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Pruning Cannabis Complete Guide for Growers

The essential definition of pruning cannabis is simply cutting parts of the plant. Growing cannabis doesn’t necessarily mean that you just have to directly plant them onto the soil and wait for them to flower. There are certain things you must do to enhance the overall quality of the plant, one of them is pruning. What is pruning? What does it necessarily do? We’ll find out in a few.

When you want to achieve a desirable outcome, pruning is one of the key things to achieve that goal. In general, pruning is cutting parts of the plant to make way for new leaves to grow. In this article, we’ll be talking about the basics of pruning cannabis and how pruning does to the plant that makes it highly-recommended when growing cannabis. Without further ado, let’s start!

What is Pruning?

To put it simply, pruning is cutting excess parts of the plants – this can also be called grooming. Pruning is cutting old leaves and other branches to make way for new branches to be exposed in sunlight and air, pruning dead and yellow leaves is an essential part to keep your cannabis plants healthy. Not only that, but the pruning also gives the plant to breathe peacefully without restrictions, because the conditions aren’t too tight or confining for them.

Cutting parts of the plant means they are more focused on the essentials of new leaves and buds. One of the best parts about pruning is it initiates the way for fresh leaves, buds, and branches to shoot out of the plant. Thus, each day of pruning leaves the possibility of new buds and leaves to appear.

However, pruning isn’t necessary, rather it is the choice most growers intend to do. It is because pruning requires sufficient knowledge of what parts of the plant to cut. If you don’t know what parts to cut, you are doing more harm than good to your plants. That’s why pruning isn’t advisable for first-time growers, instead of helping the plant grow leaves, you’ll only be causing damage to the entire plant. It is even okay if you just leave them be, nothing will happen to them and they will just grow naturally. Pruning is just a method growers use to have the best possible yield they could have.

When is the Appropriate Time to Prune Marijuana?

Aside from pruning, it is very important to know when is the right time to prune. In general, the ideal time to prune cannabis is when the plants grow thicker and bushier. This time is usually within the 2 to 3 weeks of the growing phase of the plant. Sativa dominant plants tend to grow rapidly and get bushier faster compared to Indica dominant ones, so you might have to wait a little longer for your plants if they are of Indica genes.

It is important to note that it should be avoided when pruning cannabis plants during their flowering phase, this is because you will be stressing them out, even more, not pruning them will allow them to heal at a faster rate.

Pruning Cannabis Guide

Aside from cutting dead leaves and yellowish ones, it is essential to know which parts of the plant needs cutting. One of your primary goals when pruning cannabis is to provide adequate airflow to circulate inside the plant and let other areas of the buds be exposed to sunlight. 

By this, the first goal is to cut the stems and branches on the lower part of the plant, this part of the plant receives an ample amount of light and must be cut. Even new shoots can be pruned to let them grow new stalks.

When pruning, be sure to have the best possible tools when cutting, such as sharp scissors or blade, be sure to have them as sharp as possible to have a clean cut. Cleaner cuts heal faster. Before cutting, sanitize your tools to avoid offering toxicities

The next step is removing the biggest branches visible. This might look like you are wasting potential leaves but this is entirely detrimental for your plant. The harvest you will have is far greater than the ones you cut. Just get rid of these branches and make sure it is cut cleanly.

Then, the next part where it needs cutting is in the middle part. Branches on them middle part must go. They are not as powerful when compared to the top branches, so it would be wise to just get rid of them. Also, branches in the middle part have an inadequate amount of sunlight exposure, so cutting them is the ideal thing to do.

When you have cut all the unnecessary branches, the next part you’ll be targeting is dead and rotting leaves. In doing so, you can try the technique which is called topping. The idea of topping is cutting shoots at the top. Cutting these shoots will help them develop extra shoots and wigs in the process. To have minimal damage, try cutting down the newest shoots possible. When plants are severely damaged, they tend to focus more on healing rather than growing.

Another technique used in pruning is called fimming. Fimming is the method used when you try to cut two-thirds of the newest shoots. Fimming might cause damage to the plant but the cutting is easily recoverable from within a few days, after the cut, another shoot can grow up to 2 to 4 new shoots. Thus, making the method highly-efficient when trying to produce more leaves. It may not grow as tall as you would’ve liked, but they’ll get wider and bushier over the course.

Through these steps and methods, you are more likely to enjoy a great yield with high-quality buds. Training your plants to grow with pruning comes in handy. With the use of efficient lights, you are sure to get the most out of your cannabis plants. Also, it is highly advisable not to cut down big fan leaves, as they are essential in producing sugar, which is entirely good for growing. However, one thing to keep in mind is that cannabis pruning causes damage and harm to your plants. So, it would be ideal to only cut healthy plants in the process.

What Happens After a Cannabis Plant is Pruned?

After pruning your cannabis plants, it is important to sprinkle water on them to reduce the trauma caused. Pairing water with other nutrients is the key ingredient to help your plants recover 

quickly. Plus, your plants may need a few days or weeks to recover from the pruning. When your cannabis plants are still recovering, keep them under your care and monitor them until they grow leaves and shoots again. Make sure they get enough light during this process and the pruning will reward you with fresh new shoots and leaves.

Are Pruned Leaves Good for Smoking?

Nope. These parts of a cannabis plant aren’t ideal for smoking as they contain low to no levels of THC. when smoking cannabis leaves, you need to hit and get high, and these pruned leaves just don’t cut it. You’ll have to grow them until they are ready for harvest to enjoy a hard-hitting high.  

Reminders When Pruning Cannabis

Here are some of the tips and before and after cannabis pruning. Remember to keep this in mind whenever you decide to cut those pieces off.

Never use dull scissors, corroded razors, or even bare hands when pruning. You will only harm your plants and cause additional damage in the process. If you are unsure about areas where to cut, refer above.

Even if it’s not your schedule to prune when you see dead, yellow, and rotting leaves, cut them, as they aren’t valuable parts of the plant anymore. Whatever stage your marijuana is going through, a yellow leaf must be taken care of right away.

Every once in a while, check your plants after they are pruned and observe the damage. You wouldn’t want them to check a few weeks later and witness that every one of them has withered. If possible, try monitoring them twice a day to make sure that everything is perfectly fine.

And lastly, once your cannabis plants start to flower, don’t ever prune again, or else you’ll only cause to get shocked and stressed, and may lead to withering. Aside from knowing when to start pruning, it is important also to know when to stop.


If you want to have a successful yield, you may want to learn the basics of cannabis pruning. Cannabis pruning is the best way to groom your cannabis plants and expect high-quality buds and yields in the process. Plus, it helps your plants retain their overall appearance and make them healthier as new shoots and leaves sprouts anew.

Lastly, cannabis growing, in general, takes up the bulk of your time, cannabis pruning is just one of those that will help you elevate your product. Besides, investing in your plants is a sure-fire thing as they will reward you with a smile on your face over the process. Happy pruning!

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