How to Increase Your Yield: The Ultimate Guide on How to Prune Marijuana Plants
If you love growing cannabis, you're not alone. In fact, by 2025, it's estimated that legal marijuana will earn the US $23 billion in annual revenue!
Just like selecting the right strain, growing conditions and nutrients, good pruning is an essential task in successful cannabis production. Here, we’ll discuss why proper pruning is important, a few different pruning methods and when to use them, some common mistakes to avoid, and how Trim Daddy can make pruning faster, safer, and more effective.
The Basics of Pruning
As you probably already know, 'pruning' a marijuana plant refers to trimming the unwanted parts of it off. Pruning makes more room for the healthy buds to grow and allows them to absorb more light. Using a trimmer with automatic trimming blades, like Trim Daddy, ensures that you get all of the small, unwanted leaves off of your plant so that the good stuff can flourish.
Pruning increases your crop yield in multiple ways. It eliminates the buds that aren't going to thrive and allows the plant to focus the energy that it would have spent growing them elsewhere. It also gives your plant more space to let natural light in and reach the good leaves.
It also trains your plant to focus on the areas that you want to flourish rather than the small buds at the bottom of the plant. This ensures that they grow appropriately in the space you have provided and that they thrive in areas that can easily be reached by light.
How to Prune Marijuana Plants Properly
Now that you know the basics of pruning and how it helps boost yield, it's time to talk about how to properly prune your cannabis plants; what should be removed during this process, and what techniques need to be employed. Read on to learn how you can increase your marijuana yield when growing both indoors and outdoors!
What Should Be Removed?
When pruning a marijuana plant, the first thing that you should do is remove entire branches that are dying due to lack of sunlight. These branches will generally be at the bottom of the plant because upper-level leaves have given them too much shade. You can prune the entirety of these branches to give yourself more room to perform more detailed work on the rest of the plant.
Don't worry that you might be wasting cannabis when you prune these branches- they’re never going to fully develop into usable buds because of their positioning on the plant and lack of sunlight.
After you finish cutting off all the full branches that you don't want, you can begin clipping bud sites that are low down the main stalks of your plant. These branches that are growing up under the canopy also will get shaded out, making them unable to develop usable buds. Getting rid of them will give your usable buds extra space to grow, thrive, and flourish.
These small branches and bud sites can be hard to reach, but Trim Daddy’s compact design helps trimmers to maneuver into hard to reach places on the plants.
Finally, you'll need to take a comprehensive look at the remainder of your plant. Prune any tiny branches or dying leaves. If you don't do this, the rest of the plant is more likely to become unhealthy.
The open space created by pruning will let extra light get to the healthy, usable buds. This will give the entire plant a growth spurt in the days following your pruning.
The plant will also thrive because you have controlled where the plant invests its energy in growing. It isn't going to waste time and resources attempting to grow unproductive or dying areas, but will rather be able to focus on the areas that will yield usable weed.
Main Pruning Techniques
In addition to pruning the right parts of your plant, you are going to want to utilize a few different pruning techniques.
One of the main pruning techniques is called 'topping.' This is what it's called when you prune the growing main stem of the cannabis plant. Eliminating this top will allow two new main colas to develop. Not only does this increase yield in and of itself, but it also promotes growth of the lower branches by increasing the light levels that they receive.
Fimming is another main pruning technique similar to topping, but instead of doubling your yield, it can increase it 4x. Here, you use your high-quality trimmer to get rid of 75% of the main stem of your cannabis plant. Once this is done, the main shoot will develop into four (or more) colas that will be 100% usable.
Before trying either of these pruning techniques, make sure that the plant has between 3-5 nodes.
Other Pruning Techniques
If you want the most yield possible, topping and fimming alone aren't going to cut it. You're going to need to go above and beyond with lollipopping and scrogging.
Lollipopping is simply the removal of fluffy lower bud sites from your cannabis plant with your plant trimmer. When you do this, you help your plant redirect its energy into growing large leaves rather than into nurturing tiny nubs. This is generally best done the third week after the buds develop.
'Scrogging' is a bit different than these other pruning techniques because it refers to the site at which the plant should be grown. High-yield pruning strategies can be enhanced with Screen of Green (ScrOG), which refers to placing a mesh screen across the grow space. You then can have the concrete goal of having the plant bud through as many mesh holes as possible, which increases your yield by encouraging you to attain a quantifiable objective.
Mistakes to Avoid
When pruning your plants, there are also some common trim mistakes that you need to avoid.
The first mistake is pruning plants at the wrong time. When you prune too early or try to clip off bad buds preemptively, you run the risk of eliminating a part of the plant that could have grown into a good product. Of course, this is something to avoid at all costs if you want to maximize your yield!
The second- and more detrimental- mistake is over-pruning. While you may think that pruning constantly is a great way to ensure that your plant gets the appropriate amount of light, you could wind up killing it if you’re not careful. The nutrients that your plant needs are stored in its buds, and clipping these buds off means that nutrients will never get to the parts of your plant that you want to nurture. Instead, pruning once a week is generally a safe bet.
Keep your own health and safety, or that of your workers, in mind as well. Using manual scissors or trimmers may give a clean, accurate cut, but the repetitive strain and wrist contortions required can lead to hand strain and carpal tunnel syndrome. Using an electric trimmer like Trim Daddy for pruning can cut down on time, labor costs, and hand strain.
While there are a lot of important aspects to cultivating thriving cannabis plants, pruning appropriately is one of the most critical. Pruning properly ensures that your plants will get the right amount of light and nutrients to grow the product that you want.
If you’re looking to cut down on pruning and trimming time, but aren’t willing to give up the quality cut of doing it by hand, it’s time to add Trim Daddy to your cultivation toolkit.
Trim Daddy features easy to change blades too, which means you don’t have to stop working to waste time fumbling with hard-to-clean blades. And it’s ergonomic design means you and your crew don’t have to stop because your hands and wrists hurt too much to keep trimming.
Save time, trim better. Invest in a Trim Daddy today.