What is Bud Trimming?
Cannabis bud trimming is exactly what the name suggests, the pruning of your plants' flowers. An alternative way of thinking about it is that you’re manicuring around your buds or giving a “close shave” haircut.
Essentially, the aim is to remove all the excess plant material. Most growers do not look forward to trimming. Let's be honest, it can be a lot of work and quite tedious. A novice grower may not think that trimming is necessary at all. But the results speak for themselves.
Expert growers know that this process is important in the production of a quality product.
3 Reasons Bud Trimming is Important:
Some of the most important reasons why you should trim are:
High-value cannabis plants are often exhibited in magazines, in glass jars at dispensaries, and at other places for sale. A well-manicured bud is essential to the appearance of your product, as potent and desirable. Trimming makes your flowers visually appealing and can separate standard from high-quality end-product.
2. Smoother product:
When your final product is consumed, any excess leaves on the cannabis buds will create a harsher smoking experience. Trimming off the excess will create a smoother end-product.
3. Trichome concentration:
The highest concentration of trichomes is found on the marijuana buds. Trichomes produce hundreds of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, which lead to potent, effective, and high-value plants. There are more trichomes on the buds than on the leaves. So, it is best to trim the leaves for maximum potency.
Save and Collect Your Trimmings!
Many cannabis strains have trichome-encrusted "sugar leaves", which are the small, resin-covered leaves directly attached to the buds. These trichome-heavy leaves can make the smoke harsher, so it’s recommended to remove them. However, there is no need to waste them.
Collecting all the plant matter that you have cut off your cannabis plants is a good idea. You are able to use them later to create additional products such as hash, teas, butter, tinctures, and edibles. This way, the good clean buds can be enjoyed to the fullest, without fear of losing any “trichome goodness”.
Wet or Dry Trim? 3 Factors to Consider
Many newbie growers want to know about the differences between dry and wet trimming and what method would be better. More regular growers will have their method down, however, it can't hurt to read the differences and adjust accordingly.
Wet trimming refers to the trimming of your cannabis flowers directly after harvesting them before they dry. Dry trimming is when you dry your buds first before you trim them. Consider these three variables:
- Time to harvest:
Thoroughly manicuring every single flower takes time and the harvest window is usually quite short. As such, wet trimming works fine when you have a small harvest or many hands. Dry trimming works better when you have a large harvest – by pruning fan leaves and hanging whole plants or branches to dry before the final trim.
- Trimming machine:
Certain trimming machines are better suited to trim while the bud is still wet. They are used by growers who have a large harvest to achieve (usually commercial purposes) and not enough time or manpower to do it all by hand.
Experienced marijuana cultivators like to follow a tried and trusted method. There’s nothing wrong with doing what works best for you, as long as you’re achieving the results you’re aiming for.
3 Reasons for Most Growers to Dry Trim
1. New dry trimming machines:
If your preference is to use a machine, there are many dry trimming products available. However, you will still need to trim off excess fan leaves before using these.
2. Consistent weights:
Most cannabis growers aim for well-manicured, hand-trimmed flowers for the best visual appeal. If you have a large harvest to trim, you will need to call in all the help you can get. It is recommended to dry trim to keep track of how much weight is lost through the trimming process compared to the weight lost from plant matter simply drying out. You can achieve this by drying your harvested buds and branches out, trimming, and then weighing the trim.
3. Bud appearance:
Trimming your marijuana plants while they are wet and placing the buds somewhere to dry can cause your buds to become misshaped. The cannabis buds are softer when wet and laying them on their side can cause them to flatten. However, this is not to say that you can’t wet trim with the buds remaining on the plants' stem in order to hang them up as opposed to lying the buds down to dry. We have also found that keeping the sugar leaf on while drying keeps the buds neatly tucked away.
The Best Bud Trimming Tools
Big pruning shears: This is needed for cutting through tough stalks and branches of the plant.
Sharp trimming scissors: Small and sharp snips are ideal for clipping buds off and trimming the smaller leaves around the cannabis flowers.
Gloves: A pair of gloves will make things more sanitary while handling your cannabis buds and prevents your hands from being covered in sticky resin. If this hasn't happened to you, trust a pair of gloves to be your best friend.
Rubbing alcohol: This is needed to clean the resin from your hands, tools, and work area. It can get rather messy...
Containers: Preferably glass, for the final curing of your dry product.
How to Wet Trim:
- Cut branches into manageable sizes. You will need to use your large pruning shears in order to cut through the thicker branches. Place the cut stems gently into a container. To protect your bud, it is recommended by most growers to tie and hang them from a line.
- Remove fan leaves. You need to remove any large fan leaves.
- Manicure the small leaves. Trim the sugar leaves – the small leaves that stick out of buds. Many people like to leave these leaves on if they’re covered in trichomes. But the more leaves you remove, the less harsh your end-product will be and the easier it will be to work with.
- Time to dry. At this point, your cannabis buds should be trimmed and looking the way you want them to. You can either remove all the stems and place the flowers on a drying rack or you can hang the plants upside down to dry.
How to Dry Trim:
- Cut branches into manageable sizes. Start by using your large shears to cut through the thicker branches. Ensure you cut your branches attached to the buds into manageable sizes, making them easy to handle.
- Remove fan leaves. Remove all large fan leaves. These are the larger leaves that are green and contain no “sugar” or "snow".
- Hang to dry. Hang your cannabis branches to dry in a controlled environment. Let the buds dry until they pass the “snap test”. When the stem snaps in an audible and crispy manner, they’re dry and ready to be trimmed.
- Close manicure of the small leaves. After drying, trim the sugar leaves. By doing this you will be making your cannabis buds more aesthetically appealing and ensuring clean smoke. Remember to remove all excess leaves, leaving only a well-manicured bud.
Try experimenting with these tips and techniques the next time you trim. The trimming steps are not very different between the two techniques. The main difference is the timing of when you dry and final trim your cannabis buds.
Time to cure
You should use airtight jars, similar to glass Mason jars, for curing your buds. Once properly dried, put your cannabis buds in a glass jar and follow your curing process (in a dark room or cupboard). Be sure to burp your jars regularly to avoid any mold accruing.
A well-manicured bud always goes down better than anything. Whether you prefer wet or dry trimming, if done correctly, the end result should be the same. A good clean bud that is ready to be consumed. In our next article, we will take a closer look at the curing process, highlighting the importance and benefits.
Haven't started growing yet? What are you waiting for? Visit our seeds catalog to choose from our wide range of cannabis seeds and get started right away. Growing your own smoke is so rewarding, and learning ways to fine-tune and improve makes it all the more exciting.