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An Introduction To Pruning Marijuana


Why You Need To Prune Marijuana Plants

Before you start snipping away, you need to know why pruning marijuana plants is important and how your precious plants will benefit. 

When you prune your plant, you’re allowing it to give all its energy to the buds and remaining leaves while increasing airflow through the branches. This not only decreases the chance of mold but also gives your buds and leaves enough light exposure. All these benefits result in happy, healthy, denser, and cannabinoid-rich marijuana buds. 

This subject can divide growers with some saying pruning marijuana is an unnecessary practice. We recommend growers grab the pruning shears, carefully, and snip away to increase yields and make the plants easier to deal with.

What You Need To Know Before Pruning Marijuana

This guide aims to make the pruning process less intimidating but it’s important to know it’s not without its risks. Below are some tips to keep in mind when starting your pruning journey. It will help you avoid the risks associated with pruning and encourage healthy growth after pruning.


Tip 1

Not all strains are created equal. Indica cannabis tends to grow slower than Sativa’s so be sure to wait a week or two longer before pruning your Indica’s. 

Tip 2

Don’t pull or tear leaves and branches from their stems. The point is to stop certain parts from growing without adding stress to the plant or damaging any stems. 

Tip 3

Don’t forget to water your plant straight after pruning and remember to add the right plant food. This reduces the shock of pruning and encourages healthy growth.

Tip 4

Don’t overdo it. First-time pruners may get scissor-happy and take things too far. Keep in mind that the goal of pruning marijuana plants is to encourage growth and healthy buds, not inhibit them. Less is more and if you’re in doubt, rather leave the branch or leaf than risk a smaller yield.

A 6-Step Marijuana Pruning Guide

Step 1: Check and Clean Your Equipment

Ensure your equipment is sharp to make clean snips. Some growers have two clippers handy, one to snip small branches land leaves and another to snip thicker branches. It’s very important to clean your equipment before pruning marijuana plants. Take some rubbing alcohol and clean the blades to prevent infection and spreading of plant disease.


Step 2: Let The Light Shine Through

Start by removing branches at the bottom of your plant. These will never receive enough sunlight to fully develop and will continue needing energy and nutrients from the plant if not removed. Once those are taken care of you can continue upwards and remove any other middle branches that won’t receive light.

Step 3: Work Your Way To The Top

After you’ve removed the branches, it’s time to turn to the leaves. Take a smaller, clean scissor/shear and take a good look at the leaves of your plant. If leaves are yellowing, have brown tips, looked withered, or have been eaten it’s best to snip those. This stops the plant from spending precious energy and nutrients on leaves that will die anyway. 

An example of marijuana topping. This encourages lateral growth and stops the plant from growing too tall.

Step 4 (Optional): Topping

If you’re growing indoors and have limited height you may want to consider topping your plants. Topping is a pruning technique where the plant is encouraged to grow laterally, bushier, than taller. Top your plant by gently pinching the very top few leaves and snipping it off at the stalk. If done correctly, two new limbs will form and spread outwards.

Step 5: Remove Bud Sites

To ensure your plant is spending energy on the right buds, the last step is to remove unwanted bud sites. These small buds are found on the stem nodes of the plant and are often hidden under larger fan leaves. Although these buds have the potential to flower, they will not receive enough sunlight to reach their full potential. It’s recommended that these buds are removed during the vegetative stage. 

Step 6: Recovery

The days after pruning marijuana is just as important as the pruning itself. Plants go through stress and shock when they have been pruned. To encourage the growth spurt after pruning, and avoiding further shock, water the plants with cannabis plant food regularly. If you’re growing outdoors make sure your plant received enough sunlight. 

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