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how to trim weed plants while growing

To prune cannabis plants:

For the first topping—cutting the main stalk—a good rule of thumb is to cut the plant above the 5th node. This will give you enough side branches on the remaining part of the plant for it to bush out properly.

As a plant grows and bushes out, you’ll get a better sense of its overall shape and of the entire canopy. This will give you a sense of where the quality buds will grow so you can prune away the unnecessary parts of the plant.

In the early stages of growth, a plant is narrow enough that most of the foliage will receive plenty of sunlight. Top plants to promote bushy growth, and start pruning your plants when they begin to take a bushy shape.

Why prune marijuana plants?

Although it may seem strange to cut off and throw away part of your cannabis plants, topping is essential to keep your weed plants healthy and to get quality yields.

Topping marijuana is the tried-and-true method preferred by most growers, but there is another plant training technique called “fimming” or “FIMing”—short for “f**k I missed,” if you’re wondering. Fimming started as an accident but is also useful in the right circumstances.

Wait until the plant has grown six or seven nodes to do the initial top, which is usually done above the 5th node. It’s important to wait until the plant has developed this much so it can withstand the shock of topping.

How a marijuana plant receives light

Cutting off these branches will allow the plant to redirect its energies to the quality buds that will receive plenty of light. You also want to prune off yellow or dead leaves—they have no use and will only waste the plant’s resources.

A bushy shape allows light to hit all branches more evenly—because the cannabis plant is wide and not tall, all bud sites will receive an equal amount of light.

How to trim weed plants while growing

While the principle of pruning sounds simple in theory, in practice it can be challenging. Excessive pruning can be detrimental to the health and development of the plant. It’s vital to always err on the side of caution when pruning cannabis plants. Vigorous pruning can weaken the plant through stress and subsequently reduce the yield. Pruning at the wrong time of the growing cycle or mistakenly pruning vital stems and shoots can inflict damage. For this reason, some new growers avoid pruning altogether, or others pare back their pruning to its most fundamental level, the removal of dead or yellowing leaves.

While pruning is reasonably straightforward, it’s also a skill that becomes refined and easier with practice. These pruning tips and tricks should help demystify the process.

When do you prune cannabis?

Pruning is one of the most effective ways to manipulate and direct the growth of a cannabis plant. If you’re looking to limit the size of your plant, promote lateral branching, delay the onset of flowering, or increase yield, pruning checks all the boxes. It may feel counterintuitive to snip parts of your plant as it grows. But by pruning unproductive growth, you can redirect the plant’s energy and resources into developing quality flowers.

Why do you prune cannabis?

Judicious pruning during the early phase of vegetative growth will have little effect on flowering. Pruning more mature plants that are approaching the flowering stage is not recommended. At this later phase, heavy pruning can delay the onset of flowering, or prevent flowering altogether. In some cases, however, growers may wish to delay flowering intentionally, so strategic pruning can be a useful tool.

How to trim weed plants while growing

Do your best to make sure that all the ‘trim’ (the leaves trimmed from your bud) falls onto the tray designated for it. Not only does that let you save more trim for hash, it will help you with cleanup later! Try not to cut off any of the actual buds, but if you do by accident, throw it in the trim pile.

If possible, try to use a separate pair, and not the same sharp scissors you plan to use for trimming buds. Some branches are tough enough to destroy a pair of nice scissors in a single harvest. You want sharp scissors for trimming your buds; it will save you so much time!

Learn how to turn your trim into…

How to trim your buds like a pro!

You may want to cut just one branch down the first time so you can get a feel for trimming, instead of cutting everything down at once. That way you can get an idea of how big of a branch you want to work with at a time.

Disposable gloves help protect your hands from your bud. Handling bud without gloves will make your hands sticky to the point where it becomes a constant problem. Plus, hands covered in resin are difficult to clean.

If the buds are already dried but you didn’t have enough time to trim them all, put them in jars or a turkey bag to prevent them from drying further, even if they’re untrimmed. You can come back to trim them later. Just don’t leave them stored like that for too long or the buds take on a hay smell.

Dry Trim Example – full branches were hung (not even fan leaves were removed before drying)

Disposable gloves