Thursday July 26, 2018

By Abby Hutmacher


It’s been an exciting few months watching your cannabis plant grow from either a tiny seedling or a small clone. You’ve been diligent in your care for her, watched her for signs of distress and fed her well as she grew tall and filled her nodes with her sweet, sticky and oh-so attractive buds. And now, after months of watching her grow and mature, it’s time to cut her down and trim her up so everyone can see just how beautiful – and potent – she really is.

Trimming your harvested cannabis can be an arduous task for those who have never done it before. However, with a little know-how it can be pretty easy! Keep on reading to learn how you can trim your buds up like a pro without the need for expensive equipment! Of course, proper trimming does take some time, so put on your favorite record or turn on the TV to help pass the time as you manicure your harvest!

New to growing? Be sure to check out our Beginner’s Guide to Growing Marijuana!

Why Trim Your Weed

Obviously, you should cut your plant down to dry it out and let it cure, right? But a proper trim has many benefits, as well.

Example Trim Job
Example of a trimmed cannabis bud.

Not only will it help your bud look better, but it will also help increase the potency and reduce the harshness of the smoke, too. And while trimming may reduce the overall mass of your final products, the improved bag appeal more than makes up for the lost weight.

Trimming Your Cannabis

Now that we’ve covered why you need to trim your cannabis, it’s time to move onto the fun part – actually trimming your harvested buds! Keeping the tips and techniques below in mind will help you manicure your flower like a pro.

Essential Weed-Trimming Tools

Trimming cannabis may be timely, but it’s certainly not costly! Sure, you could go out and purchase a bunch of expensive equipment to get the job done quicker and more efficiently, but in all reality hand-trimming is perfectly feasible for a home-grow operation. In fact, all you really need to trim your cannabis is a couple of quality items:

Trimming Essentials:

  • A solid pair of gardening sheers to chop the plant down
  • Manicure scissors for precise trimming
  • Disposable gloves to protect trichome content and minimize cross-contamination
  • A clean tray to catch the trim
  • Hangers or a clothing line from which to hang your trimmed buds
  • Bonus: A solid music playlist and a comfortable chair is also highly recommended

Of course, you can always add extra equipment as you continue your growing journey, but these items are all you need to get started!

Trimming Techniques

Though the best time to harvest cannabis is pretty standard, the best time to trim and manicure your cannabis is a debatable topic among many growers. Some prefer the “wet method,” for example, while others prefer a “dry method” of cannabis trimming. Both are appropriate in certain circumstances depending on things like time constraints and the environment of the ensuing cure process, so it’s up to you do decide which one will work best.

Wet Trimming Cannabis

The easiest and most common way to manicure marijuana is called wet trimming, or trimming the cannabis soon after harvest while the leaves are still moist and stiff. This method of manicuring cannabis is especially popular due to its ease and efficiency, and its ability to produce picture-perfect buds post-cure.

Wet Trim
A grower properly wet trimming harvested cannabis.

To use this method, begin by harvesting your cannabis at the stock leaving multiple branches from which to hang them. Leaving the buds on the branches at this point will help them hang easily during the curing process and will make the buds much easier to handle during the trimming process, too.

Begin by turning your freshly-harvested branches upside down to gain easy access to the stems of the larger leaves. Using manicure scissors, trim the large fan leaves away from the buds and add them to your compose or save them to roll your own cannabis cigar later.

Next, working over a clean tray, trim the smaller sugar leaves away from the buds, carefully working your scissors between the buds to the stem when possible. Be sure to save anything you trim away at this point; there are many awesome ways to use your trim, too!

Save Your Trim
Be sure to save your trim for other uses like making edibles or bubble hash!

Finally, shape the buds into teardrop shapes then hang them to dry in a cool, dark area with a humidity level between 45 and 55 percent and a temperature between 60°F and 70°F for optimum terpene retention.

Dry Trimming Cannabis

Those who live in dryer environments (or those using machine trimmers) often opt for dry trimming to prolong the curing process. By leaving larger leaves on the plants for four to 10 days, buds can dry out slower and thus more evenly, resulting in a smoother, more flavorful experience.

Dry Trim
Example of a dry trim before and after. photo credit

Dry trimming marijuana simply requires that the bud be manicured after the fan leaves have had a chance to dry out. The process is more tedious because the leaves have dried and curled back into the buds at this point but can still be done fairly quickly by first pulling the fan leaves off then shaping the buds to the desired shape. After trimming, either hang to finish drying or place buds in air-tight containers to begin the curing process.

Grow season may just be getting started, but in a few short months, it will be time to harvest and trim your buds to their picture-perfect potential. Though there are various methods to use, the fact remains that well-trimmed bud is well-received bud.

Do you have any trimming tips you’d like to share? Leave your favorite tips and techniques in the comments below!

Abby Hutmacher Abby Hutmacher

Abby is a writer and founder of Cannabis Content, a marketplace designed to connect cannabis writers and creatives with businesses in the industry. She has been a professional cannabis writer since 2014 and regularly contributes to publications such as PotGuide and M&F Talent. She is also the Content Director at Fortuna Hemp, America’s leading feminized hemp seed bank. Follow Abby on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

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