Pruning cannabis plants? If you are not a farmer or not familiar with farming techniques, you may find it difficult to understand why farmers remove some parts of plants. This may look like a destructive way to manage plants. However, actively removing parts of plants is important for their growth. This process is known as pruning. Below is an overview of pruning, including its basics and beneficial tactics.
What is Pruning?
This is the process of removing parts of the plant so as to promote healthier growth. Pruning is an essential process in cannabis cultivation. It promotes the development of large and quality yields. Generally, it usually leads to high yields when it is done perfectly. There are two categories of cannabis pruning techniques. The destructive pruning method involves causing some damage to the plant. For instance, pinching-out or topping is a destructive form of pruning. On the other hand, non-destructive pruning techniques involve very minimal damage, e.g., low-stress training.
The Basics of Pruning
Pruning is a way of grooming a plant. It involves the removal of some parts of the plant but in small pieces. During the growth process, certain plants of the plant, especially the leaves, are going to die. So, instead of them wasting vital nutrients, it’s wise to remove them. This allows the plant to thrive and grow new healthy leaves. If there is an efficient use of nutrients, your plant will grow bigger and result in high yields. But what are some of the basics of pruning the cannabis plant? Do you just select a section of the plant whenever you want to cut it off?
When to Prune
You can only think about pruning your plant after the second week of the growing stage. During this phase, your cannabis has several internodes. However, the growing phase varies from one strain to the other. So, if you are growing an Indica-dominant marijuana strain, then you probably have to wait until the third week of the growing phase. Generally, Sativa-dominant marijuana strains tend to grow faster. Do not prune your plants after the second week of the flowering period.
How to Prune
Pruning this plant in the wrong way can interfere with its growth and even cause death. So, avoid cutting off the leaves with your hands. Use a sharp device such as a knife or scissors if you don’t have shears. Some of the basics of how to prune involve watering your plants immediately after pruning. This is vital in minimizing shock and stimulating growth. In addition to watering, supply your plants with more nutrients. Do not completely strip a stem or a branch of all leaves. This will stunt its growth because leaves are important for the process of photosynthesis.
Use Creative Forms of Pruning
Although pruning is generally good for your plants, it’s also important to use creative techniques. It’s necessary to train your plants to produce more even without pruning. Some of the creative techniques that you can use include defoliation. This involves the removal of the largest fan leaves. This process is usually done at the onset of the flowering stage.
Defoliation allows the buds to grow denser and fatter. However, it should be done in plants that are growing indoors and on healthy plants only. Other creative techniques that you can use include lollipopping. This is a type of defoliation that involves removing bushier growths found on the lower part of the plant. The eventual effect of lollipopping is a cannabis plant which has a lollipop shape.
Why Does Pruning Help Cannabis Plants Grow?
For any type of plant, pruning generally helps plants to grow rapidly. Although cutting some parts of plants may look like a ridiculous idea, it is highly beneficial and recommendable. So, why does pruning help cannabis plants grow?
The general goal of all plants is to grow as tall, large, and strong as possible. This is a survival tactic that they use to better access water, sunlight, and sometimes nutrients. Additionally, this survival tactic is also important for fertilization. As a result, all plants will try to compete to gain this advantage. Some even go to the extent of drawing the surrounding plants nearer to steal their water and sunlight. This competitive tendency is also in marijuana plants. This creates inequality as other plants will end up with an inadequate supply of sunlight and water.
So, plants will end up using most resources, including nutrients, to grow wide and not tall. However, pruning helps plants to use their resources effectively. Instead of growing wide, pruning your cannabis plants will force them to grow tall instead. Additionally, this technique also leads to a higher production of buds. The overall benefit of pruning is healthier plants which eventually produce high yields.
How to Prune Your Cannabis Plants
Do you have the right tools? You need to grab a functional pair of secateurs or garden shears. The type of tools you will use depend on the type of strain and the weather conditions. You can carry two shears with different strengths. For instance, the heavy-duty pair will be effective for cutting large stems, while the lighter shears will be great for cutting small stems.
So, how do you prune cannabis plants? For starters, you will begin with the lowest branches. You need to prune them first because they are usually not very useful. Most of them are usually dead or about to die. This is because the leaves don’t have exposure to sun rays. So, removing them helps to reduce the bulk in plants and promotes better overall growth.
After that, you now need to start making strategic cuts. This is important as you move towards the top. “Topping” involves cutting off the top-most shoot. This is an effective strategy that allows multiple shoots to develop thereafter. Note that if one shoot or stem is cut off, the plant will try to grow two or more shots to replace it. The best thing about these shoots is that they collectively grow in different directions. So, they survive because they have high chances of getting sunlight exposure. Overall, topping leads to high yields.
But it’s worth noting that the topping time is very crucial. One mistake, and you could possibly damage the plant. So, do not do it very early while the plant is still so young. You can do this after the development of the fifth pair of leaves. At this point, you can cut the main shoot, which will then encourage the development of multiple shoots. This will make your plants bushier.
After topping pruning, the next pruning should occur during the flowering stage. This is also vital for high yields and more bud production. The type of pruning that’s done in this stage is called Fimming. Generally, you need to pinch off every tip of new growth. This will lead to the growth of four new shoots. Note that these shoots will then develop and result in the growth of numerous colas. (Colas are flowering sites from which all the important buds develop from.)
Topping and Fimming are the main pruning methods of cannabis plants. However, there are other types of pruning techniques that are also effective. You can learn about them and then apply them at different stages of your plants’ development. For instance, you can remove those small shoots which grow in the middle of the plant. They usually have meager chances of producing buds.
Other Important Cannabis Pruning Tips for High Yields
Apart from cutting some parts and the tips of your plants, you can do stringing. This is a technique that involves tying stems at their tips. This will trick the plants into thinking that they have been cut-off. As a result, it will grow more rapidly to compensate for the “missing” tips. Stringing is better than pruning because it minimizes the chances of cell infection. Additionally, it reduces the chances of pest infestation.
Note: Pruning usually attracts pests which love to suck on saps from cut off leaves and stems.
Pruning your cannabis plants is one of the techniques that you can use to get high yields. This process gives you direct control over the plant. It promotes better use of resources such as nutrients and water, thereby resulting in higher yields. However, it’s important to understand how and when to do the pruning. Doing it earlier enough or late enough will interfere with the growth of the plant. In some instances, the plants may even die. Make sure that you also don’t over-prune your plants. Do not strip a stalk or stem of all leaves because it will wither.