If you take one of the branches on your plant and bend it slightly, it should form a sort of callus which will double the strength of the branch. The cells in your plant will make their way to the injury and they’ll strengthen the branch, allowing it to put up with much more weight. As well as not growing any more, the end bud will have heavier buds. All you have to do is bend the branch slightly, making sure not to go too far; if you actually break it then that’s that. If done correctly, you should end up with thick balls of buds and compact, strong plants. You’ll be able to grow less plants in your grow tent but with a higher production rate.
Pruning is essentially cutting a part of your plant so that it can direct its strength to other parts that can absorb light easily. This doesn’t mean that you can prune any part of your plants like the large leaves so that the light can reach the lower parts. Leaves have an extremely important part to play in your plants’ lives; they’re kind of like solar panels for plants, and the buds are the batteries. If light hits the batteries they won’t charge, it needs to hit the panels so that the light can be turned into energy for your plants. This means that if you remove the leaves you’ll end up removing a lot of the strength from your plants, as they act like nutrient deposits; if your plants leaves aren’t receiving enough light the plant will automatically absorb all of the nutrients, leaving the leaf yellow and dead.
When and how to prune marijuana plants: depending on why you want to prune your plants, you’ll need to do it one way or another, or at a certain time or another. You wouldn’t prune the same way if you want to make a parent plant, then if you wanted your plant to have a more distributed production in order to have a more discreet plant or if it’s just the way that that particular variety is grown.
Another thing that you mustn’t do is prune your plants while they’re flowering. Plants need a few days to recover from prune-induced stress, and it takes a while to decide where the new branch or central stem is going to grow from. You’ll need to prune at least 15 days before you switch your plants to the growing period or before summer begins for outdoor crops. You need to prune during the growth period every time, or else the start of the flowering period may be compromised.
If you’re looking to learn how to do other kinds of pruning, leave a comment and we’ll do our best to add it on to the article.
Some strains absolutely hate it when you prune them to increase their number of branches, so in these strains what you’ll want to do is increase the amount of production on the central stem. These strains tend to be indicas. The one that’s easiest to recognize with this kind of shape is Critical+. These plants center most of their production on the main “eye” of the plant, the central calyx, so to get the most out of these plants you’ll need to place a whole lot together and prune/trim the lower branches. This way you’ll be able to grow up to 16 plants per square meter without them getting tangled. The idea is to prune those branches that come out over the flowerpot, leaving just the main stem and 4 to 6 branches around the bottom. To make sure that it doesn’t end up doubling over with the weight you should wire or string it, and you’ll have 16 extremely productive plants where before you could only fit 9.
None of the leaves are disposable, even the smallest ones. Every single one is needed so that they grow properly. If you want to test this out yourself, trim one of the big leaves while your plant is still in the growth phase. You’ll notice how the branch carrying that leaf will stop growing, and branches with all of their leaves will continue growing without any issues. The same thing will happen to the buds; if you remove a leaf so that the lower buds can get more light, the higher buds will end up dwarfed and a lot less potent, when they would have been much bigger than the lower ones to begin with.
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To use this prune technique you’ll have to be a bit more careful, because you’ll have to cut along the fattest part of the trunk, and your plant will have an open wound that you’ll need to cover up. This way you’ll manage to get the plant to have a high density of flowers on the inner and outer branches, creating a blanket of buds of around 40x40cm with which you can fill a square meter grow tent with just four plants or a 1,2×1,2 grow tent with up to 9 plants. This kind of pruning helps spread out the production in the shape of smaller buds but in larger quantities. You’ll need to make the cut right around the height of the lower branches, leaving the plant looking kind of like a candelabrum, allowing the shorter branches to end up at the same height as the longer ones. You’ll need to use a scarring paste on the wound or even wax from a candle so that no dirt or insects can get in and put your plant’s life in danger.
Comprehensive article on when and how to prune marijuana plants depending on the effect you want the pruning to have. Read on to find out more.
- Low-down branches that receive little sunlight
- Leaves that are dying off because of lack of light
- Bud sites that are low down and don’t receive a lot of light
It might feel strange to intentionally cut off bits of your plant, but these parts won’t produce quality buds because they won’t receive a proper amount of light—they’ll get shaded out by the buds and foliage growing above.
From this point until about 3-4 weeks into the flowering stage, you can actively prune your plants. Once well into the flowering phase, you want to cease pruning—it can cause the plant to start producing vegetative growth again, which will diminish the size and quality of your yield.
In the days following a pruning, your plants should go through a burst of growth—the open space will allow extra light to get to the plant.
Pruning allows you to control the plant and direct where it puts its energy. Remember, pruning is a great opportunity to be present in your garden and to observe how your plants are doing. Take this time to also observe your plants and check their overall health, looking for pests, nutrient deficiencies, and soil issues.
Pruning also creates open space in the middle of the plant, allowing air to flow through it more freely and letting light penetrate deeper, keeping the plant vibrant and healthy.
Grab a pair of pruning shears, usually some Chikamasas or Fiskars, for quick work on small branches and leaves. Keep an additional pair with more strength nearby to cut larger branches.
Trevor is a freelance writer and photographer. He has spent years in California working in the cannabis industry.
In the early stages of growth, a plant is narrow enough that most of the foliage will receive plenty of sunlight. Start pruning your plants once they begin to take a bushy shape, and top them to promote this bushy growth.
Pruning your cannabis plants is essential for improving the yield and quality of your garden. Use our guide to learn how to prune your plants.