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The Ultimate Guide to Pruning Cannabis

Pruning Cannabis

Understanding pruning cannabis

Pruning is the process of removing undesired, typically dead, foliage. Pruning away old yellowing leaves helps to keep the cannabis garden thriving. You should never remove healthy leaves. Cannabis is often pruned to focus growth in specific regions of the plant. Cannabis pruning cannabis is done in several circumstances to avoid disease transmission. Any loss of leaves or branches will cause the plant to develop slowly for a few days until it recovers. When cannabis pruning, try to snip or cut. Over-pruning causes plant shock, which causes various issues such as stunted growth or death. This article will discuss several pruning procedures and the benefits and drawbacks of this comprehensive technique.

What is the purpose of cannabis pruning?

Growers of all types prune their plants to keep them looking neat and clean. For many of them, it is because the plants can run out of control and become too tough to manage in other ways. Furthermore, there is little risk because trim cannabis plants are usually safe for the remainder of the plant. However, pruning has other advantages: Pruning cannabis plants can increase yields in some plants, such as cannabis and tomatoes. Pruning cannabis plants keeps them tiny while also optimizing them so that the bud sites get the most light and airflow. This is important in areas where the number of plants allowed is limited by legislation. Pruning allows a producer to have fewer plants while reaping the same yields.

When should cannabis be pruned?

It is critical to understand when to prune your plants. Cannabis producers should avoid pruning cannabis plants in the run-up and especially pruning during flower time. The optimal time to prune cannabis plants is early in the growing cycle, particularly within the first week or two of vegetative growth. A cannabis plant begins to develop leaves; however, once the plant enters the flowering stage, it ceases to produce new leaves. The fan leaves will grow in size, but they will not renew. Trimming leaves during flowering stage will not regrow, so keep that in mind at all times. 

Since fan leaves act as sun catchers for the cannabis plant, producers must exercise extreme caution when removing them. Fan leaves are essential in collecting sunlight for photosynthesis. They also directly impact the size and overall health of the cannabis plant. You should remove the only time leaves during the flowering phase are if they exhibit evidence of illness or pest infestation or necessary due to space constraints.

How do you prune cannabis plants?

When pruning cannabis, don’t tear the leaves away with your hands; instead, use scissors or a knife to cut them (make sure your tool of choice is quite sharp before use). It’s also critical to sanitize the shears before trimming to avoid germs from making their way directly to your plant. Below is how to prune cannabis;

Topping Cannabis

Topping a cannabis plant is removing the top shoots of a cannabis plant. You can squeeze, cut, or snip the tallest or freshest shoots. Just below the last completely formed node, cut the branch stem. The plant begins to form branches at the remaining nodes.

Cutting Cannabis top leaves
Cutting Cannabis top leaves

This is a fantastic method for keeping a plant short and bushy. Alternatively, instead of simply one top cola, you can create a number of them. Never top a plant more than twice, and never top it when it is blossoming.


Lollipopping is a more purposeful method of defoliation that involves eliminating the lower bushier growth of a plant to shape it into a lollipop. Small limbs or branches form around the lower sections of the plant and are prone to atrophy. The elimination of complete limbs permits the plant to direct nutrients to the top stems, leaves, and buds. When growing inside, more air circulates in the bottom regions of the plant, reducing the risk of mold. Most crucial, energy and growth hormones are directed higher to the buds with the best chance of thriving.

Pruning the foliage and bud locations

Remove any tissue that seems yellow, brown, or infected. Any leaves with branches sprouting from their base should be pruned. Snip any buds that are excessively shaded by canopy branches. Because of their disadvantageous placement, these buds will not receive appropriate light and may suffer from vitamin deficiencies.

Taking away large branches and leaves

Pruning the larger branches and leaves creates space, which improves rapid airflow. It also permits more light to reach the plant. Make clean incisions at a 45 ° angle, as close to the stem as possible. After the main branches have been clipped, it is easier to focus on the minor details.

Allowing time for healing

Pruning causes stress to the plant; thus, it is critical to allow recovery time. On the days following pruning, make sure to supply appropriate water, light and food. Within a week, you should notice the appearance of new shoots and leaves. However, keep in mind that excessive removal of shoots and leaves is a substantial stressor.

Cannabis pruning tips and common mistakes

To become a skilled cannabis plant pruner, you must put in the time and effort. Novice cannabis farmers will almost certainly make a few mistakes that they will hopefully learn from. The most common mistake that new cannabis cultivators make is removing too many of the plant’s fan leaves. Cultivators should never cut more than one-third of a cannabis plant’s fan leaves in a single pruning session. It would be best to keep pruning cannabis plants sessions to a minimum. Ideally, cultivators should only undertake mass pruning on a cannabis plant once or twice.

Pruning restrictions are not the same as pulling off dead leaves here and there. Always remove dead or diseased leaves and those that show signs of pest infestation. Suppose you have previously stripped a cannabis plant too vigorously, and it is still in a vegetative state. In that case, you can help address the problem by allowing it to be in the vegetative stage for longer than initially anticipated. That is not a choice for everyone, and it is situation-dependent.

Picture of Ed Rushford

Ed Rushford

Ed Rushford’s impact on cannabis growing is undeniable. Though he tends to focus primarily on 2 areas, plant training techniques and dealing with disease, pests, and other problems, he has offered many insights into how cannabis plants live and grow. That’s not to say that Ed is unfamiliar with the complete life cycle of cannabis, from seed to harvest, but he uses his widespread knowledge to hone in on the minutia and niche areas of growing cannabis. Ed’s goal is to spread knowledge and allow for everyone to become better growers. About this Author

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