Okay, so you’ve had a successful harvest and you’ve dried and cured your buds. Now, it’s time to trim them up and make them ready to show off to your friends!
The trimming process is quite simple but it’s important that you don’t make mistakes that lower your yield, injure your buds or makes them downright ugly.
Personally, I have always loved the meditational aspect of sitting down with some good music and trimming for a couple of hours. And with decades under my belt, I’m excited to guide you through this intricate dance of snipping, trimming, and perfecting those luscious buds.
Why is Trimming Marijuana Important?
Proper trimming accentuates the potent parts of the plant, providing a cleaner, smoother smoking experience. Removing sugar leaves also reduces the chlorophyll content, ensuring that your end product isn’t harsh on the throat. Well-trimmed buds also look better and give you an indication as to how much love the grower put into the entire cannabis plant.
In essence, it’s about aesthetics, potency, and quality. That’s why knowing how to trim buds correctly is a skill every grower should master (that includes friends of growers too — Help a grower out!).
Wet vs. Dry Cannabis Trimming
First, a decision that needs to be taken before you dry the flower. You need to decide whether to do a dry trim or a wet trim. Both methods have benefits and drawbacks which I will cover below but I would recommend starting with a dry trim if you are not sure which method to go for.
Wet trimming is when you trim the buds right after they are harvested while the plant is still “wet”.
The wet cannabis trimming process is preferred by many because fresh, wet leaves are considerably easier to trim. The moisture content in the leaves makes them stiffer which makes them stand away from the bud, allowing for a more efficient and cleaner cut.
The other advantage of a wet trim is that it may reduce the risk of mold during the drying process. By removing excess foliage before drying, it eliminates potential spaces where moisture can get trapped and mold grows.
It also speeds up the drying process since there is less plant material to dry. Less plant material means less space, so if you have limited space in your drying room, a wet trim may be the best way to go.
Drawbacks of a wet trim
There are some negatives with a wet trim which is why I always opt for a dry trim instead. I find that the quicker drying time leads to a harsher smoke with less flavors. I also think that handling the weed plant too much before the drying process leads to a loss of trichomes which contain the cannabinoids making the buds less potent.
As you probably expected, dry trimming involves letting the plant dry first before trimming the excess leaves. Again, I recommend you start with this method if you have the space.
A dry trim protects the trichomes better so the end product will be slightly more potent and it will look more sugary and sticky. It also gives you more control of the timing of the drying process because the excess plant material keeps moisture more evenly distributed. This gives you a slower drying which leads to smoother smoke and better flavors.
Drawbacks of a dry trim
A dry trim is a bit more time-consuming because the sugar leaves curl inwards, hugging the bud, which makes them trickier to trim.
If you are not careful there could be an increased risk of mold. This is especially true in a humid environment where leaving all that extra foliage can be a recipe for water logging.
Marijuana Trimming Tools Needed
Before you embark on your trimming journey, ensure you’re equipped. Here’s a quick list:
- Sharp pair of pruning shears (for the larger branches and fan leaves)
- Precision scissors (for those detailed snips).
- A large tray (to catch loose buds).
- Rubber gloves
- Rubbing alcohol or Can-A-Wipes (to clean the tools)
How to Trim Cannabis Buds Step-by-step
1. Piece up the branches
Start at the base and work your way up, sectioning off branches as you go. This will make the plant easier to manage and work with. Like all steps, you will want to work with precision and respect.
2. Buck Buds from the Branch
It’s not as violent as it sounds. Gently pluck or cut buds off the branch.
3. Trim Buds
Now, use your sharp scissors to trim all the little sugar leaves. Start at the base of the bud and work slowly over a tray. Put the trimmings in one tray and the finished bud in another. As you work, you will develop your own pruning technique.
You may be tempted to keep the buds as big as possible (show off to your friends much…) but the bigger the buds, the more difficult to control humidity which can contract mold. So you may want to break bigger buds into smaller ones where they have a natural break.
4. Keep the area and tools clean
It’s going to get sticky and a little messy so make sure to keep your working station and tools clean.
- Trim over a tray to catch kief, which can be used later.
- Keep your tools clean.
- Be patient. Remember, it’s a labor of love.
- Put your buds away in smaller airtight containers (about 1oz jars are good) with booster packs to spread the risk of something going wrong. Big containers like 2oz mason jars can get humidity issues and the bigger the container the more flower you damage.
- Trimming outdoor bud? Take an extra look at each bud for bug, spiders, flies, and any other pests that may be stuck in the sticky buds.
Hand-trimmed vs. Machine-trimmed Weed
Some commercial growers use machines to trim their cannabis flower. While there is nothing particularly wrong with that, it may damage the flower.
Cannabis Grow Series
This article is part of the cannabis grow series where we want to teach you how to grow cannabis step-by-step in a simple and effective way. Explore the full series here!