Pruning (or trimming) your cannabis plant is a great way of improving your yield. This is an advanced technique though, so if you’re just getting started, The Canna Dogg recommends that you stick with the Ultimate Beginner’s Guide. Let’s get on with it, and teach you exactly how to prune your cannabis plant.
You might have read the article on low-stress-training your plant, and wondering what more you can do to increase your yield. Enter pruning. Pruning your plant must be done with care, however, and is not as straightforward as low-stress-training your plant is. Cutting off pieces of your plant can be quite traumatic, so make sure to only prune enough to optimize your yield, without actively harming your plant. We won’t be covering how to top the plant here, this is just how to prune it.
The reason for pruning your plant is primarily to cut away leaves that might get in the way of the lower bud sites. As we know, the amount of light absorbed by the plant is one of the key determining factors for how much the plant will yield, so naturally, you’ll want to increase this amount as much as possible. But it actually also matters quite a bit WHERE on the plant the light gets absorbed.
Essentially, the trick is to only prune/cut away the larger fan-leaves, which would otherwise shade your lower bud sites. If used in conjunction with low-stress-training, this allows for all your bud sites to get the maximum amount of light, and thus, produce the highest amount of weed.
Apart from shading the lower parts of your plant, cutting off some of the larger fan-leaves also allows the plant to redirect the nutrients which would have otherwise gone to the fan-leaves to your bud sites. The same goes for yellow or dead leaves, there’s just no point in leaving them on the plant, as they’ll just steal nutrients from the rest of it.
What, When, and How?
In prioritized order, you’ll want to remove:
- Dead/dying leaves.
- Large fan leaves that you can’t tie away, and that shades bud sites
- Low branches that never receive any light
Do note, however, that you shouldn’t be pruning after about 3-4 weeks into flowering. This is because when you prune the plant, it might revert back into its vegetative state, which you really don’t want to risk happening well into your flowering stage. Here you’ll want the plant to solely focus on producing nice thick buds for you.
Grab your best pair of scissors (as covered in The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide), and make sure to only do clean straight cuts. The less hacking, chopping, and cutting into the plant, the better.
Start by removing the larger branches/leaves you’ve identified as needing to get pruned. That’ll make it a whole lot easier to remove the smaller branches later, as you’ll have effectively cleared your working space first.
Then, move your way downwards, making sure to only cut what’s absolutely necessary. And also, take your time, and don’t stress. You’ll want to make sure that you’re not accidentally cutting a stem or prime bud site away, so make sure to focus on the task at hand.
After pruning, your plant normally goes through a bit of a growth spurt, as it tries to make up for what you’ve done to it. The first couple of times you prune your plant, it might feel extremely daunting, but after a few goes, you’ll get more and more comfortable doing it. Just make sure not to over-do it! Honestly, The Canna Dogg doesn’t think learning how to prune your cannabis plant is too difficult, and you should be able to pick up on it fairly quickly. As always, feel free to share your own tips and tricks in our super-friendly subreddit!