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Pruning During Veg

The Mayor

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Can anyone point me to a good video or article on how to properly prune your plant (or offer an explanation if you are so kind) during the veg stage. I've only been cutting off dead growth and larger leaves that shade growth underneath while doing an LST method of tying down the branches. My plants have gotten pretty bushy with lots of leaves. I'm just not sure how much to trim off, and how much to leave. I want to get them into flowering in the next week, so I thought I would try and do this now so there was a little bit of recovery time prior to the change. Thanks!

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About trimming off excess leaves: there's been an interesting discussion on icmag the past few weeks about this (https://www.icmag.com/ic/showthread.php?t=174163). The grower starts the thread like this:


This subject is bound to raise a lot of disagreement. Please relate experience and photos.


Lets start by defining "defoliation" in the context of this technique. The term has negative connotations as Cannabis has been the target of defoliation by the Feds using Paraquat chemical defoliants. This is not what this is about.


This technique is about leaf removal by hand. It is employed to relieve shading in crowded conditions. It is a substitute to the popular technique of removing lower branches.


Defoliation encourages branching in vegging plants in the same way as nipping the leader. The benefit of this technique is that the leader is retained to continue to create branches. It also shortens nodal length creating a more compact specimen.


This is how the following plants are capable of yielding as much as 12 oz. in an allotted space measuring 32" cubed.


Leaves are removed starting in veg stage when they are about 6" tall with a couple of sets of fans. Leaves are removed again every 2-3 weeks or whenever things get a little shady.


3 decades of experience with this technique reveal that bud growth benefits more from light exposure than whether the corresponding fan leaf is present.


The idea with this method is to not remove any bud sites like in the aforementioned technique of lower branch removal. Bud sites produce bud. Do not remove. This method allows light to penetrate to all bud sites, not just the top buds.


This technique should not be done on plants that have not been prepared by defoliation from the beginning.



Observers will be shocked at the nakedness of a fully plucked skeleton of a barely flowering shrub. They will be even more shocked at the results after a few weeks. These results will debunk any insistence that big shading leaves are necessary for good bud production. Besides are we producing buds or leaf.

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I would never recommend trimming off ANY leaves or branches. Doing so inhibits the plants normal growth rate because the loss of leaves forces the plant to use nutrients and energy to create more leaves. Clipping or yanking leaves off will stress the plant. Think of it this way, the leaves are like the "food factories" for the new growth that is coming in. The leaves act kind of like a stomach, they "digest" the light and make energy with it for the new growth. If you remove the source of food it will struggle to make more leaves and new growth.


"3 decades of experience with this technique reveal that bud growth benefits more from light exposure than whether the corresponding fan leaf is present. "


I would LOVE to see the scientific results for this because according to everything I've learned in Botany, this is so far from the truth it could be considered a blatant lie. With 30yrs of experience you not once decided to pick up a basic botany class or book and look at scientific information? Man you could have saved yourself a LONG time of useless leaf picking... laugh.gif


Do some REAL tests. Try that outdoors under the sun and see what happens. I bet your leaf-less plants won't produce nearly as much as you wished they would have... LOL


"This technique should not be done on plants that have not been prepared by defoliation from the beginning."

Really? Hmmm... Why is that? Lets think about that for a minute... I'm thinkinnng... I'm thinkinnnng... Nope, I don't get it. Please elaborate. laugh.gif


"Besides are we producing buds or leaf."

Well, when the leaves contribute at LEAST 50% in the development and actual growth of said buds, then I do believe that is a trick question! Or was it a statement? I cannot tell with the improper punctuation.


Listen, cannabis is nothing more than an annual flower. It's a plant that grows via photosynthesis. It makes its energy in the leaves. Remove that aspect from the equation and you find yourself in a sorry situation.


I do not recommend "pruning" of any sort.


Best of luck! biggrin.gif

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Bang! Yep, that's pretty much how that pruning discussion progressed, THC Farmer. Lots of energy and enthusiasm on both sides. Personally, I very rarely trim off healthy leaves, only if they are in the way and blocking light from something underneath that's trying to grow. The guy I referenced above does have plenty of photos of the process, but that's not enough to change anybody's mind who would rather see real science (that includes me).


It seems clear that cutting off a bunch of leaves would reduce the potential energy a plant has to grow, but maybe that's only true if:


  • The 'bottleneck' or limitation to plant growth is photosynthesis, the rate of absorption of light. Maybe there are other bottlenecks, such as nutrient availability, plant hormones, the plant's 'desire' to grow larger, etc.

  • There aren't other unintended or unforeseen consequences to removing a bunch of leaves -- something like the plant responding to the stress like this: "holy $#|+! I lost my leaves! I better start growing like crazy to catch up again! Good think I still have a healthy root and stem system and lots of nutes". Yes, I just made all that up.

I'm definitely not recommending that people go out and cut off all the leaves on their poor plants, but maybe it's a more complicated issue that we shouldn't just dismiss with "Hey, the plant grew that leaf for a reason -- leave it there."

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