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Trimming Your Cannabis Buds: Wet Trimming Vs Dry Trimming

While many cannabis growers treat harvest like the final stage of cultivation, it is far from the end. Along with improving their looks, trimming cannabis flowers makes for smoother smoking, greater potency, and reduces mould formation too! We’ll cover each step of the trimming process, compare and contrast methods, and show you how to do it right.

The what, when, and how of trimming cannabis.

  • 1. Why should you trim cannabis buds?
  • 2. When to trim cannabis
  • 3. Trimming: the best tools for the job
  • 4. Types of trimming
  • 5. Pros and cons of each cannabis trimming method
  • 6. What to do with the leftover trim
  • 7. Dry and curing cannabis: the next step
  • 1. Why should you trim cannabis buds?
  • 2. When to trim cannabis
  • 3. Trimming: the best tools for the job
  • 4. Types of trimming
  • 5. Pros and cons of each cannabis trimming method
  • 6. What to do with the leftover trim
  • 7. Dry and curing cannabis: the next step

Most growers agree that harvest time is the most rewarding part of the growing cycle. After months of raising your seedlings into mature, bud-laden plants, you’re finally able to sample the fruits of your labour!

However, you still have work to do; you’ll need to properly prepare your flowers for drying, curing, and storage. Do it correctly, and you’ll have buds that look, taste, and smoke better. Trust us; it’s worth your time and effort.

A key step, of course, is trimming the sugar leaves off your buds after clipping branches off the plant. Remember those pristine and nugget-like buds at your local dispensary or coffeeshop? Those are the result of manicuring—another word for trimming. Moving past aesthetics, these buds will also smell better, smoke better, and stay fresher after a good trim.

Let’s dive deeper into why you should trim your harvest, and consider different techniques used to get the job done.

WHY SHOULD YOU TRIM CANNABIS BUDS?

Trimming those sugar leaves off will help ensure your flowers are free of mould and excess plant material. If you need more convincing, let’s break down the main reasons to trim.

AESTHETICS

Taste, aroma, and effects are the most important aspects of cannabis. However, looks don’t fall far behind. After all, nothing feels as good as pulling pristine, manicured buds out of a stash jar. Trimming your flowers will transform them from rugged nugs into those worthy of a spot on the top shelf.

AROMA

Every strain offers a unique blend of terpenes that underpin its aroma. With the sugar leaves out of the way, terpenes will be that much more front and centre. Trim at the right time so you can avoid dislodging too many trichomes—the glands that produce these aromatic molecules.

SMOOTH SMOKE

Lingering sugar leaves are harsh on the lungs when smoked, and they have far less THC, so it’s best to toss them aside. Once you trim your buds, they’ll hit as smooth as the best you’ll find in the dispensary.

CANNABINOID CONTENT

Most of the trichomes that produce cannabinoids and terpenes reside on the buds. Sugar leaves do produce trichomes, but in much fewer numbers. After trimming your buds down, the ratio of plant material to cannabinoids will be more in your favour.

WHEN TO TRIM CANNABIS

Now that you know why you need to do it, you need to know how to do it right. As we mentioned earlier, timing is key when it comes to trimming cannabis flowers. For those keeping track, it’s your next port of call after harvest.

Before you even harvest, however, there are steps you can take to maximise the benefits of trimming. These steps include flushing, which, for those unfamiliar, involves cutting out nutrients and administering pure water to your plant’s growing medium before harvest. This practice encourages plants to utilise stored nutrients before harvest time, resulting in smoother and more flavourful flowers.

Most growers opt to flush their crop for around two weeks during the tail-end of the flowering stage. Proceeding to properly trim, dry, and cure your flowers will further blunt the harsh edge and enhance their aromatic properties.

Some growers prefer to trim immediately after harvesting their flowers, whereas others like to dry out their buds beforehand. Both of these techniques feature their own benefits and downfalls.

TRIMMING: THE BEST TOOLS FOR THE JOB

As it goes with any cannabis growing-related job, you’ll need the right tools to get it done. While they may seem simple, and in many ways are, they’re important nonetheless.

CURVED TRIMMING SCISSORS

To start, any grower will tell you that curved trimming scissors make both harvesting and trimming so much easier. The rounded blades fit perfectly around the base of buds, allowing you to safely snip them off the branches.

They also cut flush against the natural curve of cannabis buds, allowing growers to remove sugar leaves without damaging flowers. Trimming plants can wear down your hands, though, and calluses are common. Thankfully, these scissors feature a comfortable PVC grip and spring resistance to help counter those issues.

Curved Trimming Scissors

ROLLING TRAY / COLLECTION TRAY

You’ll also want to trim your flowers over a collection tray so you can save the sugar leaves for later. If you don’t know where to start looking, our line of rolling trays feature vivid designs and raised edges that will prevent spillages and mess. You also have the option of selecting your favourite colours and sizes.

SUITABLE STASH JAR

Where do you plan on putting all of that processed bud? You can’t leave it lying around on your coffee table! You’ll need something airtight, spacious, and convenient. Our in-house brand, as it happens, has the perfect solution in the form of the RQS Re:stash Jar.

These airtight jars feature a branded silicone sleeve that keeps the internal mason jar insulated. The lid—BPA-free and crafted from renewable hemp fibre—helps to maintain freshness and optimises terpene content.

TYPES OF TRIMMING

There are two ways to trim cannabis by hand: wet and dry. Alternatively, buds can be processed en masse via machine. Different growers have their own preferences, but they all end up at the same end result (if all goes well). Let’s cover the procedure and pros/cons of each method below so you can see which you prefer.

WET TRIMMING

Wet trimming refers to cutting away sugar leaves immediately after harvesting your flowers. Because they still hold a lot of water, the flowers remain wet and ultra-sticky.

1. Harvest your buds

Cut each branch near the node using your curved trimming scissors. Each branch will hold several buds. Keep them attached to the branch during trimming to make your life easier. Place your bud-laden branches into a large jar or bucket until you strip the entire plant.

2. Collect your tools and prepare your hands

Gather your scissors and tray, turn on a podcast, and drink some coffee to help you plough through the task ahead. Wash your hands and dry them well. Then, put on a pair of latex gloves to prevent your hands from getting caked in resin.

3. Trim

Pick up each branch, one by one, and use your curved scissors to carefully cut away all of the small sugar leaves on each bud. Many growers like to start at the base and work their way upwards in a circular fashion to ensure even, rounded edges. Some of the sugar leaves will be almost entirely concealed by the body of the bud. Remove as much as possible without damaging the flower. There will always be traces of sugar leaves left behind—don’t worry!

4. Drying and curing

Of course, you’ll need to dry and cure your manicured buds before you blaze them up. Place them on a drying rack in a lightly heated room with a fan. Once dry, remove individual buds from their branches before placing them into jars for curing.

DRY TRIMMING

Dry trimming, in contrast, takes place between drying and curing. Dry buds are much less sticky, but a little more tricky to trim. Here’s how to do it.

1. Harvesting and drying

Cut your plant at the base, and hang it upside down in a warm room with a fan.

2. Processing

Once completely dry, cut off each individual branch and set them aside for trimming.

3. Collect your tools

Get comfy, put on a podcast, and grab your scissors. Wash your hands and put on a pair of gloves here too.

4. Trim

Once you’re settled, cut away all of the sugar leaves from each bud. Use your scissors to cut each bud away from the branch, one at a time. This will make them easier to cure and store.

5. Start the curing process

Load your buds into their curing jars for smoother hits and better flavour.

MACHINE TRIMMING

Trimming by hand allows growers great attention to detail when processing their flowers. However, home growers don’t have to worry about massive volumes of flower. Commercial growers, though, view hand trimming as somewhat archaic, instead using machines to get the job done.

Trimming machines are available in many different sizes and shapes, and at different price points. Commercial-grade machines, while out of reach for average folk, can trim warehouse yields in no time. Smaller devices also exist to remove the task from the to-do list of smaller growers.

It sounds like a great hack, but there’s still a downside. Machines, unfortunately, have a reputation for damaging otherwise pristine cannabis flowers. They can save time, but you need to decide if you can tolerate the tradeoff.

PROS AND CONS OF EACH CANNABIS TRIMMING METHOD

As we’ve gone over, each of the methods above offers its own advantages and disadvantages. carla

WET TRIMMING ADVANTAGES WET TRIMMING DISADVANTAGES
It’s useful for preventing mould in climates with high humidity It’s a stickier process, making it feel more tedious
It’s more of a linear process following harvest (with nothing between drying and curing) The buds might dry too fast, leading to less nuance in flavour
The flowers dry faster without sugar leaves The buds will be less dense and compact, which some growers don’t like
Growers are able to dry more buds on their drying rack
WET TRIMMING ADVANTAGES WET TRIMMING DISADVANTAGES
It’s useful for preventing mould in climates with high humidity It’s a stickier process, making it feel more tedious
It’s more of a linear process following harvest (with nothing between drying and curing) The buds might dry too fast, leading to less nuance in flavour
The flowers dry faster without sugar leaves The buds will be less dense and compact, which some growers don’t like
Growers are able to dry more buds on their drying rack
DRY TRIMMING ADVANTAGES DRY TRIMMING DISADVANTAGES
It’s ideal in places with low humidity levels Sugar leaves can store pockets of moisture, leading to mould
The buds become nice, compact, and nugget-like Dry-trimmed flowers lose their initial colour quite quickly
The flowers dry at a slower rate and maintain their full flavour The dried sugar leaves become even smaller and harder to cut in a clean fashion
DRY TRIMMING ADVANTAGES DRY TRIMMING DISADVANTAGES
It’s ideal in places with low humidity levels Sugar leaves can store pockets of moisture, leading to mould
The buds become nice, compact, and nugget-like Dry-trimmed flowers lose their initial colour quite quickly
The flowers dry at a slower rate and maintain their full flavour The dried sugar leaves become even smaller and harder to cut in a clean fashion
MACHINE TRIMMING ADVANTAGES MACHINE TRIMMING DISADVANTAGES
It saves time compared to either hand-trimming method There’s a risk of the machine damaging flowers
Smaller machines help home growers process larger yields All that noise and gear is not ideal for stealthy growers
They remove one of many tasks growers are faced with
MACHINE TRIMMING ADVANTAGES MACHINE TRIMMING DISADVANTAGES
It saves time compared to either hand-trimming method There’s a risk of the machine damaging flowers
Smaller machines help home growers process larger yields All that noise and gear is not ideal for stealthy growers
They remove one of many tasks growers are faced with

WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVER TRIM

After trimming your entire harvest, your collection tray will be filled—or overflowing—with stems, stalks, fan leaves, and sugar leaves. Although these components might seem like waste material, you can actually put this trim to good use.

No, you won’t want to smoke them, but all of these parts contain cannabinoid and terpene stores. You can use them to make all sorts of homemade products that’ll have you feeling those good herbal vibes.

Growers can get especially experimental with sugar leaves. They aren’t the best to smoke, but you can use them to make some quality cannabutter, some sugar leaf tea, or even some tasty kief to add to your bud.

Likewise, you can use the stems to make an assortment of extracts and concentrates. We believe the best uses for cannabis stems include:

DRYING AND CURING CANNABIS: THE NEXT STEP

With trimming over, you’ll need to dry (unless you dry trimmed) and cure your flowers. Drying removes any excess moisture from your flowers, minimises mould formation, and makes them viable for long-term storage.

Curing your buds will greatly enhance their flavour and contribute to buttery smooth hits. The process forces buds to maintain just the right amount of moisture to make them pleasant to smoke and ideal for storing.

Check out our article on how to correctly dry and cure your harvest for more information!

Between harvesting and curing your cannabis buds, we suggest you trim them. Find out why, when, and how to do it right, along with helpful tools for the job.

When and How to Prune Marijuana Plants

Inicio » Tips » When and How to Prune Marijuana Plants

  • Escrito por : Ciara
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When and how to prune marijuana plants: depending on why you want to prune your plants, you’ll need to do it one way or another, or at a certain time or another. You wouldn’t prune the same way if you want to make a parent plant, then if you wanted your plant to have a more distributed production in order to have a more discreet plant or if it’s just the way that that particular variety is grown.

We’re going to talk about a few different pruning situations, along with a picture and an explanation so that you know where you have to cut depending on the result you want, because not all pruning is done the same or for the same reason, so each type has a different effect on your plants.

Where to cut if you want to get a clone:

To do this, you need to make sure that the part of the plant that you want to use as a cutting is above where you’re cutting, and that there are a few small branches on it. You also need to leave a knot above the spot where you cut so that when you plant it again you can plant it deep up to the knot, because that’s where the roots will be coming out of. You’ll need to cut it just like the picture, take off the little branch from the knot where we’ll be burying our plant, make sure that you cut it at a 45º angle, and then you should put it straight into some rock wool, jiffy, or whatever you prefer. After a few days, following the right steps (go check out the article we’ve done specifically on rooting clones), your plant should have some roots.

Where to cut with the FIM pruning method:

The FIM prune is a type of cut that’s not followed through on, and it produces 4 or 5 new sprouds. At the beginning they may seem strange and deformed, but they’ll soon turn into sturdy branches, you just need to give them time. This kind of technique is perfect if you want to turn a cutting from another plant into a parent plant. Using the FIM method, you can get a lot of new branches on your plant, which will cause new slip sprouts to appear on the upper layers, which is what you’re after. The first time I tried this I got very good results even though I had never done it before, even though it might seem difficult, you just need to try and leave the middle tip when the cutting is still small, like in the picture, taking away about 60% of the tip and leaving the little leaves that were starting to come out. If you want, you can repeat the process when the tip begins to come out again. You’ll end up having an extremely dense parent plant, which’ll be extremely productive, meaning you can have a SCROG set up with a mesh in your grow room or grow tent.

Where to cut to grow two central calyxes:

To get two central calyxes and have a more centered harvest, all you need to do is cut above the two branches that we want to let grow. The cut must happen after a point in which two new branches are appearing, leaving about 1cm of trunk after those two branches. In the picture we can see the two sprouts coming out of the trunk, and even a little extra bit. In a couple of days the wound will close and the two new central points will have your plants entire attention. That’s where the most bud will be concentrated because your plant will see the two new branches as the central eye of the plant.

Where to cut if you want a nice small, wide indoor plant:

To use this prune technique you’ll have to be a bit more careful, because you’ll have to cut along the fattest part of the trunk, and your plant will have an open wound that you’ll need to cover up. This way you’ll manage to get the plant to have a high density of flowers on the inner and outer branches, creating a blanket of buds of around 40x40cm with which you can fill a square meter grow tent with just four plants or a 1,2×1,2 grow tent with up to 9 plants. This kind of pruning helps spread out the production in the shape of smaller buds but in larger quantities. You’ll need to make the cut right around the height of the lower branches, leaving the plant looking kind of like a candelabrum, allowing the shorter branches to end up at the same height as the longer ones. You’ll need to use a scarring paste on the wound or even wax from a candle so that no dirt or insects can get in and put your plant’s life in danger.

Pruning lower branches to concentrate production at the top (Lollipop):

Some strains absolutely hate it when you prune them to increase their number of branches, so in these strains what you’ll want to do is increase the amount of production on the central stem. These strains tend to be indicas. The one that’s easiest to recognize with this kind of shape is Critical+. These plants center most of their production on the main “eye” of the plant, the central calyx, so to get the most out of these plants you’ll need to place a whole lot together and prune/trim the lower branches. This way you’ll be able to grow up to 16 plants per square meter without them getting tangled. The idea is to prune those branches that come out over the flowerpot, leaving just the main stem and 4 to 6 branches around the bottom. To make sure that it doesn’t end up doubling over with the weight you should wire or string it, and you’ll have 16 extremely productive plants where before you could only fit 9.

Doubling over branches to stop growth and increase strength:

If you take one of the branches on your plant and bend it slightly, it should form a sort of callus which will double the strength of the branch. The cells in your plant will make their way to the injury and they’ll strengthen the branch, allowing it to put up with much more weight. As well as not growing any more, the end bud will have heavier buds. All you have to do is bend the branch slightly, making sure not to go too far; if you actually break it then that’s that. If done correctly, you should end up with thick balls of buds and compact, strong plants. You’ll be able to grow less plants in your grow tent but with a higher production rate.

What not to do when pruning your plants:

Pruning is essentially cutting a part of your plant so that it can direct its strength to other parts that can absorb light easily. This doesn’t mean that you can prune any part of your plants like the large leaves so that the light can reach the lower parts. Leaves have an extremely important part to play in your plants’ lives; they’re kind of like solar panels for plants, and the buds are the batteries. If light hits the batteries they won’t charge, it needs to hit the panels so that the light can be turned into energy for your plants. This means that if you remove the leaves you’ll end up removing a lot of the strength from your plants, as they act like nutrient deposits; if your plants leaves aren’t receiving enough light the plant will automatically absorb all of the nutrients, leaving the leaf yellow and dead.

None of the leaves are disposable, even the smallest ones. Every single one is needed so that they grow properly. If you want to test this out yourself, trim one of the big leaves while your plant is still in the growth phase. You’ll notice how the branch carrying that leaf will stop growing, and branches with all of their leaves will continue growing without any issues. The same thing will happen to the buds; if you remove a leaf so that the lower buds can get more light, the higher buds will end up dwarfed and a lot less potent, when they would have been much bigger than the lower ones to begin with.

Another thing that you mustn’t do is prune your plants while they’re flowering. Plants need a few days to recover from prune-induced stress, and it takes a while to decide where the new branch or central stem is going to grow from. You’ll need to prune at least 15 days before you switch your plants to the growing period or before summer begins for outdoor crops. You need to prune during the growth period every time, or else the start of the flowering period may be compromised.

You can prune to change your plants’ shape, but never prune at the top to allow more light to reach the bottom; the top is always more productive than the bottom even if you want it to get more light. The logical thing to do would be to prune the bottom so that the top can produce even more.

If you’re looking to learn how to do other kinds of pruning, leave a comment and we’ll do our best to add it on to the article.

Author: Javier Chinesta
Translation: Ciara Murphy

Comprehensive article on when and how to prune marijuana plants depending on the effect you want the pruning to have. Read on to find out more.