Trimming lower branches during flowering, smart or not?

Trimming lower branches during flowering, smart or not?

Pruning cannabis plants
Reading Time: 8 minutes

The question as to whether or not to trim lower cannabis branches has been here for a long time. 

Many people, including those who have grown cannabis for a long time, believe that nobody should trim low branches. Is that what you think? Are there any advantages of trimming low branches? If yes, when are you supposed to trim your cannabis low branches, and how should you do it?

This guide will provide expert answers to those and more questions. Before we look at those questions, it is essential to look at some of the vital factors in growing healthy cannabis plants. Only then are you sure that you know how to handle the crops themselves. 

What you need to keep in mind when growing cannabis

Apart from soil or any other medium where your cannabis will grow, it would help if you remembered that proper cannabis cultivation requires several other things. Here are some of those things you must ensure are ready or exist before and after cultivating cannabis:

Sunlight

Yes, sunlight is critical, especially for those that prefer the outdoor cultivation of cannabis. While you may not be able to control the direction, amount, and intensity of sunlight when cultivating cannabis outdoors, you can influence the amount of sunlight that gets to your crops.

Still, on sunlight, experts suggest that for your cannabis to be strong and healthy, it should get sunlight for at least 10 hours a day. Remember that some areas receive sunlight up to 12 hours a day. Thus, it isn’t really a challenge for cannabis to access sunlight for more than the recommended over 8 hours.

Speaking of sunlight, you need to know that artificial light at times, maybe from powerful LED bulbs, can help those growing their cannabis indoors. Even so, you can try to introduce a transparent or translucent cover.

The primary purpose for introducing a transparent cover over your cannabis is to allow natural light from the sun to penetrate to reach your cannabis. 

Dirt

The word dirt in cannabis cultivation does not refer to the ordinary nonessential matter that is cast away after use. It is not litter. The terminology is used to refer to a rich and organic soil that is filled with a balanced diet.

The soil has, among other nutrients, potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen. In addition, this dirt is retentive – it has the ability to retain water and nutrients for a long time.

Favorable climatic conditions

Again, you may not have absolute control over this. However, it doesn’t mean you are left without a choice.  If you grow your cannabis in an environment that is conducive to all the other factors in place, you will harvest a significant yield.

Whether you are cultivation your weed indoors, outdoors, or in a greenhouse with little effort to alter the interior climate, you should strive to provide your crops with suitable aids to help them thrive.

Away from those three things – sunlight, dirt (rich soil), and favorable climatic conditions, human practices can affect your yield significantly. One of those human practices that directly influence the kind of harvest you will get from your garden is pruning. 

Pruning side branch

What is pruning?

As is the case with other factors mentioned in the previous section, pruning plays a significant role in the type or kind of result you will get at the end of the cannabis harvesting season. 

Pruning refers to the chopping off a plant’s extra branches or leaves. In many cases, weed-growers do not chop off any branch in the name of pruning. It is a process done with care because poor pruning will weaken a plant.

On the other hand, correct pruning can help improve a plant’s health and increase its yield. However, mastering the art of pruning, the time of pruning, and what to prune will be the only sure way of having good results in the end.

Indeed, pruning cannabis is not rocket science. However, it requires dedication. Besides, you will need the energy to do the job. You must invest in the right and recommended tools for the job. 

Finally, your timing is also crucial. Pruning is a process rather than an act; thus, you must know the right time and stage of the plant you want to prune.

Pruning during vegetative stage

The vegetative stage is one of the crucial stages in any plant growth. During this stage, everything inside a plant tells it to do whatever it can to start growing and producing results. Of course, you might not be able to see some of the subtle things but be sure you will notice significant changes in the end.

During this time, if the three main factors mentioned in the previous sections are adhered to, you will start to recognize an outburst of branches. After some time, some branches will grow taller (stretching upwards or towards the direction of the light), while others will start to wither and finally drop.

Topped cannabis plant
This is not the result of pruning. Cutting of the top of the cannabis plant is called either fimming or topping.

Why trim lower branches during vegetative stage?

Trimming lower branches at a plant’s early stage would seem to some people as depriving the plant of the energy needed during a tender age. While it may be so to some plants, it is not the case with cannabis.

A keen grower will not wait until the lower weak branch falls by itself. If you are serious about your cannabis and the yield you will get afterward, you will act quickly by cutting off the low branches and leaves that are weak.

Low branches during the vegetative stage are dangerous to the plant. During this stage, the plant is young and immature. The internal systems are not strong enough to help the plant to resist any external attacks.

Lower branches are vulnerable and susceptible to pests. Because of their height from the soil or whatever medium you are using, lower branches are pests’ easy gateway to the young or old cannabis plant. 

Besides, low branches at this fledgling stage do not add any value to the grower. Even if you chopped the branch, washed the leaves, dried them up, and use them, they won’t have the nutritional value needed for a cannabis plant. 

You cannot quench your smoking or vaping thirst using the proceeds of trimmed low branches.

If you intend to add fertilizer, manure, or any other nutritional supplements to your cannabis during the vegetative stage, it is essential to know that pruning plays a significant role.

For instance, if you prune your cannabis a few days before you apply fertilizer, it will mean that all the nutrients that come from the fertilizer or whatever it is that you’ve added to the soil will feed the remaining branches.

Cutting lower branches after adding fertilizer will be of little or no use at all because all the branches, including lower branches that will be cut in the end, will have utilized the nutrients.

Furthermore, trimming lower branches is fun. Yes, pruning is one of the best things you can do with your cannabis, something we bet you adore. Spending time performing those funny but fulfilling cuts on the lower cannabis branches helps you know many things about your cannabis plants, something you wouldn’t say otherwise.

Pruning cannabis leaves

Is it a smart idea to trim lower branches during the flowering period?

From what we have seen, it is a smart idea to trim lower cannabis branches and an ideal practice each cannabis grower needs to adopt.

When you start trimming your cannabis plants earlier, you give them a fresh new look and enable the plants to redirect the available nutrients to the right branches.

Careful pruning helps in the proper augmentation of the cannabis plant. When you trim your lower branches carefully, you will help cannabis plants send and use the energy to generate the tasty cannabis that you and your customers will love.

It aids in the formation of stronger middle branches/leaves

There is no debate about it. Cutting off weak lower branches helps your cannabis plants to generate more robust middle leaves. The more vigorous middle leaves will produce even better and tastier cannabis that your clients will love to order.

Remember that before you chopped off the lower branches, the cannabis tree looked bushy. As such, the middle’s leaves grew smaller each day. Now that the lower branches have been removed, the smaller inner leaves will get a completely new life.

The once smaller inner leaves will start to sprout again, giving the plant a completely new look. Whether you are growing your cannabis for personal recreations or it is a commercial venture, the process of trimming lower leaves will lead to a healthy, tastier, and increased harvest.

It also helps plants develop better/stronger buds

The secret to your plants having better and stronger buds ensures the plants have enough exposure to sunlight. Besides, without proper airflow, at a plant’s tender age, even weak buds’ formation is futile.

Knowing that secret will help you plan and execute your pruning of lower branches at the right time. 

The art of making the cuts is also essential. You need to start pruning your lower branches from where the branch attaches itself to the plant. Trimming a lower branch at this joint is the first technique that you should not forget.

When you prune lower branches, they join the central stalk and may give way for new branches to sprout. However, it is interesting that the new branches will not grow taller because they will not access enough light needed for their survival.

Remember, we are talking about lower branches. After pruning, the lower branches, more substantial upper branches that by now would have formed a canopy, will not allow the sprouting lower branches to access light. That will mean weak or even dead new lower branches.

Cutting off cannabis leaves

Is it a smart idea to prune lower branches when the plant is forming inner leaves?

As is the case with pruning lower branches during the vegetative stage, trimming lower branches when your plants are developing smaller inner leaves is the best thing that will ever happen to your cannabis.

Well, it is a good idea to prune your cannabis’ lower branches when the inner middle leaves are forming.  Remember that it is from the middle inner leaves that the buds form. Even before your cannabis starts to form buds, the mid inner leaves would have sprouted.

With more vigorous and healthy middle inner leaves, you will be sure of having good results when it is time to harvest. Besides, the middle inner leaves will spread and expand fast to form a good bush, which will add the needed value during harvest time. 

Therefore, it is a smart idea to prune your cannabis’ lower branches at a time your plants are forming small middle leaves. When you clear the lower branches, all the airflow that the lower branches prevented from reaching the most critical parts of the cannabis plant will start to flow back and forth.

In the end, the healthy middle leaves (thanks to the increased light and airflow) will give birth to and aid in the formation of healthy buds. 

What you can do to your cannabis plant after pruning the lower branches

The life and the healthy condition of your cannabis post pruning are equally important. Remember, you have cut out parts of your plant, and unless you used the right pruners and did it professionally, your plants could even die.

After pruning the lower cannabis branches, you need to continue watering your plants. Provide enough nutrients. Add fertilizer, if any, and increase some phosphorus, potassium, and of course nitrogen. 

Also, give your cannabis additional ingredients such as Vitamin B1 or fertilizer rich in Vitamin B complex. Because you injured some parts of your plants during trimming, ensure the environment is clean. 

Do not contaminate your plants with anything you think might pass germs or any dirt. If you see any lower branch sprouting from what you cut earlier, quickly remove it. The middle and upper leaves and the buds need the remaining nutrients, which you will add post-pruning.  

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