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When and How to Trim Marijuana Plants

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When and How to Trim Marijuana Plants. You finally harvested your marijuana plants, but you are not done yet. You still need to trim your cannabis plant before drying and curing it.

While pruning marijuana plants necessary step, many growers dread it. Trimming/pruning can feel monotonous at times, especially if you have a lot of plants to go through.

Just keep in mind, it will all be worth it when you see the end result. However, it is important to note that pruning cannabis plants is not merely picking up some scissors and cutting the buds.

You need to take certain steps to avoid any mistakes, as you do not want to end up with damaged buds. Here is how to trim cannabis, so you can get yourself a proper harvest, and get the most out of your weed plant.

What Is Trimming Weed?

Trimming weed plants is a process that involves removing the leaves from the buds. You would want to do this to cut off any unnecessary leaves that could ruin the quality of the bud.

Wet Trim Vs Dry Trim

Growers can improve the quality of cannabis but cutting away the right pieces at the right time. Two types of trimming can get the job done. You can choose between dry trimming and wet trimming.

Dry Trimming

A few growers use the dry pruning technique if they do not have time to sit down right away. You would hang the plant up for several days until it dries.

Then, you remove the buds from the branches and trim them.


One advantage to dry trimming is the potential to make edibles. You can keep sugar leaves after drying the plants. Growers might choose this method if they do not want to deal with a lot of mess. As the trichomes harden, stickiness is less of a factor when you prune marijuana plants this way.

People in dry climates can benefit from dry trimming. The level of humidity around the buds increases, and it can slow the process. As a result, the arid environment will not cause a rapid loss of terpenes.

Another positive aspect of dry trimming is that you are less likely to get a grassy flavor. Not to mention, the buds are denser.


A downside to dry trimming is that the trichomes become brittle. They are prone to breaking, so you would need to manage the buds with care. You also need to monitor the humidity since the moisture can lead to mold on your weed plants.

Hanging the plants takes up more space since you will string up entire plants. Of course, the buds become less colorful as well. Overall, the dry trimming method takes longer compared to wet trimming.

Wet Trimming

Many cannabis growers prefer to use the wet trimming method. It occurs immediately after harvest, and you would do it in one sitting.

The process entails cutting down the plant and removing the sugar leaves from the branches. Some people prefer to start at the base and work their way upward. Then, you proceed to dry and cure the buds.


Growers have an easier time removing sugar and fan leaves, which shrivel up in the dry method. Without sugar leaves, the flowers do not have as much moisture.

As a result, the process is faster, and there is less chance of mold growth. People in humid environments can benefit from wet trimming.

Another advantage is you do not have to worry about the trichomes breaking apart. You can enjoy beautiful-looking buds with preserved flavors.

If you have a smaller growing room, you might choose wet trimming. Many people are able to dry more buds on drying racks.


One of the disadvantages is the process is stickier, which is why people tend to use gloves. The mess can make the process feel a bit more tedious.

Sometimes, the buds dry too quickly, this can impact the flavor.

The buds also become less dense and compact by the end. Even though drying tends to be faster, correctly trimming each weed plant can take a lot of time.

Trimming With Scissors Or By Machine

When and How to Trim Marijuana Plants

Many people at home trim by hand, but some growers make use of a weed trimming machine. If you prune cannabis plants by hand, you would use a pair of scissors to cut the leaves.

Weed trimming machines have lever-operated knives and adjustable shears. It rotates the buds in a bin to cut off the leaves.

Pros And Cons Of Cannabis Trimming Scissors

With cannabis-trimming scissors, you can shape the buds yourself. You will be able to bring out the best qualities of each one.

Weed-trimming scissors usually are more accurate. The hand method is cheaper since you do not have to spend money on a machine trimmer.

As you go through each bud, you are more likely to spot issues, like mold or insects. With some patience, you can end up with quality cannabis. However, there are a few cons to trimming weed by hand.

The main drawback is the amount of time and level of focus it takes. If you have a lot of buds to go through, the process can feel dull at times. It can help to have a friend assist in trimming weed.

Not to mention, the hand method can get quite messy.

Pros And Cons Of A Weed Trimming Machine

When and How to Trim Marijuana Plants

Of course, many growers love using cannabis-trimming machines due to their speed. Some machines can get through a few pounds of weed in an hour.

You also do not have to deal with a messy area since the equipment collects the trims. Each strain will end up looking identical to one another after trimming with a machine.

One of the downsides is that the machines run the risk of over-trimming the buds. The buds can wind up being smaller than before. Not only does over-trimming affect the size, but it also can reduce the potency and flavor.

Each bud is different in structure and size. Trimming machines do not take the variations into account.

When Do You Trim Cannabis?

Starting too soon can interfere with the plant’s growth. However, you can remove dead leaves if you spot them. The best time to trim is after you harvest your cannabis plants.

There are aesthetic reasons why growers would want to trim before drying and curing. Still, doing it right after the harvest is more practical than anything.

Removing leaves can ensure the final product is smooth upon use.

Tools You Need To Trim Weed

When you reach the trimming phase, you will need several items to help you. The tools are:

  • Scissors or trimming machine (depending on the chosen method)
  • A clean surface
  • A tray or bowl
  • Pruning shears (for bigger branches)
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Rags

Since trimming can take a while, you also should get a comfortable chair to sit in. Entertainment, like music, can help make it feel less tedious. If you choose wet trimming, use clothing that is allowed to get dirty.

How To Trim Weed?

Set up your trimming area to be a nice, comfortable place to sit. Then, get to work. Regardless of the method you choose, follow these steps for a successful trimming:

Step 1: Cut The Plant Down

Grab your pruning shears and cut the main stem of the marijuana plant. You should cut as close to the growing medium as possible.

Remove the branches in a size that you are comfortable with until the plant is separated into smaller pieces.

For the dry method, you would hang the branches up to dry for the next three to seven days. Otherwise, you can move on to the next step of the process.

Step 2: Remove The Fan Leaves

Next, you remove the fan leaves from the branches. You can identify them by their classic five or seven points. Growers have no use for the leaves since they do not contain any trichomes.

You can easily pull off the fan leaves from the stems gently with your fingers.

It is faster if you are wet trimming. However, you can use a pair of scissors if you want. Then, dispose of the fan leaves in a different pile.

Step 3: Cut Off The Buds

You are almost done with trimming weed. Now, you can carefully cut the buds off the branches. Growers refer to this action as “bucking.”

You can use a bowl or tray to store your pile of buds. Keep them away from the piles of stems and leaves.

Step 4: Trim The Buds

The last step to trimming weed plants is to snip around the bud. Before you continue, you can bring the buds down to a smaller size if they are too big. A bigger size can make the drying process last longer.

Cut closely at the stem on the bottom without damaging the bud. You do not want an exposed stem.

Prune the sugar leaves and any other leaves that poke out from the bud. Then, remove the small branches that stem up from the bottom. They are called crow’s feet.

You can cut off anything else that does not have trichomes, like the red pistils.

Trimming Weed Related Questions

If you are new to cannabis trimming, you might still have some questions. Here are a couple of common questions:

  • Can you get high off of trimming weed?
  • Can you freeze cannabis trim?

Can You Get High Off Of Trimming Weed?

You might be familiar with the smell the plants emit by the time you get to the trimming portion of producing weed.

Many people wonder if they can get high since they spent so much time handling the plants. In short, you cannot get high by simply trimming cannabis.

Breathing in the air near the plants will not have much effect on you. After all, the THC is in an acidic form while the plant remains raw. You may feel relaxed after inhaling the terpenes, but there is no risk of becoming high.

While fan leaves have little THC, other parts have higher concentrations. However, you cannot experience psychedelic effects by touching the buds.

Your skin can absorb THC, but the amount is very low. Due to the low concentration, the THC gets metabolized quickly before it can have any effect.

Can You Freeze Cannabis Trim?

The freezer is a convenient way to store perishables for a longer period. Some people would like to know if putting weed trims in one is a good idea.

You can safely store marijuana in a freezer to maintain longer shelf life.

The reason so many growers prefer freezing cannabis trims is that lower temperatures are perfect for keeping optimal potency. The potency degrades at a much slower rate compared to room temperature.

The freezer can keep your stash inside a dark environment. The lack of light also stops THC from diminishing over time.

It is important to place the buds in a tightly sealed container. Some growers may recommend drying the trims before freezing.

Keep in mind that cannabis can become brittle after freezing. As a result, the trichomes can break off. It is necessary to carefully take the container out and thaw the weed before use.

Now You Know How To Trim Weed, What’s Next?

Now that you know how to trim weed, you can move on to ripening or drying the buds. What you do next depends on if you used dry or wet trimming.

For dry trimming, you continue to ripen the cannabis. Growers frequently use glass jars to store the buds. It can take up to a year for cannabis to completely ripen.

If you went with wet rimming, you need to dry your weed first. You would place the buds on a drying net or rack.

The drying room requires darkness, low humidity, and room temperature. The buds will be ready for ripening in 1-2 weeks.

What Have We Learned?

Trimming cannabis is a crucial step after harvesting to improve the quality of your buds. You can opt for either wet or dry trimming, each with its own pros and cons.

Wet trimming is faster and less prone to mold, while dry trimming can yield denser buds and is easier in dry climates. Scissors offer precision but are time-consuming, while machine trimmers are faster but may over-trim.

The process involves four main steps: cutting the plant down, removing fan leaves, cutting off the buds, and trimming them to remove unnecessary foliage. Key tools include scissors or a trimming machine, a clean surface, and a tray.

Overall, proper trimming ensures a high-quality end product.