It is possible to manipulate the direct growth of the cannabis plant. One of the most effective ways to control your plant’s growth is through pruning. Pruning ticks all the boxes if you want to increase yield, delay the onset of flowering, promote lateral branching, and limit your plant’s size.
Why You Need to Prune Your Cannabis Plant
Pruning refers to the process of cutting small, specific sections of a plant. It is done to encourage the healthy growth of plants. At the basic level, pruning helps to get rid of growth that is unproductive, damaged, or blocking light from the sun from getting to the budding flowers.
Eliminating this growth allows the plant to channel its energy to strengthen and nourish the remaining buds, shoots, and leaves. Successfully pruning the plant promotes light exposure and greater airflow. This helps foster a vibrant plant and denser buds richer in cannabinoids.
The practice of pruning can be challenging, even if its principle sounds simple. Excessive pruning can be detrimental to the development and health of your cannabis plant. Therefore, you must be cautious when pruning. The plant may be weakened because of excessive pruning. This can subsequently minimize the yield.
Additionally, mistakenly pruning vital shoots and stems or pruning at the wrong time of the plant’s growing cycle can inflict damage. Due to these reasons, it is recommended that new growers should avoid pruning altogether. A new grower who must prune should just do it at the most fundamental level, removing yellowing and dead leaves.
When to Prune Your Cannabis Plant
Pruning of the cannabis plant is mostly performed during the vegetative growth stage. This is before the plant reaches maturity and is ready for flowering. You should have a well-established plant in the flowering stage. It should have several sets of leaves and measure about 12 inches before you prune it. You may keep the pruning to a bare minimum if you are looking to grow squat, bushy plants.
Pruning the plant judiciously in the early stage of vegetative growth will have less effect on flowering. It is also not recommended that you prune more mature plants that are approaching the stage of flowering.
Pruning of the cannabis plant during flowering should be extremely limited and done lightly. Removing fan leaves that shade health bud sites are an example of appropriate pruning. You can prune diseased, damaged, or dead plant tissue throughout the vegetative and flowering cycles.
Effective Ways to Prune Cannabis Plant
You only need one tool to effectively prune cannabis plants. A cleaned, sharpened pair of pruning shears is what is required. Ensure that the shears are sterilized before pruning. This is to prevent pathogens from directly hitching a ride on your plant. The part of the plant that is pruned may be vulnerable to infections and diseases until it heals.
For this reason, you must make use of sharp shears. This is because it helps in making cleaning, and swift snips when pruning, ensuring that the pruned part heals quickly. You are ready to effectively prune the cannabis plant once your pruning shears are sharpened and sanitized.
One of the most common techniques of pruning is trimming the central stalk of the plant. The central stalk’s tip is removed as soon as the plant reaches its desired length. This removal inhibits a tall, stingy specimen but promotes a bushy, laterally spreading plant.
Axial branches will form under the point where the central stalk is removed. These branches will grow two new limbs that will spread outwards. It is a practice also known as the topping. It is transformative because it changes the trajectory of the plant’s growth.
(2) Removing leaves and big branches:
You can create space by pruning big branches and leaves. This will promote instant airflow. The space created will also allow light to get to the plant.
Ensure that the cut is closer to the stem as possible, and make it clean too. It will become easier to direct your attention to the smaller details once you finish pruning the larger branches.
(3) Clearing space:
Another effective way to prune the cannabis plant is to clear space around the middle of the plant.
The branches that grow in the middle of the plant are less resilient than those at the top. Take time to create some space by pruning around the middle of the cannabis plant.
There is always the growth of branches or very small limbs around the lower parts of the cannabis plant. This growth tends to be atrophied. Removing the whole limbs allows the plant to focus nutrition on the buds, leaves, and upper stems. The risk of mold when growing indoors is also reduced as more air circulating in the lower parts gets to the plant.
What is most important here is that growth hormones and energy are channeled towards the buds that are most likely to thrive. This method is referred to as lollipoping or the lollipop technique. When performed, the plant takes a lollipop-like appearance – skinny and sparse foliage toward the bottom and bushy at the top.
(5) Pruning the bud sites and leaves:
Get rid of diseased-looking, brown, or yellow tissue. If you find leaves with shooting branches from their base, prune them.
Buds that are heavily shaded by the canopy branches should also be snipped. This is because the buds are in unfavorable conditions. They may have a nutrient deficiency and not have adequate access to light, making it important that you prune them.
(6) Allow time for recovery:
You must give the cannabis plant time to recover after pruning. This is because pruning stresses the plant.
Ensure that you provide adequate nourishment, light, and water in the days after pruning the plant. This will facilitate the plant’s recovery. The growth of new leaves and shoots should be noticeable within a week.
Pruning is one of the ways to grow a healthy cannabis plant and improve the yield. Ensure that you carefully perform the techniques discussed to avoid causing damage to the plant.