Pruning Cannabis: If, Why & How

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We all dream of giant, sticky nugs. It’s the really big buds that capture a person’s attention. Some strains have bigger buds than others, but you can maximize your growth to favor big buds regardless of genetics. With a little bit of forethought, you will be able to maximize your growth with a few snips of your shears. Read on.
The Canadian government, in its wisdom, has placed a limit on the height of your home grown cannabis. The maximum height is one meter. The government is trying to limit the cannabis you grow at home so it can collect taxes from legitimate and legal cannabis suppliers. However, trimming your plants (“topping” your plants) results in an increase in the size of your buds as a whole, given time.
By topping your plants at one meter, you’re taking a hit in growth for a day or two while your plants heal. After they’ve healed, though, you’ll notice that your buds have begun to grow in a fashion that is noticeable on a daily basis. This is because topping your plants stops your plants from expending energy growing height to reach the light source.
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You would normally top your plants in the sixth or seventh week. This allows for two or three weeks of outward growth, including growth of your buds. You’ll notice that your nugs have become sticky with oils – the good stuff.
The point you top your plants at should be about a centimeter from the highest limb bifurcation. You want to take off the topmost bud. Feel free to dry and smoke this bud. It won’t be as potent as you would get from a fully matured plant, but the taste and aroma is a nice refreshing change. You’ll also notice that you cough less as well.
If you have branches of leaves that are over the one meter limit, you’ll have to trim those limbs as well. No part of the plant may exceed one meter. The one centimeter rule applies to limbs as well: take the limb off with a centimeter of space between the limb and the main stalk.
If you’ve reached the eight to ten week life cycle of the cannabis plant, your buds are as potent and large enough as they’ll get. You don’t want to delay harvest too long, as your buds will keep growing but they discard the essential oils that are carried in the buds. In short, wait too long and you’ll lose potency. The easiest way to ascertain if your plant is ready for harvest is to pinch a bud. If it is dry and bounces back, wait a week before harvesting. If you pinch a bud and it stays pinched, your plant is ready for harvest.

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