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To Trim Or Not To Trim


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From what I have read in grow books, the fan leaves are important to the development of the plant. The leaves are the main source of energy for the buds. They also act like a battery and store energy and nutrition for the plant. The plant is capable of removing important nutrients from the fan leaves to give it to the bud sites. This is the reason the fan leaves sometimes die off during heavy flowering, but the buds remain healthy looking. All the studies show that plants yield more and are more potent if the majority of the leaves are left intact.

It does not harm the plant to remove some leaves to allow more light to reach the inner buds, but should be done as sparingly as possible. According to what I have read some strains need to be thinned a little to increase the yield. Also, some sativas that are hard to grow will pull all the energy from the fan leaves early in flowering, only leaving buds on the plant.

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my plants are in the third week of flowering, should I be trimming shade leaves? I have left them alone since week 3 veg, but now theyre gettin pretty bushy.this is a 9 week flowering strain so I still have a long way to go.




If they are low on the plant and not getting good light, cut em. Up higher, just try to tuck them under lower branches if they are blocking to much light

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I would not strip the entire plant, but I have seen great results with a mild trimming.....I have also seen great results with taking all the fan leafs off....test it on one plant and see what it does.....


think of it this way...if you had leafs that were huge and covered your main buds, do you think your buds would grow the same? you are growing buds not leafs....

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Best to remove leaves that cover bud sites durring flowering. Also when leaves are past the point of use then trim them aswel. I look at a leaf and when 15% or so of the leaf looks toasted i take it off.


Their are many method;s for lead trimming.


Some will say Keep all foliage witch is good but i think can be bad aswel if you block important bud sites.

Some will say Remove all fan leaves. These fan leaves help the plant provide up. But some argue that since you grow indoor's this plant should be getting much better then Mother natures rules of life and arnt needed Removing the fan leaves will alow for more Light pen to the actual plants flowers.

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Most all trimming will be strain specific.. Some require a bit more attention than others... Once you have grown a stain a couple times you start to figure out how and when it likes to be trimmed.. Start small like some yellowing fan leaves and maybe a couple that seem to block a bud site or two and the art of trimming will teach you whether your cut is right or not so right.. Just pay close attention to the plant after it's cut and note any findings.. Most strains do not require much attention until they are well into bloom.. I have grown a couple strains though that absolutely need trimming in veg just to try and keep some order in all the bushy growth chaos!!.. When you trim ALWAYS use an extremely sharp utensil, scissors/blade that have been cleaned and sterilized for best results.. Peace, Love and Big Buds

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There is another thread pertaining to this topic. I figured I would just quote a few things that I had posted there and I'll provide a link to that thread so everyone can read it over and make thier own conclusions...


Link to thread - http://michiganmedic...flower-opinion/


Some quotes -


I'm sorry but I COMPLETELY disagree with the general concensus on this topic. It just doesn't make any sense at all!


I do not recommend removing ANY fan leaves during ANY phase of the plants growth.


Doing so only inhibits the plants growth. This is scientific fact... Not just my opinion.


Plants use different types of chlorophyll in the leaves to process photo-active light along with the nutrients and fluid absorbed through the roots to produce cellular growth. No where else on the plant are the different types of chlorophyll required to complete this process present. They can only be found in the leaves. The chlorophyll inside the stalks and calyxs are merely the cellular "building blocks" if you will. They can be considered the "structural cells". These cells make up the majority of the plants structure but do little (basically nothing) to aid in energy production and cellular growth. These cells are the cells created by the different types of chlorophyll cells in the leaves and the nutrients absorbed through the roots.


The leaves can basically be considered the "stomach" of a plant. They process the light and food to create growth. No where else on the plant does this happen. If you remove the plants ability to carry out this process, in any amount, it will inhibit the plants growth. This can easily be proved by removing ALL of the leaves from the plant. The coinciding result of this is death.


The calyxs and stalks of the plant do not process photo-active light energy. Only the leaves carry out that process. So ensuring that the "buds" get more light does absolutely nothing. That's kind of like saying, if you rip off all the leaves on a Rose bush but leave the flowers on it, the flowers will get bigger because they get more light... It simply doesn't make sense and is technically biologically impossible. Cannabis is merely an annual flower. The calyxs (flowers, buds) require the leaves and roots to create the food for the cellular growth to take place.


Also, as a plant grows, the leaves and root system grow together in unison. They support eachother in a required methodology to continue growing. If you remove any amount of the leaves the plants growth will slow as it becomes "aware" that food production has become unbalanced. What happens is simple, it grows more leaves to compensate and catch up to the root system. This reaction however, halts all the other growth as the plant focuses it's energy to create more leaves so it can regain it's ability to sustain itsself and resume normal growth. Obviously how severe this process affects the plants overall growth depends solely on how much leaf matter is removed.


I'm sorry but pruning healthy leaves off your plant just doesn't seem like a good idea when you look at the science of how a plant functions... Not to mention there is absolutely zero SCIENTIFIC evidence that removing leaves to expose "bud sites" to more light increases thier size or wieght. All the current scientific information suggests exactly the opposite...


I want to step in for a minute and just say something.


Here's the deal. You make very valid points... However, you have to remember something, and it's even more important to fully understand this when cultivating indoors than it is outdoors.


Plants are dynamically "governed" by nature. Nothing you or I do will change what a plants genetics instinctively instruct the plant to do during environmental discrepencies.


Indoor cultivation is like a "nature supplement", if you will. The only reason any of us cultivate indoors is to escape the problems or potential problems cultivating outdoors presents to us. Be it Law Enforcement, Climate changes, Locational disadvantage, whatever the case may be we all know in the absence of all those inhibiting factors we would be cultivating outdoors, under the sun, in the soil. And we all know why. Nature does it the best... We are all at the mercy of nature. To think or believe otherwise is profoundly ignorant.


My point is though, it helps to look at it that way to better understand the needs and capabilities of the plant itsself. You're trying to provide exactly what nature would provide the plant. Nothing more, nothing less. Even in hydroponic cultivation, you have to provide everything nature would provide (minus the soil, so in essence anyway it's the same). There is no way around it.


No matter how much science or theoretical "enhancements" you throw at a grow operation, you're not going to out do nature.


In fact, when you utilize the science available to us and get down to the nitty gritty, look at the plant as an organism and study how it constructs it's basic structure you start to understand how important every little aspect of that structure is to that plant.


The current scientific information available to us pertaining to photosynthesis, plant structure, and plant growth in general literally PROVES exactly the opposite through a mere basic understanding of the whole photosynthetic process...


It's simple, the more leaves you rip off before bloom or during bloom, the less overall growth the plant will be able to achieve and a reduced yield is the outcome. The more leaves the plant has on it, the more capable it is, the more overall growth it will present and the larger the yield will be...


The fact of the matter is a reduction in photosynthesis equals a reduction in growth. A reduction in growth equals a reduction in yield. How extreme the reduction in growth is obviously varies based on how much of a reduction in photosynthesis there is. This logic holds true in all photo-sensitive plant life.


Regardless of how much light is available; Regardless of all the other variables; The more leaves the plant has, the better off it is.


If the leaves aren't able to photosynthesize (for instance, if they aren't getting enough light) they will wither and die... So why not let the individual leaves decide if they are getting enough light or not?


It's really not a hard concept to grasp a hold of. Not to mention it reduces your work load per crop by not having to sift through all your plants, ripping leaves off hoping and praying for a bigger yield... You'd be better off just growing some bigger plants...


But I suppose until HARDCORE evidence is thrown in thier face, some people just won't let common sense rule this one out...


And by the way, the only TRUE way to INCREASE your yield per plant, is to grow bigger plants... Period...


When you do some pruning IT DOES impart its energy into the growth of the flower / fruit. Tomato gardeners have been doing it for decades. Mother nature ppl dont want to know what I do with syringes and plants. You would freak.

I have to disagree with you on this. There is absolutely no evidence, scientific or otherwise, that would lead anyone to believe this is true...


While very similar, tomato plants are vastly different from a cannabis plant. Comparing the two is literally worse than comparing apples to oranges.


Cannabis is NOT a fruit nor is it a vegetable. It's an 'angiospermae' annual flowering plant. It's a flower... A completely different species of plant.


I will be doing a side by side of this coming up.

Excellent. I will be looking forward to this big time!


Personally, I've already done the side by side testing on this subject. I did it many years ago when I was with the OverGrow community. Many people did. It was actually documented and proven to be a completely false theory. It's a dam shame that all the data and test results compiled on that site was destroyed, for the most part. There was by far more information on that single site than there is today on the multitude of forums and cultivation sites across the entire internet... That's probably the reason the DEA shut it down.


During my tests the plant that was pruned was always weeks behind the control plant. The pruned plant also yielded significantly less, even when left to flower longer, it still yielded less. On every single side by side test I've seen, even with varying degrees of pruning, the pruned plant always performed worse. No I don't have any data pertaining to my testing. Just like my SunPulse test, I did it for my own knowledge at the time. I wasn't into exposing myself at the time and I didn't care about anyone elses yield. Therefor I did my testing solely for my own personal gain and understanding.


Do you honestly think I would post such a strong opinion based on just a hunch? C'mon now...


I'll be looking forward to seeing your side by side test brotha! Don't let us down now! When do you think you'll be getting a start on this?


Mother nature is way over rated. Humans without a doubt can make plants better.

To a certain extent, yes. Don't get the wrong idea here. I'm not doubting Human inginuity or intelligence. It's just that, the current scientific information doesn't support your theory. Nor does the non-scientific tests already done on it. Not all plants will do what YOU want them to do.


And for the record, nature is NOT over rated... Tell that to all the Hurricane, Tornado, Earthquake and Volcano victems... dry.gif


Oh yea man, I've done multiple studies on the effects of pruning Cannabis...


My favorite test was the one I did on photosynthesis and flower production.


Here's what I did -


I took two plants out of a crop and set them up equal distance under the light. All other factors were equal; Both were clones from the same plant, container size, soil, nutrient solution, everything was pretty accurate, as accurate as it can get really... The control plant was not trimmed, pruned or trained in any way.


Both plants were left alone during vegetative phase. They both grew at the same rate and were shockingly identical.


What I did next may seem extreme but it proves a very valid point.


Next, both plants were forced into bloom phase. They were both left to begin blooming and establish an equal amount of flower production.


Around early mid-bloom phase the variable plant was then stripped of it's leaves. All of them. Even the little single bladed leaves poking out from between the flower structure. What was left was nothing but the flowers. Nice big buds on all the branches...


The control plant was left alone.


The hypothesis - find out if the flowers could or would grow on thier own without the leaves and if there was any benefit to having more light getting to the buds themselves.


The plant with the stripped leaves died within 5 days of having it's leaves stripped.


The control plant flourished and lived a fruitful life.


What this proved to me, beyond all reasonable doubt, was that no matter how much light is being cast on the plant, or how deep it penetrates to the lower leaves the flowers (buds) themselves do not use the light to grow. Based on this result one could also conclude that a reduction in leaves, in any amount, will have this same affect, but will vary in severity.


My next test after that one was completely identical. Except on the variable plant, instead of ripping ALL the leaves off, I only ripped off half of them. I literally counted every single leaf and divided it in half.


The result - The control plant flourished. The variable plants growth was severely stunted offsetting it weeks behind the control plant and the overall yield when it was finished was sadly reduced. I don't recall the actual numbers of the yields but I do remember it was very poor...


Now I also did a number of tests with pruning during the vegetative phase.


All my results during those tests were the same with varying severity. All the variable plants had a reduction in growth rate and a reduction in overall yield.


This is why my opinion is so strongly set on leaving all the leaves on the plant. The plant will grow into it's environment, regardless of the amount of light it's given. If it can't continue to grow because there is a lack of light, the portions of the plant that are too far from the light or blocked from the light, simply won't... If a leaf isn't able to photosynthesize, it will wither, die, and fall off. Therein is how the plant will "plateau" based on it's environment.


The more logical methodology to maximizing your environmental capabilities is by bending and training the plant so you can get more of the plant itsself closer to the effective range of the light. You don't need to remove leaves to expose more of the plant to light or anything of the kind. Doing so only inhibits the growth of the plant. It's basically a counterproductive situation.

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I remove the very bottom leaves (sucker Leaves) but as far as removing alot or all the fan leaves forget about that the fan leaves are almost like solor panels for the plant, if u have leaves covering bud sites try to Tuck them under and avoid cutting if u can, and a damaged leave dont cut it till its 50% Gone

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