In this series, we cover the topic of Defoliating Cannabis Plants. If you are new to growing marijuana, this series will get you caught up to speed on why you should trim your plant, when’s the best time to trim your plant, and how to properly do so.
Defoliation is the task of Removing Excessive leaf material from the plant
As we explained in Part 1, defoliation is the removal of fan leaves and excess vegetative growth. The purpose is two-fold: First, we want to remove fan leaves that block light and air flower. Second, we want to remove excessive plant material that will not yield premium bud, but will again only block air flow and cause problems.
In Part 2, we explained that you should defoliate both in veg and in flower. First, you would perform a light defoliation after topping, but prior to switching your light cycle to 12/12. Once you are in the flowering stage, you will want to continue the defoliation.
Defoliating your plants during the early stages of flowering
We advise performing heavy defoliations twice during the flowering period. After the first or second week of flower, you perform a heavy defoliation. And then again two weeks later, you perform the final defoliation.
We have found that these two events are sufficient to get you successfully through flower. By sticking to only two events, you make efficient use of your time. However, you are free to perform lighter defoliations more frequently. You just have to see what works best for you.
Now that we’ve explained the why and the when, let’s move on to discussing the how-to.
Defoliate your Plants like a Pro
In the video, Kyle explains what they do during the first defoliation of the flowering stage. And that first touch involves what he calls Lollipopping.
The First Touch after Veg: “Lollipopping”
The Lollipopping method of trimming your plant refers to creating the shape of a lollipop. Imagine what that looks like: something big on top, and bare down below. A tree has a similar shape. A trunk at the bottom, and then a collage of branches and leaves up top, giving it a beautiful round shape from a distance.
When pruning cannabis plants, we are aiming for a similar visual representation as the tree top or lollipop. To achieve this, follow the steps below.
Our Guide to “Lollipopping” your marijuana plant
First, start at the bottom of your plant. Since you are in Week 2 of flower, you should have a very bushy plant that has gone through a growth spurt. The growth spurt is part of the post-vegetative stretch that occurs during the initial weeks of the 12/12 light cycle.
You should also be using trellis netting. If you follow our trellis guidelines, you should have stretched two layers of trellis above your plants prior to switching the light cycle.
Now that you are going through the post-veg stretch, your plants have grown through the first layer of trellis and are poking through into the second layer.
Remove all foliage below the first layer of trellis netting
You will want to completely remove everything below the first layer of trellis. Yes, everything, including flowering sites.
You may be cringing, thinking you are throwing away potential bud. But the truth is that your plant will continue to grow tall, and the top of the plant will get the most light. Therefore, the bud sites further up will be the ones that grow.
The bud sites at the bottom will not yield good bud, but only larf material. The larfy material will not be dense herb, and in fact can actually lead to problems by obstructing airflow.
Therefore, you should completely remove all fan leaves, bud sites, and literally everything that is below your first layer of trellis.
Remove all fan leaves below the second layer of trellis.
Next, you will want to go in and remove all the large fan leaves. This removal of fan leaves is what we refer to as “defoliation.” You will want to continue this defoliation during your “second touch,” which will occur two weeks after your first touch.
The objective here is to remove all the large leaves that are sucking energy from the plant, obstructing air flow, and blocking light from penetrating deeper below the canopy.
After you have defoliated and lollipopped your plant, she will look naked. Maybe even a little sad. That’s okay and to be expected. After all, you just put a heavy hand of scissors and razors to her. She’s been beat up!
But your plant will recover from the stress of the defoliation. In fact, she will rebound even stronger! Don’t be surprised when you come back and see her all bushy again!
During your next defoliation, you will repeat the process. And then you will coast during the second half of flower, having already performed the hard work.
Now that you know and understand the importance of defoliating your weed plant, you will achieve even great yields and quality of bud when you harvest.