Last updated: May 17, 2021

What Does Pruning Mean?

An important gardening skill, pruning refers to the trimming and cutting of plants shape or maintain growth, or to rid them of any injured, dead, or infected leaves, roots, branches or wood. In some cases pruning is also used as a preventive measure to make space for any new seedling or growth.

Pruning can also be used to remove parts of the plant in order to enhance its growth. Common in cannabis cultivation, pruning methods such as topping can increase yields and encourage development of high-quality buds.


Maximum Yield Explains Pruning

There are a few pruning techniques cannabis growers commonly use in their growrooms. When pruning, growers might cut off dead leaves so that more energy in the plant will be devoted to developing flowers. They might also prune smaller branches and/or fan leaves so that the nutrients and resources in the plant are redirected to form bigger colas.

Cannabis growers will prune when the plant first starts getting bushy, focusing on lower branches that don't receive as much sunlight, as well as the dead or damaged leaves, and bud sites lower on the plant. Auxiliary branches generally produce smaller "popcorn buds", so cutting these off will allow main branches get more water and access to sunlight.

You shouldn't prune more than 2 or 3 weeks into flowering. It is an important process in training the plant to grow great buds.

Pruning is easily done with a pair of sterilized scissors or even by hand. Focus first on removing larger branches, then move onto other branches that are growing into the middle of the plant. Then you can cut off the smaller bud sites. It's important to work in intervals rather than doing all of the pruning at once so the plant doesn't go into shock.

Some types of pruning are done to intentionally add stress to the plant. When the plant is stressed, it is said to produce higher amounts of beneficial compounds growers seek, like terpenes and trichomes. These compounds are generated in times of stress, so intentionally nicking a plant here and there is said to be beneficial. (See Lollipoping, Super Cropping, and High-Stress Training.)

In nurseries, it is common practice to prune plants before harvesting or transplanting. This can increase both the quality and quantity of flowers.

More delicate flora such as grapevines, fruit trees, roses and daisies require specialized pruning techniques to avoid causing any damage to the plant.

Pruning tools include loppers, chainsaws and hand pruners. In some cases, plants can self-prune as a result of various meteorological conditions such as snowfall. Some flora, such as evergreens, do not require a lot of pruning.

It is important to prune trees and shrubs at the proper time. While some plants need to be pruned after flowering, others are best treated during winter.

Pruning can also be carried out to eradicate pests and various types of fungi. Ornamental plants need to be pruned to prevent overgrowth. In landscaping, shrubs and other similar decorative flora need to be pruned directly after flowering. Herbaceous plants, on the other end, need to be pruned after every growing season.


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