How to do the defoliation marijuana grow method

Published Feb 20, 2019 02:07 p.m. ET
What Is defoliation?

 Marijuana defoliation is a method used by cannabis growers to maximize a yield size with very selective pruning techniques. If done correctly, pruning a marijuana plant will allow it to focus most of its energy on chosen buds rather than growing outward or producing an unnecessary amount of fan leaves. Marijuana defoliation is not recommended for beginners. Unless you have prior history growing marijuana and education of cannabis anatomy, then you likely won’t obtain much success from this method. It’s a high risk to take but if it’s done right will easily double the overall yield a cannabis plant produces.

1. Choosing a strain
To begin, you are going to want to grow a strain that already has short bushy qualities for this method to work best. This is because if the plant already genetically predisposed to focus most of its energy on producing marijuana flower rather than growing, there will be less pruning for you to do.

2. Lights
Marijuana Defoliation requires lights that are as close as possible to the plant. If the light source is placed too far away, the plant will grow outwards in an attempt to reach it which is exactly what you are trying to stop. Any lighting you use should be as close as the bulb will allow without burning the plant.

3. Timing
You will need to wait until your cannabis plant has produced enough nodes that pruning it will not hinder its progress or health. The general idea is to force the plant to feed its nutrients directly to the marijuana flower rather than the leaves. Your plant will be ready for defoliation once you have several nodes around the base as well as several towards the top of the plant.

4. Pruning
Pruning the very bottom nodes from the plant right at the stalk will manipulate the plant into focusing on only high up bud. Now is when you will want to pick out your favorite ones. You will only want to trim away one or two per day at most. Too much will stunt the plant which is why this method is considered high risk.

5. Strategically choose buds
Your favorite or most focused on buds when performing marijuana defoliation should be the ones on branches that are most strategically placed. Branches with the highest point on the base stem are a good choice. You also want the most light, the most robust stem, and the largest healthiest looking buds to be the ones you leave behind to flourish.

6. When to stop
You will want to stop trimming once it enters its last two months of growth or before then. By this stage of growth, the plant is no longer producing new nodes to maintain. The most that may be done after that point is the removal of up to 30% of the fan leaves which will also help the density of the produced bud.

The effect you are looking for when performing marijuana defoliation is a slow, gentle process that makes the cannabis plant feel groomed and cared for. Too much too quickly and pruning can have the opposite effect, making the plant think it is being attacked instead of cared for. Defoliation doesn’t only work on cannabis and has been used successfully in other crops such as cowpeas and soybeans and can amplify the amount of yield by over 50%. It is not a common practice due to the time and risk involved, but it is beneficial when done by a confident, knowledgeable grower.

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