Cannabis Trimming Techniques And Tips

The pro growers that pull down the heaviest harvests from the fewest cannabis plants are, without exception, highly skilled at trimming marijuana. With the trimming tips in this blog, you too can take the path to a scale-tipping harvest, even with just one cannabis plant in the garden.

Cannabis Trimming Techniques and Tips

What Are The Advantages Of Trimming Cannabis Plants?

The natural structure of the cannabis plant is similar to that of a Christmas tree. For most real-world indoor and outdoor cannabis growers, this shape is not ideal. Sure, if you have the space and privacy someplace sunny in a southern climate, you can crop great big ganja trees and not bother with pruning. Make Haze while the sun shines.

However, for the vast majority of cannabis cultivators, plant height needs to be controlled. And who couldn’t do with a heavier harvest? Trimming solves both issues for photoperiod-dependent cannabis strains. Autoflowering strains are best left untouched by scissors or fingers until harvest day. Trust us, or find out the heart-breaking way.

The 5 Most Common Trimming Techniques


This is by no means an exhaustive list of cannabis trimming techniques. These are the 5 most popular techniques that can be combined with the ScrOG or “screen of green” method for maximum yield. That being said, there is a price to be paid for trimming. Pruning cannabis will cost you time during the vegetative growth phase with every technique applied. Cannabis plants need time to recover. Usually about one week. Otherwise, you run the risk of stunting growth and/or stressing plants into hermies.

#1 Topping

Topping Cannabis

Topping is the process of removing the terminal bud or tip of the main stem. The set of branches below the cut rise to become two new top colas. All branches grow more vigorously as growth hormone is dispersed throughout the shoots instead of toward a single main cola. This gives the plant a bushy profile and can be easily repeated to fill more lateral space. Aside from the FIM method, topping works well in combination with the rest of this list and the ScrOG method.

#2 Fimming


The FIM or “Fuck I Missed” is essentially an untidy topping. Surprisingly, fimming produces twice as many top colas as proper topping. Four, rather than two new main colas are typical with fimming. Removing about 75% of the tip from the main stem instead of the whole thing looks untidy and plain wrong, but that’s how to FIM.

#3 Lollipopping


During week 3 or 4 of the flowering period, the lower bud sites can be removed. Leaving only big, chunky tops. Lollipopping gets its name from the lollipop look it gives shoots post-pruning. This technique concentrates plant energy on large flower tops, reducing popcorn budding and boosting big bud production in effect.

#4 Defoliation


Defoliation is probably the most contentious technique on this list as there are growers that will recoil in horror at the thought of leaf stripping. But if too many bud sites are shaded by fan leaves, it hurts yields. Leaves are the “solar panels” of the cannabis plant, but it’s the flowers you want to smoke. So some leaf sacrifices must be made for trophy colas.

#5 Cut Off Lower Branches

Cut Off Lower Branches

Cutting off the first set or two of branches (once plants are 30cm in height or above) is a good way to improve airflow and concentrate plant energy on higher branches closer to the light. This is most growers’ introduction to pruning and a simple way to crop a little more bud.

Tips On How To Trim Your Cannabis Plants


Tip 1: Prune In Stages

If you plan on going for it and experimenting with a few trimming techniques, you can absolutely combine multiple methods to achieve max yield. Just don’t do too much all at once. Trim plants in weekly intervals and monitor behaviour closely. Trimming the lower branches and some fan leaves is a good place to start and perhaps, really as far as you need to go.

Tip 2: Be Hygienic

Clean grower, clean grow-op, clean cutting tools. No exceptions. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, as they say.

Tip 3: Don’T Be Afraid To Trim During Bloom

Contrary to the sometimes hapless misinformation that cannabis hacks are peddling, you can prune flowering cannabis plants. For starters, you have to wait until week 3 or 4 of bloom to lollipop. Monster cropping requires clones cut from plants at the same stage of bloom. Defoliation can be an ongoing process; some growers will prune leaves every 3-4 days. Also, pests and disease can strike at any stage, with pruning often required to remove dead or dying leaves and shoots. So ignore the naysayers. Be brave, be a winner, and trim as necessary during flowering.

Related article

Weed Stems: Don't Throw Them Away!

Tip 4: Use The Right Tools For The Job

If you favour cutting tools like trimming scissors or a scalpel, make sure they are comfortable for you to hold and 100% sterile. Pinching tops with fingers is fine too. But you still need to wash your hands first. Fingers are generally best for fimming and lollipopping. Topping, defoliation, and trimming branches is best performed with clean scissors. Scalpels are normally reserved for taking cuttings.

Tip 5: Repetition Is The Father Of Learning

Trimming cannabis plants is a skill that will take time and practice to master. It’s best to begin by trimming from the bottom up, at least until you get some growing and trimming experience under your belt. If you don’t get amazing results the first time you experiment with a trimming technique, don’t give up. Remember that every Grand Master grower was, once upon a time, a rank amateur who was not sure what they were doing.