Trimming your plants can drastically improve the growth and yield of all of your plants.
Trimming you plants is the first step to maximizing your plant's growth and eventual yield.
A Cannabis plant left to grow on its own will naturally grow at as many points as possible in order to get the maximum light possible. Often, these extra growth points or branches aren't needed however a wild plant needs to accommodate for outside forces. Ex. pests, storms, fungus, etc. This is so that if some parts of the plants are damaged, it still has others that allow it to recover.
Now, assuming everyone is taking care of their plants, and maybe even growing them indoors, the chances of injury because of pests, disease or environment are greatly reduced. In this case, the plant actually wastes a bunch of energy growing those extra branches because it will likely never need them. This energy could be used more efficiently and effectively.
Basics To Trimming:
- The purpose of trimming the plant is to remove branches or leaves that are shaded from direct light and/or sucking the energy from the main colas (The top buds, usually your biggest ones).
Yes, that's basically all we are doing. Take this plant for example:
Top View Side Angle
This plant is in a vegetative state, meaning is is focused on vegetative growth and hasn't started flowering yet. It has gone through some basic training, but is getting quite bushy. As you can see from the TOP view, the growth is thick and very little light gets through to the bottom, which is good.
But all the inside branches are not going to get any light and grow very small, weak branches that will only make small buds. This energy could be better used!!!
By cutting these small internal bottom branches now, the energy the plants would have spent growing them will now be used on the top colas thus making bigger flowers.
First Step; Make a general plan.
I know most growers are doing this for a fun and as a hobby, but if you dont have a general plan, you may over trim, which will increase your grow time, making it take longer.
So plan a height to which you want to cut to, and don't cut above that!!
My rule is leave at least 3 nodes on any branch you are keeping. A node is a point of new growth, the part where a leaf and a new branch starts.
This area is a Node, where new growth begins. Nodes can come out of only one side or can come out of both sides. This branch and Fan-leaf will be cut.
Fan-Leaf is the big solo leaf that you have at every new point of growth, and are a main power generator. In this case, its so low, it won't receive any light to be useful.
We marked certain branches that were either not receiving very much light or that were growing below the rest of the canopy to see certain options before we started trimming.
Once you start to trim you will see an much more open center and a lighter feel.
As you move up be careful to keep and eye on the max height you wanted to cut to and make sure not to thin it out to much.
After you have made you plan, I usually start from the bottom. Be sure to keep checking from the top, looking down, in order to make sure you are not making any giant holes is the canopy.
From this point, stick to your plan, a progress slowly. I over check my work to make sure I am not cutting more than I should and the result will be a nice healthy, and more efficiently grown plant.
Another of our plants that had a small haircut looks like this;
Before Before After After
While Trimming, this is the optimal time to also take possible clones for a next generation of plants.
Stay tuned for our next post about topping and training.
Of course if you have any questions about trimming, or any plant maintenance please email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Instagram @canadiangrowguides.
Thanks for reading and Happy Growing.