Pruning Cannabis during vegetative stage.
Pruning cannabis and training cannabis are common usages. Tomato growers pinch out side shoots, giant pumpkin aficionados remove all but one flower. Cannabis growers too have their own preferences for optimizing their marijuana bud potential.
General cannabis pruning and training tips:
- always use secateurs or sharp knife to avoid bruising
- when using ties, leave them loose enough to allow for plant growth but tight enough to support the stem.
We´ll explain the various methods of pruning and how each one effects your plants later in the article. First though, a few questions we often get asked –
Pruning during flowering?
Its generally to be avoided. Once you have flipped to flower at a cellular level the plant’s energies are no longer focused on growth but are making the transition to creating bud sites and later developing flowers. Pruning cannabis during veg works because the “cut” controls and diverts the growth hormones (see apical dominance in this piece on supercropping). Once the transition to flowering has been made, these growth hormones are hardly produced: in order to repair the damage caused by pruning, the plant has to divert energies away from bud production and into making growth hormones instead. This HAS to have an effect on total yield. There is a 10 days grace period (during pre-flower stretch) when the plant is still growing and beginning to flower when you can get away with it, but certainly after this point: DON’T!!!
What about trimming shade leaves during flowering?
This is one of the most contentious practices among marijuana growers. Its very popular say in Spain where even the tomato growers remove large shade leaves during the flowering stage. The theory is that these leaves draw energy away from the buds and may indeed accelerate flowering maturation.And yes, we have seen some youtube vids and grow reports of plants almost fully stripped of leaves that look quite good.
BUT science tells us that pruning cannabis for maximum yield means avoiding pruning during flowering. The large fan leaves photosynthesize the energy needed for good buds, and even as the plant matures and the leaves turn yellow, it is better to let these gradually reabsorb the energy rather than shock the marijuana plant by pruning them. Leaf removal may even prompt sex change.
Here’s what the expert says:
Can you prune an autoflowering cannabis plant?
Well yes you can. We’ve regularly “topped” (see stem tip removal below) autos to produce a bushier plant. What you’ve got to remember though is that there’s only a short period of time in which to do this – but if you are growing a 10 week plus seed to harvest autoflower, you can get away with pinching out at the 4th set of leaves, and again at the 5th before the plant naturally makes the transition into flowering.