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The Ultimate Guide to Schwazzing


What is Schwazzing?

“Schwazzing cannabis plants” is a phrase used to describe the massive defoliation of cannabis leaves at two high-risk phases throughout the flowering stages of the cannabis. This extensive defoliation is permitted to assist the plant in receiving deep light penetration and centering into the plant’s growth to maximize production.

Schwazzing before and after
Schwazzing a cannabis plant allows more budding sites to be exposed to light.

This method is quite good in helping the plant increase yields in the indoor space. As a result of this procedure, you may end up with larger and thicker buds.

Topping, Lollipopping, and Schwazzing are among the most effective defoliation methods adopted by many cannabis cultivators.

Three a light by Joshua Haupt

The method was highlighted in Joshua Haupt’s 2015 book; Three a Light. Joshua Haupt referred to the fact that a producer may get three pounds of cannabis per light by schwazzing, roughly double the average harvest.

Why Schwazz a cannabis plant?

Intense defoliation is used to expose lower bud locations on plants that would otherwise be unable to develop dense, high-quality buds due to a lack of direct light. This encourages the plant to concentrate its efforts on those areas. Many lower fan leaves that do not get direct sunlight are more of a drain on the plant than an energy source. Most growers remove lower fan leaves and shaded bud sites to avoid immature buds. However, schwazzing is indiscriminate; if it’s a fan leaving, go ahead and do it.

Why should you be trimming fan leaves during flowering?

During flowering, only remove fan leaves when they form a dense canopy because they prevent light from passing through and air from freely flowing. Removing extra fan leaves allows the plant to receive adequate light and directs its energy away from vegetative growth and into bud formation and development. The rationale for eliminating fan leaves is the same as any other defoliation type. Some strains produce a lot of leaves, which you must remove for the buds to bloom. While many individuals are concerned about fan removal, defoliation isn’t specific to cannabis plants. Other plants are clipped for the same reasons: maximum yields and growth!

How to Schwazz

Schwazzing is not ideal only for novice cultivators as it involves uncomfortable and tiresome trimming away a large volume of leaves.

Schwazzing Light Schedule
12/12 light schedule works best for schwazzing.

After cutting, the cannabis plant can regain energy towards developing the flowers within a few days or weeks.

When to remove fan leaves

When is the best time to schwazz your cannabis plants? Cannabis plants are typically schwazz at least twice during their lifespan. The first is during the flowering period, and the second is after the three-week period has passed.

4 different Schwazzing methods

Below is a guide on how to get the best results when schwazzing;

Removing fan leaves during veg

Premium Cultivars recommends that you schwazz at different stages of your cannabis plant development cycle. Some growers also suggest to schwazz twice; the first one done just at the start of the flowering period and the second one during flowering. You are needed to remove all the fan leaves until the plant looked bare.

Cannabis plant schwazzing
Young Green Cannabis Plant Having its leaves removed from the bottom

Moreover, for a grower’s liking, you can schwazz your cannabis plants four times. This means that you will have to trim your plants four times, one before and thrice during flowering. During the vegetative stage of cannabis, remove fan leaves that conceal nodes or budding locations by selective leaf pruning. The first defoliation should happen before the flowering phase.

Trimming leaves during the flowering stage

After someday (about 20 days) into your flowering, your cannabis plants will have developed new fan leaves. These new layers should act as a pattern for you to trim your plant systematically, which will contribute highly to the plant’s growth. Then, you prune the fan leaves accordingly to give the buds space to breathe.   

Heavy defoliation during flowering

You are required to start this form of pruning after your plant has recovered its strength. It entails intensive defoliation during flowering cannabis, which entails pruning the plant from the bottom to the top, exterior and internal leaves, and even low-growth branches that waste valuable plant energy. When the leaves start crowding each other and shadowing the lower nodes, it’s time to begin pruning strategically. Remove any leaves leaning towards the center of the canopy.

Cutting all fan leaves off before harvest

Finally, when your cannabis plants have matured just before harvest, you are required to do some finishing leaf trimming. Doing this will help your plants improve their appearance. It would be best to cut all the fan leaves before the harvesting period. During this stage, be careful when cutting to protect the delicate buds.

Three a light feeding schedule

Whether you use an aggressive type of defoliation such as schwazzing or a more cautious pruning strategy, you must provide sufficient nutrients to your plants to maximize development. One of the most productive things you can do in the pursuit of high-quality harvests is to ensure your crops receive the whole range of macro-, micro-, and secondary nutrients.

Is Schwazzing autoflowers possible?

Every cannabis is unique, and this involves its resilience to stress. There’s a chance that stress will introduce undesired features into the plant, such as hermaphrodite, which some strains are more prone to than others. As a result, it is critical to plan your schwazz carefully, from seed to harvest, by selecting the best cannabis strain for your needs.

Start Scwazzing to boost yields

The objective driving schwazzing is identical to that of other defoliation methods: it’s all about improving your yield. The theory is that removing fan leaves will allow full light penetration to new bud growth during the flowering phase, decreasing or eliminating shade patches. This concentrates all of the plant’s energy onto budding flowers, resulting in larger, denser buds and massive yields when harvest time arrives.

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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