All weed growers are looking for healthy plants and better yields. There are many ways to achieve these like feeding your plants the right nutrients, using correct lighting, and growing in the best soil but there is one thing that experts prefer to use and this is all about pruning cannabis.
You may have used this technique in growing other plants before as pruning can boost growth and yields of vegetables, fruits, and even flowering plants. In pruning cannabis, it’s the same thing.
With pruning, you can control unruly plants and at the same time improve yields. We will discuss these in more detail as we check out the correct ways of pruning cannabis plants.
What is pruning?
Pruning is cutting the overgrowth parts of plants. Usually, the large fan leaves are removed to improve airflow through the plant’s canopy. It’s also possible to remove smaller leaves and stem to maximize the growth and development of the buds during flowering time.
Some cannabis growers who use a hydroponic system also prune the roots. This is done to improve nutrient absorption and to avoid root rot.
Pruning cannabis is not recommended for beginners because there is a tendency for first-time growers to overdo pruning. Also, think about cannabis as very sensitive plants. These plants may only suffer from stress if you’re not careful. Stress can be very damaging to cannabis plants as this can affect growing and flowering. Stress can even lead to the development of hermaphrodite plants.
In short, pruning needs time to learn and to get accustomed to. You need years of practice. Having many years of experience pruning other types of plants can also prepare you when it comes to pruning cannabis plants.
Why prune your plants?
Pruning has many advantages to cannabis plants. The following are just among the few.
Pruning cannabis can control overgrowth
The most common reason why growers prune is to control plant growth. Usually, Cannabis sativa plants are pruned to control their wild growth. When sativas are left to their own devices these plants can grow taller than 10 feet! Cannabis indica plants also need pruning. Although these plants can only grow as high as 3 to 4 feet, these can become very bushy and too dense which can lead to moisture build-up inside the plant canopy. Pruning can make a compact plant neater and promotes better form.
Pruning can help boost yields
Pruning opens up dense plant sections to reveal immature buds. With enough lighting, you can improve the size of these buds and thus you can enhance your harvest many times. And by cutting overgrown plant parts you can greatly reduce your plants’ chance of developing molds and pests. You can reduce moisture and humidity so you can avoid mold growth entirely.
Pruning can prevent mold and mildew
As mentioned earlier, removing large fan leaves and another overgrowth allows air to move through the canopy and dry up moisture. With no moisture, you can greatly reduce mold and mildew which depend on moisture and dampness to develop.
Pruning can deal with pests
Aside from being a psychoactive component of weed, THC or tetrahydrocannabinol also has pest control properties. THC can drive away common pests like spider mites, aphids, caterpillars and crickets. THC can be improved by pruning. Cannabis plants don’t have enough THC until these reach their third month in the vegetative stage. Plants develop more THC to protect themselves from leaf-eating pests that start being active during this time.
Pruning cannabis improves lighting,
humidity and air circulation Since pruning removed large fan leaves, light can penetrate in the plant canopy better. Removing large leaves will also reduce moisture and this will enhance humidity levels which plants need to live healthily. Finally, removing large fan leaves will also help air to pass through. And the air in slow steady movements can strengthen the soft stems and branches of cannabis plants.
Pruning can improve overall plant health
Pruning cannabis can greatly enhance plant health. You can prevent pests, avoid moisture, and improve lighting which greatly helps plants’ manufacture their food. All these can Pruning improves THC production
Things you’ll need to prune your plants Now that you know the advantages of pruning let’s prepare for this activity with the following tools
- Sharp cutting tool – we recommend a pair of sharp scissors or a sterile blade.
- The plant you need to prune – we will discuss how to select the pruning candidate later
- Adequate lighting – you need adequate lighting so you can safely and correctly prune your plants.
- Container – any kind of container will do as long as this can hold all the cuttings. You can save these plant parts to grow clone plants.
- Water – if you want to reuse the cuttings, place them in a container of bottled water.
- You don’t have to buy new supplies because you can reuse your old ones. But make sure to clean and sterilize scissors, blades, and cutters.
Why maintain a clean and sterile environment? If you use dirty or unsanitary tools to cut your plants, your plants risk contacting cannabis plant diseases and molds.
How to prune your cannabis plants?
Pruning may sound very straightforward but there’s so much to it aside from just cutting overgrowth. Follow these simple steps to make pruning faster and more efficient.
1. Prepare the plant you will prune – select the plant/ plants you want to prune. Separate these plants from the others and place these on top of a table at eye-level. This position will allow you to get a closer look at your plants better and cut or prune your plants safely.
2. Prepare your pruning tools – sterilize your cutting tools by first brushing it with soap and water and applying 70% isopropyl alcohol. If you’re using new blades or knives there’s no need to prepare these. Make sure your tools are sharp as they are clean and sterile. Also, prepare lamps/ lighting as well as containers and water if you wish to use the cuttings as clones.
3. Cut… – don’t pick the leaves and stems with your hand because doing so can damage the cut tips and stress your plants. Take the stem or leaf with one hand and the cutting tool in the other hand. Make a swift diagonal (slanted cut) on the part. This cut exposes a larger surface area for water and nutrients to easily move through. This is very beneficial in case you want to use these parts for cloning. Remember, a swift and clean cut will do it.
4. Save cuttings for growing clones – the cuttings can be used to grow another plant, a cloned plant. Clones skip the germination and seedling phase but these need to grow a good set of roots and strong stems. Place the cuttings in a container with water immediately after you cut these from the mother plant. Reuse these cuttings ASAP.
5. Water your plants – right after pruning, give your plants clean pH- balanced water. This will replenish lost moisture and prevent stress and shock.
Expert pruning techniques
A lot of successful growers make use of special pruning techniques to enhance bud growth here are some of them:
This is one of the most common pruning techniques as this can improve bud size, increase yields, and improve plant shape.
Topping is done by cleanly cutting just below the bud site. Doing so will yield two bud sites. As the two bud sites become more prominent, you must carefully separate the two with the use of some pegs and threadWhen
As you can see, topping can greatly enhance the yield of cannabis plants and would be great for strains that have low yields. Topping can be done over and over again to increase the number of bud sites.
When is the best time to start topping? We recommend that you start topping as soon as your plants are strong enough. When you’re using clones, the earlier the better.
When using seedlings, wait till the young plant has developed 4 to 5 internodes. The plants should grow strong roots. Just wait till the roots are larger and stronger before you prune.
The topping should be done cautiously because overdoing it or having no prior training or knowledge about topping could be dangerous. Cannabis plants are very sensitive plants and cutting or pruning these plants can bring too much stress and this stress can lead to poor growth and development. We recommend only an expert perform topping or practice well before you use this technique on your cannabis plants.
Fimming is similar to topping as it can enhance yields. But the difference is that fimming cuts directly under the bud site resulting in four different growing nodes.
Fimming is much more delicate and a lot more stressful to plants and therefore you need to do this skillfully and very carefully. And similar to topping, we don’t recommend this for beginners.
Just to describe what happens in fimming, you need to cut directly under the bud site. Make a sharp and swift cut to create four different nodes. Wait a few hours and these nodes will become more prominent and will soon be ready for training. Use small pegs and some thread to tie the four nodes and separate them. Do this very carefully.
Fimming may be done unlimitedly and you can start after your young plants have developed 4 to 5 internodes. Wait till the young plant has developed strong roots before fimming.
Pruning cannabis must be done as soon as the plant is strong enough but do this cautiously. When you prune your plants well, you can expect better plant health and enhanced yields.