Pruning your cannabis plants is essential for improving the yield and quality of your garden. A healthy garden with good light exposure and nutrients will grow at an alarming pace. In order to benefit from this growth, you need to help the plant decide where to put its energy.
When to Start Pruning Cannabis
Start pruning your plants once they begins to take a bushy shape. To promote this bushy growth it’s important to train your plants. In the early stages of a plant’s life, it’s narrow enough that most of the foliage will be receiving plenty of sunlight. As you use any number of training methods, your plant will start to take a shape that will define where the canopy for the plant will be, and you can then start removing unnecessary portions of the plant.
From this point on, until your plants begin to flower you can be actively pruning. However, pruning should not take place more than 2-3 weeks into flowering. Pruning past this date can cause the plant to start producing vegetative growth again, which can hurt your yield.
What to Look for When Pruning Your Cannabis Plant
Quality cannabis grows where the plant receives the most sunlight and airflow, which means anywhere on the outside of the plant. The top in particular is where you want the plant’s energy focused. To do so, you you want to remove the following:
- Low-down branches that receive little sunlight
- Leaves that are dying off because of lack of light
- Bud sites that are low down on the plant’s main stalks
How to Prune Your Cannabis Plants
To start, make sure you have a few pairs of scissors. A small pair of Chikamasas or Fiskars are good for quick work with small branches or leaves. Keep an additional pair with more strength nearby to help cut larger branches. Having sharp clippers/scissors helps prevent infection and damage by creating clean, smooth cuts.
- Start by removing larger branches first. This allows you to clear out as much space as possible before you do the more detailed work. If this is your first time pruning you might feel that you are hurting your yields. This is a normal feeling, so take your time.
- Look for the branches that are growing up into the middle of the plant beneath the canopy. These branches will never be as strong as what is already receiving full sun.
- After clearing out the middle of the plant, you can work on removing bud sites from areas that receive no sun. These sites can be found on the bottom of the plant and on the lower halves of canopy branches. Though they might be on a strong lead branch, unless they receive enough sunlight they will never become fully developed.
When pruning your plant, you’ll want to work in intervals instead of continuously pruning because of plant shock. In the days following your pruning, you’ll see a huge burst of growth, but this only happens after the plant recovers from the shock of being pruned.
Pruning is a very intimate practice between the gardener and the plant. When you sit down to prune, you’re helping the plant reach its fullest potential. It’s important to understand that although you’re taking away parts of the plant, you’re also working with the plant to help direct its energy to valuable sections. Remember, pruning is a great opportunity to be present in your garden and observe how your plant is doing.