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When to Harvest Cannabis? A Guide to Harvesting Cannabis

when to harvest cannabis

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Harvesting cannabis well is extremely important as it impacts the results of months of growing. Knowing when to harvest cannabis is extremely important to the overall process – too early or too late can lower the quality of the produce.

Getting harvesting right is important

Harvesting cannabis is the most important stage for growers as they get to eat the fruits of their labor. As cannabis legalization expands across the United States, more people grow their plants. Of course, this begs one of the many questions regarding how, when, where, and why this happened. When to harvest Cannabis is one of the most often asked questions. Premium Cultivars will show you all you need to know about the climax of your cannabis plant’s development and what you should do to obtain the best buds out of all your hard labor in this article. 

When to harvest cannabis 

There are some key factors that indicate when to harvest cannabis. Below are some of the key symptoms that tell you it’s time to harvest cannabis.

Fan leaves begin to yellow

Surprisingly, yellow leaves are not indicators of a sign of nutritional deficiency but are perfectly common at the end of flowering Cannabis. The fan leaves (commonly referred to as the iconic global symbol for cannabis) contain small levels of cannabinoids, but not enough to make their use profitable. After you prune the fan leaves, you will usually trash them. Also, these leaves start to turn yellow and drop off the plant during harvesting.

Trichomes start to look different

Trichomes have a similar appearance to mini-mushrooms and are difficult to see without a magnifier. These structures, also known as resin glands, create a sticky surface on your leaves and buds by forming ‘frosting.’ Many experienced breeders believe that the trichomes are the most reliable indicator of harvest readiness. They appear translucent, almost glass-like, in their early stages of development. They start to haze as they get older. It is time to harvest when they turn a milky color. They appear to be made of plastic rather than glass.

Swollen calyxes 

The calyx is the first part of a cannabis flower to sprout from the node. Calyxes are the most resin-rich component of a cannabis flower. Their purpose is to give structural stability, preventing buds from being blown away or pecked off by winged predators. This structure begins as a bundle of tiny leaves and develops into fully developed flowers throughout time. Afterward, it enlarges as the buds approach maturity, indicating that they are preparing to hold seeds if pollinated by a male plant.

Pistils darken

Pistils are the gateway to fertilization for cannabis plants as these structures are responsible for capturing pollen released by the male plants. Despite being avoided by most growers during fertilization, pistils are crucial as they indicate that the plant has matured. Cannabinoid production is normally at its greatest when most pistils have changed color from dazzling white to orange-brown as they age.

When to harvest outdoor cannabis 

Your geographical location has a pronounced effect on harvesting time. Moreover, the harvesting period is usually different depending on the growers’ preferences. It is probably not the end of the world if you harvest early or late, but you are recommended not to leave your plants sitting around for too long.

Rainy season

Nobody wants to be caught in the garden pulling cananbis during a heavy downfall, but beauty is never sweet, especially when harvesting cannabis. Even if you see a few cannabis plants springing up, and it is raining, you might not be able to get to them straight away. One advantage of plucking cannabis plants in the rain is that the damp soil makes cannabis picking easier. Although, if it rains for days, mold may form on the buds’ surface leading to reduced yield.

Cold weather

Cold weather can harm your plant’s health, resulting in lower-quality crops. As a result, it is occasionally preferable to harvest your cannabis plants a little earlier rather than allowing them to ripen in frigid temperatures.

How often do you harvest cannabis?

Indoor

Most cannabis harvesting time is usually roughly 7-9weeks after the flowering period. You can harvest cannabis indoors in stages as each bud reaches its peak. You can harvest twice in one growing season if you grow numerous plants or collect Indica or Sativa outside. However, Indica is preferred by most cultivators as they are quicker while Sativa takes longer. 

Outdoor

Harvesting outdoor cannabis varies as they are annual plants. If you are growing outdoors, harvesting is mostly done during the warm season. Depending on your geographical area, harvesting is usually done between September and November. In other cases, you may need to pull your crops down by mid-October to the beginning of November.  

What do you need to harvest cannabis?

Cannabis harvesting is simple, but following the appropriate steps will take time. You can chop a few plants at once if you have a lot of them for household usage. You might begin by pruning for a few days. Harvesting cannabis is much easier when only one strain grows in your garden. All of the buds ripen at the same time in this manner. Even if you have numerous strains with buds that ripen at different periods, you should harvest them all at the same time to make your life easier.

Removing the sugar leaves from cannabis
Carefully removing the sugar leaves from the cannabis. Sugar leaves have trichomes on them and are used for making hash and prerolls

For harvesting, you will need the following equipment;

  • Scissors
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Pruners
  • Trimming tray/bowl
  • Comfortable chair and place
  • Gloves
  • Rugs
  • Entertainment(optional)

Flush cannabis before harvest

It would be best to flush your cannabis plants before harvesting for at least a week. Watering the plants with nutrient-free water for at least a week before harvest is known as flushing. If you’ve been adding fertilizers to your irrigation water, stop and replace it with plain water. You should still pH the water during flushing since pH imbalances might cause the plant to absorb too much salt aluminum from the water.

How to harvest cannabis

The buds are ready to be plucked from the plant when the pistils darken and curl inward, and the trichomes turn white or golden. You must hang the plants after chopping if you desire dry pruning. If you enjoy wet trimming, chop the plants down and get to work right away. Harvest the branches with shears, careful not to damage the delicate buds. If they are little, cut the plants off just above the earth at the base. Whether you wet or dry trim the branches, make sure they are easy to handle.

So, now you know when to harvest cannabis and how to harvest cannabis – we wish you all the best with your ripe buds!

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Taylor Christianson
Taylor Christianson
Taylor is an indoor expert. Through their writing, they offer a masterclass on growing cannabis indoors, maintaining a productive growing environment, and guiding growers through all the stages of growth both indoors and outdoors. Combining multiple fields of expertise allows for Taylor to give in-depth insights into cannabis growing overall. If you want to know about different lighting, temperatures, and humidity for different stages of growth then Taylor can offer you this knowledge. Taylor has mainly worked in the background of the cannabis industry for many years, they have provided articles for numerous publications and had their work published in print dozens of times during the late golden years of print media. Taylor’s approach is continuously innovative and it’s always exciting to see where they’re going to go next and how far they can push the development of cannabis cultivation one article at a time.
Taylor Christianson
Taylor Christianson
Taylor is an indoor expert. Through their writing, they offer a masterclass on growing cannabis indoors, maintaining a productive growing environment, and guiding growers through all the stages of growth both indoors and outdoors. Combining multiple fields of expertise allows for Taylor to give in-depth insights into cannabis growing overall. If you want to know about different lighting, temperatures, and humidity for different stages of growth then Taylor can offer you this knowledge. Taylor has mainly worked in the background of the cannabis industry for many years, they have provided articles for numerous publications and had their work published in print dozens of times during the late golden years of print media. Taylor’s approach is continuously innovative and it’s always exciting to see where they’re going to go next and how far they can push the development of cannabis cultivation one article at a time.

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