it can block airflow. Also, moisture can get trapped inside the plant, making it susceptible to diseases such as powdery mildew.
For cannabis plants to grow, it is important that they have light transparency. The inner and lower parts must have direct light in order to grow uniformly. Light can also aid in the fight against disease.
The most important thing is that light transparency increases the number of cannabis buds and makes the buds more uniform in terms of size. Indirect light or uneven light that doesn’t reach certain parts of the plant will result in uneven and wonky-looking buds.
Sometimes, cannabis pruning is necessary due to limited space. When cannabis is grown in a tight space, the leaves can be pressed up against walls or each other. This leads to many issues including diseases and mold.
If growers are looking to remain discreet, they may need plants that are a certain size in order to not draw attention. In these situations, it may be necessary to continue pruning the plant as it grows.
Pruning Cannabis: Timing is Everything
It is crucial to understand when you should prune your plants. Avoid pruning cannabis plants before they reach the flower stage, and especially not during the flowering phase. Pruning cannabis plants at the beginning of the cultivation process is best, usually in the first or second week of the vegetative stage.
A cannabis plant produces its leaves during the vegetative stage. Once the plant enters the flowering stage, however, it ceases to produce new leaves. Although the fan leaves will grow larger, they will not regenerate. A leaf that is removed during the flower stage will not be able to grow back.
Once it’s gone it’s gone.
Kyle Kushman, the legendary cannabis cultivation expert, says that fan leaves can be compared to solar collectors for the plant. So cultivators should be cautious when removing them. They are crucial in collecting sunlight to enable photosynthesis. Fan leaves are also important in determining the health and size of the cannabis plant. Only remove leaves during flowering if there are signs of pest infestation or disease, or if space is limited.
Pruning Cannabis: How To Do It Properly
Kyle Kushman describes “selective Leaf Pruning” as the best method to prune a cannabis plant.
The goal is to increase light transparency toward the middle of the cannabis plant to improve airflow throughout the plant. Then, you can begin to prune towards the middle.
If you observe the air moving through the plant from either a fan or wind, you will be able to spot large clumps that are trapping the air.
After exposure to wind or air, make sure the leaves are not moving in a manner similar to a sail on a boat. If they are, this means there isn’t enough airflow throughout the plant and some fan leaves should be removed to increase airflow and avoid excess moisture in the plant.
Removing the lower branches also helps to eliminate pests in the growing medium. The lower branches don’t usually produce desirable cannabis. Therefore, removing them allows the plant to focus its energy and concentrate on the higher flower-producing branches.
For increased light transparency, fan leaves that extend toward the middle should be removed. Future growth is something you need to consider. You want branches to grow laterally and not horizontally, to ensure the plant gets as much light as possible. A plant with lots of buds and wide branches can be achieved by combining proper pruning techniques with strategic bracing. When bracing, be careful. Branches can break and often die.
Pruning Cannabis: Common Mistakes and Pro Tips
Master cannabis plant pruning takes time and practice. Making mistakes is par for the course as a beginner, however, these are opportunities to learn and grow.
Although the most frequent mistake in cannabis cultivation is pruning during the flowering phase, there are still other detrimental mistakes that can be made.
One of the biggest mistakes newbie cannabis cultivators make when trying to grow cannabis is to cut too many fan leaves. A cannabis cultivator should never prune more than 1/3 of the fan leaf on a plant. Limitations on the number of pruning sessions are also important. Ideally, cultivators shouldn’t have to do bulk pruning more than once on a cannabis plant.
Pruning should not be confused with picking off dead leaves. You should always remove dead leaves or signs of pest infestation.
If you have stripped cannabis plants too aggressively and they are still in the vegetative process, you can help remedy the situation by allowing the plant to remain in this stage for longer than the original plan. This may not be an option for everyone and should be avoided by being conscientious about how and when you prune.
Never prune a cannabis plant in the flowering stage, and be sure not to over-prune during the vegetative stage.
There is a fine line between helping the plant with airflow and producing more growth, and stripping the plant of fan leaves that are essential in trapping light for the plant. It’s all about balance.
Pruning is important, it just needs to be done in the right way,
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