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How To Prune Cannabis: A Before and After Pruning Guide

By Last updated on May 9, 2024Last updated on May 9, 2024No Comments

Pruning cannabis helps the plant look better, increases productivity, and promotes growth. The process involves selectively trimming back foliage to encourage new branches and buds to grow. However, too much pruning can damage the plant and, if done incorrectly, can inhibit proper growth. 

Pruning is an essential skill that must be done with precision and care to grow a healthy cannabis plant successfully. Thus, you should know how to correctly prune your cannabis plant to stay on the safe side.

With the proper knowledge, you can quickly master the technique. Don’t know how to get started? Here is an easy step-by-side guide to help you prune your cannabis plant the right way:

What You Will Need

What You Will Need

When pruning cannabis plants, you need a few essential items to ensure successful results:

1. Pruning Shears or Scissors

Pruning shears are special pruning tools with curved blades. Their unique design prevents the blades from scraping or damaging delicate cannabis plants. These shears have sharp blades that can finish the job quickly and efficiently while allowing you to keep the plant’s neat and tidy appearance. 

2. Pruning Saw

Another item you will need is a pruning saw. It is ideal for pruning large branches on your cannabis plant. A pruning saw has a fine-toothed blade, which can easily cut through branches without damaging or leaving jagged edges. 

3. An Organic Material

Finally, you will need some type of organic material to help protect the cut area from disease or rot. This can be straw, pine needles, shredded paper, or even old clothes or bedding. These materials will keep the wound area clean, help it heal faster, and reduce the chances of disease or rot. 

When To Prune Cannabis 

Cannabis pruning should be done when the plant is actively growing and has fully-developed branches and buds. This usually happens at the end of the vegetative stage, when the plant has stopped growing taller and starts to form buds.

Pruning Techniques 

Now that you have all the essential items to prune your cannabis plants successfully, it’s time to get started! Some most popular pruning techniques include the following:

1. Topping 

Topping has been a popular cannabis pruning strategy since the 1990s. It involves cutting off the main central stalk at the point where it forks. This stimulates the growth of side branches and often produces more buds. The pruned portion then gets replaced with two new shoots, creating a bushy, triangle-shaped profile with multiple tops. 

Topped plants tend to be shorter and bushier than untrimmed varieties, which makes them excellent for indoor growth. 

2. Filming 

Filming pruning is a technique cannabis growers use to promote healthy, productive plant growth. It involves cutting the large, fanning leaves of the cannabis plant to redirect the light and water it receives. This encourages large fans to develop in the upper part of the plant, while the lower branches are encouraged to receive more light and water. 

Ensure to trim the main branches of the cannabis plant to a height 10-20% shorter than the rest of the plant to create an even canopy. Also, prune off the leaves correctly and remove any weak or dead limbs.

Filming results in improved photosynthesis, increased water and light penetration, and better branching. It can also reduce the plant’s overall size while promoting healthier growth and bud production. The best time to do filming is in late spring and summer when the light levels are at their highest. If done correctly, it can result in a double yield per season.

3. Low-Stress Training (LST) 

The LST pruning technique forces plants to grow into a particular shape or structure. Generally, it involves bending and tying branches of the plant down to create different patterns and shapes or a denser canopy. It encourages even growth and helps increase light exposure and the production of flowers. 

You can use LST on almost any strain of cannabis. Simply take a branch and gently bend it down so that it is parallel to the soil. Then, bind the branch with plant ties or any other material that is strong enough to keep the branch in place. This will cause the stem to stay bent and force the plant to grow in a specific shape. 

4. Defoliation 

Defoliation is the selective removal of fan leaves from the cannabis plant. This helps give the plant more access to light and reduces the amount of moisture trapped in the leaves, which could cause mold or fungus. 

Remember only to do defoliation after the cannabis plant has gone through the vegetative stage and developed bud sites. Also, don’t remove too much foliage; it can shock the plant and stunt its growth. Instead, focus on the selective trimming of fan leaves alongside top growth.

After-Pruning Tips

The pruning process doesn’t end when you’re done with the cutting. Instead, you must take care of the cannabis plant after the pruning and give it some extra love and affection. Here are 5 effective after-pruning tips to ensure your plant remains healthy and in its best shape:

  1. Cleanup. Once your pruning is complete, clearing away any leaves, stems, and branches from around the plant is essential. This ensures that all remaining growth is unrestricted and healthy.
  2. Check for Deficiencies. Check for any deficiencies or diseases your cannabis plant may have, such as nutrient deficiencies and pest infestations. These deficiencies can cause your plant to become unhealthy and stunt its growth.
  3. Clean Your Tools. To avoid transferring diseases or pests from one plant to another, ensure to wipe down your pruning tools after each use. This will also help protect your plant from any potential contamination.
  4. Water Your Plant. Water your plant thoroughly to help it heal after it has been pruned to help the plant recover faster.
  5. Increase Ventilation. After pruning, the airflow around your plant is reduced. So, it’s important to ensure enough ventilation to help the plant recover quickly.

Keep monitoring your plant closely in the coming days to ensure it is healthy and recovering as expected. These simple tips will help keep your plant healthy and thriving after pruning. With regular pruning, you can maintain a healthy, productive, and attractive cannabis plant for a long time!

The Sanctuary Editorial Team

Our writers use a combination of research and personal experiences to eloquently tackle these topics. The research process utilizes multiple levels of information. We reference informal channels for details relating to casual topics such as describing slang or how to create a bong out of fruit. We also examine scientific publishings for up-to-date research. The accuracy of our articles is crucially important to us and they are written with the idea of inclusiveness for readers of all walks of life.