Today, we’ll be talking about how to trim your weed. We’ll learn about why you should be trimming weed when you should trim it, and then go through the step-by-step process of how to trim your cannabis.
To put it simply, trimming or manicuring is the process of removing all the leaves and other plant materials from the flower.
This article will answer the why, where and how to around trimming your buds. By the end, you will have a solid understanding of what you need to do to your plant to create wonderful buds.
Guide to Trimming Weed
Some of the terms may be new, but they aren’t complex or scientific. For example, we’ll learn about when to remove sugar and fan leaves from the cannabis plant. Fan leaves are the big primary leaves that supply the majority of energy needs of the plant through photosynthesis.
These contain almost no THC or CBD. Sugar leaves are the ones on the cola of the weed, or those directly around the bud. These contain minimal amounts of THC and are almost always removed from dry flower, but they are used for separate extraction purposes. The term cola will also be used, which describes the tightly-packed clusters of bud.
Why is Trimming Cannabis Important?
There are three primary reasons to trim your week: the appearance, experience of smoking, and potency. Weed looks better when trimmed well; excess foliage takes away from the appearance of the buds. The sugar leaves which are removed also contain low amounts of THC and CBD.
These leaves also contain more plant material like chlorophyll that increases the acidity of the smoking experience. A smoother smoke can be accomplished by removing much of these leaves.
The minimal amounts of THC in these leaves are often unwanted in dried flower as they reduce the potency. This will reduce the overall weight of your final product, but you get a better-looking product with higher potency and smoother smoking experience. That said, these trimmings can also be collected and extraction can be used to separately make use of the THC they contain.
Fan leaves can also be used for juicing to make healthy smoothies. Ensure that the leaves are free of contaminants, and as the grower, you should be well aware of what you have or have not sprayed on the leaves and plants. This is critically essential.
When Should You Be Trimming Your Weed?
In terms of curing cannabis, properly trimming weed ensures that the bud can ‘breath’ better, leading to better curing and better smoking experience. Trimming weed can begin prior to harvest. In the days leading up to harvest time (link to previous), removing large fan leaves can begin or even be completed entirely.
There are two major schools of thought around the timing of trimming. We are not talking about pruning steps that occur during growing and flowering, but the trimming that occurs around harvest time. Some of this trimming begins before harvest day, including the removal of some or all of the fan leaves.
On the day of harvest, you can decide to perform a wet trim and then perform the drying and curing process on the full manicured bud. The alternative is doing some minor manicuring, including the larger sugar leaves, and then drying the bud. Once dried, then the trimming of the rest of the sugar leaves can take place. What we just described are wet trimming and dry trimming, respectively.
Major Decisions Around Trimming Weed
There are two major choices to make when it comes to trimming weed. We will first discuss hand trimming versus machine trimming. After that, we’ll discuss wet trimming compared to dry trimming. Once you understand the differences, you can make the right choice for your goals.
Hand Trimming Versus Machine Trimming
To do it by hand or purchase a machine to do the job. It depends on the scale of the grow operation. It depends on how much time you are willing to spend on trimming your bud. It also depends on your physical capabilities to perform the hours of needed trimming.
Machine trimming requires equipment, which can range in price depending on the size and complexity. Machines are likely only to be used for larger operations. Some hand-powered machines or DIY versions of trimming machines may be adequate, depending on the needs of the grower.
Wet Trimming Versus Dry Trimming
Whether you trim the bud when it is still fresh, or wet, or after it has been dried and before curing. Fan leaves are removed at the time of harvest or before that. But when we remove the sugar leaves is the major difference between wet and dry trimming.
Wet trimming weed involves manicuring the weed on the day of harvest, before entering the drying room. This goes beyond removing the fan leaves and other plant material, including removing sugar leaves. Wet trimming usually results in a faster drying process, and is said to be easier due to foliage still being soft. Dry trimming refers to the time when you remove the sugar leaves after the bud has been dried. Minimal removal of leaves will occur beyond the larger fan leaves, with the entire cola left in the drying room.
Should you Do a Wet or Dry Trim?
A wet trim is valuable for those who are concerned about mold, have higher levels of humidity (above 60% RH). If you have lots of buds in a small space, wet trimming can be beneficial. It also helps buds dry more quickly.
Dry trimming is for you if you’re less concerned about mold and have a lower level of humidity (below 45% RH). It also aligns better with those who want their buds to dry more slowly, and to result in more dense buds. Dry trimming is also good for those less concerned about the color of your bud, as the process reduces some of your bud’s colors.
The Trimming Room and General Tips
Pick a comfortable and well-ventilated room to perform your trimming. Ventilation can ensure you can breathe clearly and that the smell is better managed. Some growers use hood fans to collect the air; others use fans to get the air circulating. If you want to reduce the scent, using a carbon or HEPA filter can be incorporated.
Ensure the chair that you will work on is comfortable for long periods. It is worth investing in a proper seat so that you can handle the long hours of work needed without developing physical pain problems.
Try to get up frequently, every hour or so. Also, spend time looking up and at the most distant spot away from you. If possible, get up and outside for some fresh air and to get your blood flowing. And you may want to do some stretching, look up stretches online for how to do so.
The room should be well lit and contain what entertainment you need to get through the hours of trimming. TV, music, audiobooks, or podcasts can help fill the void during those potentially long hours. It is vital to keep your mental health intact through this process, so ensure you have what you need to stay entertained.
The optimal trimming room contains a relative humidity of 45-50%, although this may be tougher to accomplish for the average home grower. The point of this humidity level is to ensure buds stay supple for a more extended period. Temperatures in the room should be kept around 21°C.