We are now in Week 4 of the flowering stage. Here are the new developments we will dive into:
- Continued growth and stretching
- Further development of pre-flower bud sites
- Concluding the training period as stalks firm up
In this episode of A Week-by-Week Guide to Flowering Cannabis Indoors, Travis is back to walk us through these observations during the fourth week of the flowering period. Things are getting real exciting now that these plants are starting to mature.
Changes from Week 3 to Week 4: Continued Growth and Further Development of Bud Sites
If you watched the video, then you can see how exciting the fourth week can be. It is at this stage that you truly start to see the plants mature and begin blooming.
While Week 3 showed the emergence of the pre-flower bud sites, it is in Week 4 that you truly see these sites begin to form flowers. Which is exciting!
Up until this point, the plants look like they’re still in veg, just a little taller and thicker. But in Week 4, you finally get that feeling that things are going well. You really get to see the flowering period unfold. Which means you are on the right track!
Week 4 represents the peak of bushy overgrowth
At this stage, you are witnessing the peak of the bushy overgrowth. As you can see in the video, plants in Week 4 are in need of heavy defoliation.
At Smokey Okies Cannabis, we perform a heavy defoliation at the end of Week 2, and the end of Week 4. You could switch that up to Week 3 and 5, or Weeks 1, 2, and 4, etc. There is not one correct way.
However, given the stressful nature of ripping leaves and foliage off a plant, we have arrived at a Standard Operating Procedure that works for us. And that is limiting defoliation to two events during the flowering period.
We space our pruning events with two-week intervals to provide adequate recovery. And when we do go in to chop, we perform an ultra heavy, non-discriminating hand, stripping away as much as possible.
Why you should Defoliate in Week 4
There are several objections we seek to accomplish by defoliating our plants in Week 4:
- Allow light penetration below the top layer of cannabis
- Remove foliage that will never amount to anything, but takes up space
- Increase air-flow beneath the canopy
- Prevent environments that can promote mold or pests
The main benefit by achieving those first two items is a direct increase in our yield. Because if the top colas can absorb more light without interference from fan leaves, we get fatter colas. If the branches under the top layer of trellis get more light, we get more yield overall.
And the latter two bullet points support overall plant health, which is obviously important for both yield and quality.
How to Defoliate in Week 4
The best practice is to completely remove everything beneath the first layer of trellis. Even if it is a bud site that is flowering, get rid of it. These puny tiny branches will never yield anything worth actually trimming, drying and curing. In fact, they will waste your time and only create more trouble for you.
So rule #1 is to remove everything below the first layer of trellis.
Now, for the branches that are between the first and second layers, you want to keep the branches that are poking all the way through to the top. And you want to keep all bud sites that are flowering and capable of becoming something worthy if given enough light.
So make room for more light. Remove all the fan leaves on every branch between these two layers. Leave only the bud sites and colas that are forming. You will see that as light is allowed to penetrate down to these branches, the colas will perk up and start growing vertically.
The End of the Post-Vegetative Stretching and Training
Week 4 concludes the end of the post-veg stretch, which means that you are done training these plants. Further, as you can see, the stalks and branches are firming up and becoming stiffer. In next week’s video, you’ll see that by Week 5 the stalks are completely firm, incapable of being bent or manipulated.
But that is okay because you’ve already done the hard work.
The reason Week 4 is so exciting is because it marks the end of an era and the start of a new one. Your plants are done rebounding to the 12/12 light cycle and growing like a teenage in puberty.
It is at this stage that your plants are beginning to bloom, revealing their true intentions for the remainder of this 12/12 light cycle.
And for you, the grower, the nice thing to know is that all the labor is done. You’ve already trained the plants, coming in and weaving through the trellis, monitoring their growth patterns. You’ve already preformed a couple heavy defoliations.
It is at this point you are ready to coast through the second half of flower. Now the real fun begins!
Let’s move along and check out Week 5.