With many states now allowing cannabis plants to be grown at home in moderation, more curious first-time cultivators are emerging. Just like any other plant, cannabis will need a bit of care and attention while it grows to ensure you get a good yield when harvest time arrives. Pruning cannabis can be one important component in the growing process. Therefore, learning how to prune cannabis plants is a necessary step. Below is a comprehensive guide on when to prune a cannabis plant, how to prune cannabis effectively, and more.
When to Prune Cannabis
While pruning cannabis is important, you also don’t want to prune at the wrong points in the growth cycle. Otherwise, you could impede the growth process or risk damaging the plant. When to prune weed exactly may vary depending on the type of strain you are growing. However, there are some general guidelines that can help.
Most pruning is done in the early stages of vegetative growth once the plant starts to bush out and develop its shape. Pruning when the plant is really small is not really necessary. The foliage isn’t thick enough to get in the way of even light exposure and the branches won’t be large or long enough to take up too much space. However, by about week two of vegetation, it is best to start doing some pruning.
You will know your plant is ready for pruning when:
- The plant is roughly around a foot tall
- The plant is developing growth nodes and internodes (small bumps where new stems will grow)
- The plant already has several leaves
Note: Not all cannabis cultivars grow the same way or at the same rate. For example, Sativa-lineage plants often grow taller faster, so they can be pruned sooner. But Indica-lineage plants tend to grow more slowly and may not need to be pruned so soon.
Pruning can be an ongoing process once you start. However, once your plant enters the flowering stage (producing buds), your pruning efforts will come to a close for the most part. It will be fine to lightly prune the bottom branches, but nothing substantial should be done during the flowering cycle.
Why Pruning Cannabis Is Important
In short, learning how to prune cannabis plant growth properly will provide several noteworthy benefits to the plant and you, such as:
- Pruning keeps the plant more manageable and neater, which helps you get the most out of your growing space
- Pruning boosts vegetation and growth by allowing light and oxygen flow to reach all parts of the plant
- Pruning enhances the quality of bud production by encouraging nutrients to radiate to the most fruitful areas
- Pruning may enhance overall flower yield at harvest time
How to Prune a Cannabis Plant Step by Step
A little guidance and the right tools can ensure your cannabis plants are well-pruned and healthy. And you don’t need a substantial amount of growing experience or gardening knowledge to do a good job.
1. First, What You’ll Need to Prune Weed
- Sharp scissors with small blades
- Pruning shears for pruning heavier branches
- Rubbing alcohol
- Paper towels
Before getting started, make sure any shears you will be using to prune your cannabis plant are clean. A quick wipe down with rubbing alcohol on a paper towel will sanitize the blades so you don’t inadvertently pass on bacteria to the plant.
2. Remove Lower Branches
At the base of the plant, you may have a few thick stalks stemming off the main one. These stalks may not grow well and do not typically get a great deal of light. Therefore, they can safely be removed by using your shears or scissors to make a clean cut at the base of the stem.
3. Remove Other Small or Unhealthy Stems
Examine your cannabis plant and look for other small, wispy branches or those that look unhealthy. Snip these off at the base to remove them. You may also have branches shooting off of the main branches that will not get a lot of light. These can be removed as well.
4. Nurture the Plant After Pruning
After pruning, make sure the cannabis plant gets ample water and nutrients to recover. Pruning is good for the plant, but it can be slightly stressful in the few days after. Within a few days, you will likely see new stems and branches start to form. Monitor the new growth and trim them as needed until the flowering stage begins.
Pruning vs Topping Cannabis
Topping is a type of pruning but not technically the same thing as general cannabis pruning. Pruning is done primarily to keep the plant from being too bushy or to encourage better growth in certain areas. The branches and vegetation removed are not concentrated in one area of the plant. Topping a cannabis plant involves taking a section off of the top of the cannabis plant.
Final Thoughts from Compassionate Care
Learning how to prune weed plant growth is not difficult, but it can make all the difference to the health of your plant and your yield. In some states, growing cannabis is only allowed for individuals that have a medical marijuana card, while others with more relaxed laws may allow all adults to grow their own. However, many states are yet to allow growing cannabis plants at home at all. Therefore, you may need to obtain a medical marijuana card in your state to shop at a licensed dispensary.
If you believe you have a qualifying condition and need help obtaining a medical marijuana card in your state, Compassionate Care MD is here to help. Our medical marijuana doctors can help you gain privileges to participate in medical cannabis programs in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Mississippi, and New York.