Expert Guide on How to Prune Marijuana Plants

Some growing techniques are so simple yet very effective. Take pruning for example. Pruning is clipping small pieces of the plant (leaves and stems) in an effort to produce a stronger and healthier plant. Properly pruned cannabis plants can boost plant growth and possibly, bud health, size, and density. If you’re not yet into this technique, we’ll show you how to prune marijuana plants properly. 

Experts say, when you prune, you are helping your plants focus on the most important things such as growing new leaves, producing more chlorophyll, and producing good quality buds. 

What is Pruning?

Pruning is simply clipping or cutting pieces of the plant off. You may use tools to prune your plants or you may simply pinch the pieces off. Pruning is quite similar to grooming or for humans, it’s just like cutting your hair. Removing tangled, splits and tired hair ends will help the remaining part to grow better and more attractive too. 

Reasons Why Growers Prune their Plants

  • To remove old leaves or diseased leaves

Old and diseased leaves may only block light from penetrating other vital plant parts. Removing these leaves will also help improve airflow towards the inner parts of the plant and this can help reduce mold and mildew as well. 

  • To improve lighting coverage

Removing old leaves and other unnecessary leaves will improve lighting coverage especially on overlooked bud sites. You can efficiently make use of strong lighting when you prune your plants first. 

  • To enhance humidity and temperature control

Overgrown plants can crowd your growing area and can dramatically affect humidity and temperature levels. Prune your plants to allow air to circulate more efficiently inside the growing area. Good air circulation can prevent the buildup of high temperatures and high humidity levels. 

  • To remove bugs, molds, and mildew

Remove leaves and plant parts greatly affected by bugs and mold as soon as you see them. Take note that if you overlook pest and mold infestation, these will end up destroying your plants and all your hard work. 

  • To improve yields

Pruning will open up potential bud sites. Some highly-specialized pruning techniques such as topping and fimming will split one bud site to make two or four sites. However, this is not for beginner growers as these techniques can be very stressful to plants. 

  • To make plants stronger

Removing leaves and stems from a part of the plant will make it stronger and able to grow better parts. 

When to Prune Cannabis Plants?

Pruning should be done during the second week of your plants’ vegetative stage. It is during this time when your plants have already developed many internodes and you can clearly picture how the plant is growing. 

If you’re cultivating indica plants, you must wait until the third week of the vegetative phase as these plants grow much slower compared to sativa strains. The vegetative period extends until the third week of the blooming stage, therefore, you may prune until it’s the second week. 

Pruned plants need time to recover. Give it a week before you prune again. It is also possible for pruned plants to stop growing or grow very slowly as they will use all their energies to recover. And because you want your plants to focus more on making larger buds, avoid pruning after the second week of the blooming phase. 

But until this crucial time, you may remove a quarter of new shoots, stems, and leaves every week. Don’t remove older leaves and stems because these parts manufacture sugars. There must be some fully-grown leaves at the bottom of your plant as these prevent light loss. These collect light that may fall to the ground. 

How to Prune Marijuana Plants Properly?

If this is your first time to prune, avoid using your hands. Use a nice pair of clean, sharp scissors. You may also use a knife or blade as long as you keep safe using these tools. You need the following things to prune your plants. 

  • Cannabis plant 
  • Scissors
  • Container for the pruned parts
  • Water 
  • Strong lamp


  1. Place the cannabis plant on a working table

If you can, place the plant on a level table so you can easily see which part you will prune. If you’re growing from the ground, move closer, and examine your plants before you start cutting. You may need to shine a light on your plants for a more efficient outcome. 

  1. Choose the parts you will remove

This is the most crucial part of pruning; which parts do you remove? Here are some tips

  • Remove leaves that look unhealthy, wilting, or discolored.
  • Remove leaves that have pests or molds. For this, you may need to take a peek at the backside of the leaves. 
  • Remove the shade leaves from the branches that were already pruned. It is okay to do this right after these branches start growing new stems and leaves. Any old leaves or yellowing leaves will soon die so getting rid of these will actually help your plants focus its energy on other plant parts. 
  • Remove very large leaves that cover smaller leaves and bud sites. This will allow light to penetrate these parts and support the growth of new buds. 

Cut straight through, without hesitation. Save the pieces in a small container. You can’t smoke young leaves and stems but parts taken from mature plants may be used as bulk plant parts. You may cut and add these to buds when making joints, teas, concentrates, and various edibles. 

  1. Water your plants immediately after pruning

Immediately right after you’re done, water your plants until you see water running out of the container holes. 

  1. Place your plants under strong a strong lamp

Right after watering, place your plants under strong lighting. Strong light will help them recover. 

Now that you know how to prune marijuana plants, expect healthy, productive plants come harvest time! Practice well and you’ll be ready to successfully grow all kinds of cannabis strains.

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