Defoliation is the process of removing leaves that are not actively capturing light, that are taking space, and that are demanding energy that your plant could be sending to your buds. The fewer points demanding energy, the greater the amount of energy that can be delivered to flowers – we want to maximize energy and nutrients to our ultimate product and defoliating helps that. Let’s take a look at how to defoliate during Flowering. As a note, each strain has its own structure and some varieties do not actually need to be defoliated so keep that in mind if you’re already growing a thin plant.
Flowering defoliation is usually a little more dramatic than Vegetative defoliation but in order for us to defoliate correctly during Flowering, we first should cut away any growth tips, small leaves, or parts of the plant that aren’t getting light before we enter Flowering – right before. If you want to get the best results, you can try “lollipopping” your plants, which means to remove all the leaves below the point the light reaches – the name “lollipop” comes from the fact that your buds look like they are candy on sticks when you’re finished pruning. You can also prune away leaves higher up on the plant too and have the growth focused solely on the buds – the technique is a little more advanced because you might remove some bud sites along the way so be careful not to damage those bud sites. Look carefully at where you’re going to prune and look for signs of bud sites and then remove the stems slightly above that point. You can either pinch or cut off smaller growths, whichever you feel most comfortable doing.
So there are three different times we recommend defoliating during Flower:
- Right before you switch to 12/12
- Once between the beginning of Flower and the 3-week mark
- 3 weeks after beginning flower is the last time you’ll want to defoliate
After 3 weeks you will also want to remove leaves that cover buds and bud sites but other than that you should avoid defoliating any further. Your plants should be ready in about 7 weeks!
Happy growing! We hope this mini-article helped!