If you want to prune a marijuana plant or trim it as you discovered that defoliation can increase yields, this is the defoliation guide to use. You do need to know the right way to do it as there is a possibility of having a cannabis plant that will experience lower yields because defoliation was done the wrong way.
When you study instructionals on how to grow a marijuana plant, you will often get advice about defoliating it, and there might be that veil of mystery on how to do this gardening technique. It isn’t a mystery and you can get to harvest the maximum amount possible from your cultivated cannabis plant when you defoliate the right way.
Leaves Won’t Get You High
Removing leaves even if these don’t contain THC might cause you hesitation, especially if you are not an experienced gardener. It is the buds that will be loaded with resin that must remain untouched. Aside from the buds, all the other marijuana plant parts including the leaves, cannot get you high. Yet, if you notice that the weed strain that you are cultivating has a profusion of leaves, it is time to give it a good prune.
What is Defoliation?
This is the premature removal of a grass part like leaves by cutting. Marijuana is grass but it is not defoliated to be mown like the lawn grass at a golf course. Marijuana is grass but it is not the kind to be defoliated by animals like goats kut to chew. Any kind of grass can be defoliated yet when it comes to cannabis, it means that the leaves are to be removed, pruned, or trimmed.
Is Pruning the Same as Defoliating?
It can be said that pruning a cannabis plant is the same as defoliating it but technically speaking, it is not the same. Pruning plants included cutting branches and you do not cut marijuana plant branches. It is only the sub-shots and some leaves that are “pruned”. But, let us not get too technical as it is highly acceptable to use the words prune and trim when one is defoliating a cannabis plant.
Is Defoliating a Marijuana Plant a Good Idea?
The impact of doing this technique can be either positive or negative. Properly done, the results will aid in making the plant prosper and has many benefits. The factors that affect the proper management of this technique include how many leaves are removed, how often defoliation is done, and the time intervals.
The cannabis defoliation is a gardening technique that is just like fertilizing and watering a plant – it can be done right or wrong way. There is overwatering and those that make the plant struggle to survive because of drought-like conditions. Defoliation takes a bit of skill and it is not to be done to make the plant lose more leaves that it should.
Can Defoliation Bring About Increased Yields?
The marijuana plant when defoliated should retain its ability to continue to grow. The plant material to be removed, which are some of the leaves, should be just the right about for the plant to continue to function. If there is a massive amount of leaves removed, the photosynthesis function of the plant and other related functions goes on a decline. Keep in mind that leaves are needed for photosynthesis.
Defoliating Isn’t for All Cannabis Plants
To remove leaves from some marijuana plants isn’t necessary. There are autoflowering cannabis plants that do not need light for the buds to flower. There are marijuana plants that do not have a lot of leaves. There are the ones that like sativa types that grow in the great outdoors that get the full benefit of the sun as it is exposed to it from sunrise to sunset.
Defoliating Marijuana Plants
Any marijuana plant in any kind of growing medium – be it soil or hydroponically grown – can be defoliated. You will need a pair of gardening scissors. You can also use ordinary scissors, just make sure that it is is the right size as small scissors might make the leaf removal more tasking. Also, make sure that the scissors are sharp enough to make a clean and precise cut.
If there is a yellow leaf or those that do not look healthy, such as broken ones, it is time to remove it. This will not just reduce the leaf density but will get rid of a leaf that will take in nutrients and energy, making the plant spend its energy on an unnecessary leaf. There are people who pull the leaves off with their hands. This can be done to sickly yellow leaves and dried ones easily but for healthy leaves, it is better to cut so that branch won’t be moved when a leaf is pulled.
Control your Cutting
There are some who do massive defoliation leaving the marijuana plant nearly bare. There are those who remove a few fan leaves. Take note that once a leaf is removed, it will not grow back. Removal of 20 to 90 percent of the total leaves can be done yet take it easy and choose to get rid of less instead of more. You can start defoliating by trimming off those big fan leaves.
Defoliating ideally should be done only 3 times, max during the different stages. You can’t go snipping away when you feel like it. It is a plant that needs nurturing care – at the right time. Yet, there are some marijuana growers who are experts at defoliating and do so on a continuous basis by removing leaves every seven to ten days and when they regrow.
When the marijuana plant is about 25 centimeters in height, the biggest leaves can be removed. By doing this the plant has enough leaves to continue with the necessary photosynthesis and nutrient processing for growth. There are some who prefer to defoliate when the plant is at the blooming stage as young plants can suffer from the stress of leaf removal but since defoliating is a training technique, the plant will be trained for future defoliation. Getting rid of the bigger leaves during the vegetative stage also greatly aids in pest-control and preventing mildew.
Defoliation may slow down the growth of the roots so the plant requires to have the correct nutrient intake. It is not risky if only a few big leaves are removed yet if the nutrient available from the growing medium is low, the plant will experience some difficulty in recovering. Yet, have no fear as many weed strains are vigorous growers and it will recover fast and regain its dense foliage.
The marijuana plant will be defoliated twice during the flowering stage. During the first week, when a lot of the pistils have appeared, it is time to get those scissors ready. All the big leaves should be removed, leaving only the smaller ones. You will be amazed to see how the leaves will regrow after three days and how dense the foliage will be after a week or so.
During the third week of flowering, as the plants have recovered from the last leaf removal technique, repeat the process of removing the larger leaves. The results that you wish to obtain by removing the larger leaves it to ensure the light reaches the lower part of the plant. Ideally. When you defoliate, there will be no shadows cast by the higher leaves on the lower plant parts. Make sure not to cut leaves that are very near those precious buds unless leaf density is very high.
Watch those Buds Grow
During the flowering stage, you will notice how those wonderful, resin loaded buds swell and grow. Especially after the last defoliation, these buds will become much bigger, fast. As the buds grow bigger, the yield increases.
Imagine your chosen marijuana plant getting bigger buds. If the weed strain has big buds already, it will become bigger. If the plant is low-yielding, this will have a better harvest. Remember the computation? If you gain a few grams per bud, then you will have an overall better harvest without having to cultivate another marijuana plant. This is especially needed when there is a limit to the number of marijuana plants that can be grown. And, even if you just have one plant or a whole marijuana farm, defoliating is the technique to use to have a better crop.
Advantages of Defoliating Cannabis Plants
There are benefits from doing this technique to cannabis plants aside from increasing the harvest amount. The yields would be better yet there are other plus factors that make this gardening technique something that you should do. The advantages include:
Increasing Yield Without Having to Add More Plants
If the buds harvest increases by 25 percent, that means a lot. A typical harvest might be an ounce per indica plant so that would bring it up to 1.25 ounces. If you have 4 cultivars, then instead of harvesting four ounces, you will get 5 ounces. It’s like having one additional marijuana plant.
Cannabis Buds Harvest Uniformity
Nowadays, having good marijuana crop production includes the appearance, shape, and size of the buds. Buds can look similar in appearance. There are times that the harvest would have different sized buds due to the fact that the smaller ones lacked light exposure as the leaves covered the light source.
Management of the Plant Structure
Though plants have their natural height and shape, by applying the defoliation technique, you can make the changes required to get the desired height and shape. Typically, an even canopy is sought for when doing this technique and that can be achieved when one has this gardening skill.
Preventing Pests and Other Plant Problems
Hidden among the leaves might be insects that can be harmful to the marijuana plant. Getting rid of some of the leaves aids in having less hiding spaces for insects such as mites. It would also make it easier to get rid of those insects with the use of your hands or other organic methods. It also reduces the ill effects of humidity and enhances air circulation.
Ensuring Proper Light Exposure
The top leaves will prevent the light from reaching the buds located at the lower branches. When a cannabis plant is grown outdoors, the light exposure can also be limited by the leaves, even if the light source which is the sun, moves. When cannabis is grown indoors, the light source doesn’t move, so this technique is vital, especially if the weed strain requires the changing of light cycles to flower.
Reducing Lighting Equipment
Changing of lights is required for photoperiod weed stains. Even if the cannabis plant is autoflowering, it still needs light. If the plant is defoliated, it can reduce the number of bulbs required to light up a growing area.
Ensuring a Healthier Plant
When the plant does not have to nourish more leaves, it will harness their energy to bringing the nutrients to the other plant parts, such as the buds. And, since the light source is better for the lower part of the plant, plus the other benefits such as having fewer problems with air circulation, the defoliation technique will result in a stronger and healthier marijuana plant.
Not for all Grow Rooms and Weed Strains
Defoliation isn’t for all grow rooms and weed strains. Doing this gardening technique the wrong way will endanger the marijuana plant, might make it die, or decrease the yield. A plant has to thrive, not just survive, for a great harvest to be obtained. A sickly plant will not benefit from being defoliated because it will only cause it stress when the leaves are removed. It will not aid in making a plant feel cooler when the weather conditions are too hot or because it has a nutrient deficiency. Defoliate plants that are in good condition to make these be in top condition.
Indoors and Outdoor Marijuana Plants
Defoliation can be done to both indoors and outdoor cannabis plants. There are times that defoliation will not show a significant increase in the yield of outdoor plants. Defoliation is proven to work to generously increase the yield of weed that is grown indoors. For cannabis growers who want to maximize indoor crop production, defoliating is essential.
A Growth Technique
This is a growth technique that is done by removing leaves from a plant to vary the vegetative process. It is an old farming technique does to crop plants such as tomatoes and cotton. It is also done for specialty plant growing such bonsai plants. For weed, defoliation has to be done during certain growth stages to get a crop that has is of better quality and quantity. Take note that this is an aggressive technique.
Make the most of out this gardening technique of how to increase yields by removing leaves for your marijuana plants to be healthier, stronger, and to have a more bountiful and beautiful harvest.