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Pruning cannabis is one of the most effective training techniques used to increase harvest size and quality. But doing it wrong, can have the opposite effect and damage the plant beyond repair.
While there is only a small chance that the plant will die, removing limbs from the plant close to harvest can trigger the plant to redirect its growth focus on healing instead of flower development. If cannabis plants redirect their growth energy away from flower development during critical stages it can severely hurt THC development.
Trimming lower branches during flowering can have a positive effect if the plants underwent proper pruning during their vegetation stage. However, it is a bad idea to remove lower branches during the flowering stage once the limbs had plenty of time to grow thick.
If the plant was left to grow thick lower branches the pruning cuts will be much larger compared to younger smaller branches. By timing your ladies regularly, they never get an opportunity to grow thick branches. Smaller wound cut to the plant results in shorter recovery time and allows the cannabis to maintain focus on flower development.
Here is what you need to know before you start pruning lower branches during the flowering stage.
Why you Should Trim Lower Branches
Pruning your cannabis ladies at the right time can be the difference between a good or great harvest. There are many reasons to prune cannabis plants but plant health is the biggest concern.
The frequency and the amount of pruning at a given time mostly depend on the genetics of the cannabis strain. While some stains need minimal attention, others grow bushy fan leaves that require more grooming.
Pruning is typically not viewed as a waste cannabis plant because only the sugar leaves in between the buds actually develop trichomes. By trimming fan leaves that do not develop trichomes it allows the plant to refocus its growth energy to the sugar leaves and buds that have more therapeutic value.
Apart from promoting bigger and more quality yields, pruning your ladies regularly can tremendously decrease the risk of mold formation.
Control Humidity in grow room
Proper airflow inside a grow room is one of the most effective methods to dry up air moisture and to control humidity and temperature.
During the night time when plants are not in photosynthesis, they act similar to humans. When light disappears, plants start to breathe oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide which can greatly impact humidity in a grow room. Carbon dioxide is one of the biggest contributing causes to humidity build-up in indoor grow spaces.
High humidity during the vegetation and flowering stage can cause massive damage to your crops if left unchecked. Pruning cannabis regularly is the most effective way to lower moisture build-up between leaves which essentially lowers the risk of mold formation.
Increase light distribution
Another major reason for trimming lower branches is to improve light distribution amongst plants. Cannabis converts light into plant growth energy which is essential to develop THC and large buds. Once plant density becomes too high in a concentrated grow space, often only the plant canopy typically gets enough light. Defoliating your cannabis plants helps light to reach more fan leaves because there is less obstructing plant tissue.
Improve airflow for better ventilation
Apart from better light distribution, thinning out your bush 🙂 also greatly improves airflow which is beneficial to a grow room in numerous ways. Propper airflow is one of the most important factors when it comes to how strong cannabis plants will grow.
Air ventilation creates a gentle breeze inside the grow room which in return exerts tug and pull resistance on the stem when the branches move. This resistance training is similar to humans doing weight training to increase muscle mass.
Help the plant to cool down internally
Apart from training the cannabis to grow thicker branches, the plant movement also helps improve liquid circulation to the leaves and flowers. Absorbs water carries vital nutrients and supplements throughout the plant’s internal vein system to support healthy growth.
While this is something that is mostly overlooked by new growers, optimized plant blood circulation is critical to help cool the plant down. Plant discharge more than 95% of absorbed water back into the air in a process call transpiration. Minute holes on the leaves are used to absorb and oust gasses and moisture which helps the plant to regulate internal temperature.
Another bonus of training cannabis to grow thicker stems is that it allow the plants to flush more lifeblood at a given time. This in return also helps increase the amount of nutrient-rich lifeblood flushing to the most important limbs of the plants to enhance flower growth and temperature regulation.
Keep this in mind when trimming cannabis plants during flowering
Ideally, trimming lower branches during flowering is not optimal, but is a common practice if you overshot your opportunity in the vegetation stage. However, overdoing pruning to close the harvesting time can have a tremendous negative impact on crop quality.
The flowering stage typically lasts for approximately eleven weeks with only a six-week window to trim the lower branches. The first six weeks of flowering is the ideal time to prune lower branches. The second half of the flowering period becomes riskier to make big changes to the plant because it can cause enormous stress to the cannabis which dramatically impacts the quality of flower yield.
Is it safe to trim lower branches during the final stage of flowering?
Apart from diminished yield size and quality, placing too much stress on cannabis during the final stages of flowering can trigger the plant to enter into survival mode which can cause all sorts of growth problems. When cannabis thinks their life is under threat they start to produce pollen sacs instead of focusing growth on flowers.
While hermaphroditism can be treated to a certain degree, it will still seriously hurt flower production.
Ideally, once your plants reach the final six weeks of flowering there should not be many branches and or leaves left to trim. During the finishing period of flowering growers typically only remove dying branches or leaves to help manage plant growth energy.
What to do after trimming cannabis lower branches
The health condition of cannabis is a critical factor to help predict how the plant will respond to trauma from pruning. Similar to humans, plants that suffer open wounds need proper nutrition and recovery time.
The first action to take after removing branches is to water and feed the plants nutrients and supplements to help aid in wound healing.
It is also the ideal time to look at slightly increasing vital supplements like phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen to boost any insufficiencies that might be caused by wound recovery.
Some growers even go as far as adding additional vitamin B complex and fertilizer. Just be careful not to overfeed the plants to prevent nutrient burn and compromise the plant’s health.
It is common for plants to begin growing new stems from open-cut wounds. If you notice any new sprouts growing from the open wounds, it is good practice remove them before they get bigger. While removing these new growths is not critical, it does help conserve plant growth energy to spend on flower development.
Another critical factor to consider when trimming lower branches is bacteria infections. Similar to people, open wounds make them tremendously vulnerable to bacteria and other plant diseases.
Firstly, always makes sure to use disinfected pruning sheers or surgical blade for every plant to prevent bacterial cross-contamination between plants. Secondly, remove any decomposing branches and old stagnating water from the grow space that can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Keeping your grow room bacteria-free will prevent any foul odors, and besides, who wants to drink bacteria invested toilet water.
I hope these simple yet effective techniques have made you a more knowledgeable cannabis rower to produce stunning flowers. Keep up the green thumbs 🙂