When under the influence of the natural elements in a natural environment, plants are more likely to grow more leaves than normal to help them get through seasonal droughts. When they are not in their natural environment, for example, if they’re grown indoors and provided with the necessary light, water, and nutrients, they are expected to forgo certain primal instincts, one of which is their coping mechanism during drought. The reverse is mostly the case, as they still grow lots of leaves which is not necessary for an indoor plant because it can affect its yield. If you’re caught up in such a situation, the solution is defoliating the plant. This article will go over the dos and dont’s of defoliating autoflowers.
What is defoliation?
Defoliation is the removal of plant leaves from specific parts of the cannabis plants to expose buds to ample light and oxygen to enhance faster and healthier adult plants with a large yield.
Why should I defoliate my autoflowering cannabis plants?
Although auto flowers can be defoliated, it comes with some risk factors that are majorly a result of their short life cycle. Despite the calculated risks, the benefits of defoliating autoflowers outweigh the risks attached and make it worth a try. These benefits include a large harvest yield which is the primary objective of most growers, more ventilation, improved lighting conditions, less humidity, and reduced possibility of mold.
With Auto flowers, defoliation can be combined with other techniques such as low-stress training which involves bending and tactfully tying plant stems, budding or lolli popping to help the plant get more light and focus its energy on larger bud sites for a healthier and bountiful harvest
Is it safe to defoliate auto flowers?
As earlier stated, there are risks attached to defoliating autoflowers and as such, it is not safe to be executed by inexperienced growers. One such reason is the short vegetative cycle of auto flowers that does not afford them enough time to recover. The short vegetative cycle does not give the grower enough time to understand the responses of the plant to the time and amount of leaves to be removed, hence, he does not know if or when to continue.
When is the best time to start?
To enjoy the benefits of defoliation, it is very important to know the proper way to defoliate auto flowers. Timing is also of great importance when defoliating autoflowers as lack of proper timing can put you on the opposite side of what you wanted – a bountiful harvest.
When can I start?
Now that we have established the fact that timing is of the essence when defoliating autoflowers, always bear in mind that defoliation should be done during the vegetative stage and not during the flowering stage. Why? During the vegetative stage, plants need their leaves to grow properly and develop buds. The buds are what need the light, water, and wind to mature. Trimming the leaves when they have developed buds leaves you to no good.
How do I start?
First, begin with the drooping leaves at the bottom of the plant. They look like they’ll be falling off anytime soon, so just speed up the process. Doing this will assist the plant in directing its energy to the needed areas. Consequently( mostly in the following week), you can start trimming the higher leaves.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Always use sterile scissors while trimming the leaves to prevent infection
- Apply caution when removing the leaves
- Do not trim out lots of leaves at the same time. Only trim out a few leaves and study your plant’s reaction before continuing.
- Take out the popcorn buds; During the early stages of blooming, you can use your fingertips to pinch out small popcorn buds. Although this comes with some risks, these are buds that are unlikely to develop into anything useful. Again, this will motivate your plant to concentrate its energy where it is needed.