The Seed Fair

Are You 21 or Older?

It's part of our commitment to social responsibility to ensure visitors to the site are of legal age to use cannabis products.


How to Trim Cannabis Plants Properly

How to Trim Cannabis Plants Properly | Our Guide | The Seed Fair

Cannabis growers have a love/hate relationship with trimming weed. Some growers hate it because of the time-consuming factor, while others love it for its closure at the end of a growing cycle.

We believe that growing high-quality weed seeds doesn’t end until the buds have been cured and are ready to consume. This informative guide will teach you the best ways to harvest your cannabis buds using wet and dry techniques.

What does trimming weed mean?

Trimming weed is the act of removing the various branches, leaves, and buds from your cannabis plant once it is ready to harvest. There are multiple steps involved in the process and it can take over a week for it to be completed.

Trimming your marijuana plant involves:

  • Removing branches – Detaching the side branches from the main stalk so that all you’re left with is the main stem.
  • Defoliating fan and sweet leaves – These are harsh to smoke even though they are covered in trichomes.
  • Removing buds – Also called bucking, removing the buds from the stem allows for even drying.

Why is marijuana trimming important?

Trimming buds is a necessary part of the growing process and it offers several advantages that most growers swear by. First and foremost, the leaf around the bud sites has a harsh smoke and will cause you to cough.

Depending on trimming techniques, your bud will have more visual appeal. Part of the experience is to make your newly trimmed buds look as perfect as you can get them.

The more plant matter you remove the more evenly it will dry. Fully trimmed buds can be finished drying up to a day earlier than those left with more foliage on them. This is mainly because the excess moisture within the leaves causes it to take longer for a proper dry.

How to trip cannabis plants properly | The Seed Fair

Wet vs. dry trimming

There are two ways to dry your weed: wet trimming and dry trimming. Each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages in the harvest process and in drying. Both require the same equipment but are very different approaches in the thought behind them.

For a complete guide to the drying process check out our article on how to dry weed.

Wet trimming

Wet trimming your cannabis plant involves removing the big branches and bucking the buds off the stem while the plant is freshly taken down.

All of the fan leaves and sugar leaves are removed and the buds are manicured so that they can dry evenly and look as presentable as possible.


  • Saves room by removing the bulk of the plant matter. Buds are usually spread out on a screen afterward.
  • Trichomes remain intact since drying the plant branches whole makes them susceptible to being knocked off.
  • Makes the process easier since dried fan and sugar leaves will shrivel up and become harder to trim.


  • Wet trimming can be time consuming as fresh cut buds will need more work to get the leaves off.
  • The trichomes are fresh and can break easily causing a very sticky experience. Ensure you have isopropyl alcohol around to remove the resin.
  • Requires more work upfront as opposed to dry trimming buds.

Dry trimming

This method involves leaving the branches intact until the buds have dried enough to come off naturally. The outer leaves stay attached and once hung upside down, will protect the buds and dry out naturally.

The trimming process begins when the branches have dried enough that the buds pop off without any resistance. You can trim buds a little, but you want the majority to stay on the branches while it dries.


  • The outer fan leaves serve to protect the moisture in the bud. This means it takes longer as untrimmed cannabis has a lot of moisture. If you live in a dry environment, this will help reduce terpene and trichome degradation.
  • Trichomes will begin to harden as the drying process completes. This means that they don’t break as easily, ensuring that the sticky mess is kept to a minimum.
  • The fan leaves are easy to pull off since they have been dried along with the rest of the plant.


  • Trichomes are prone to falling off easier if they are jostled too much. This requires delicate care when handling the buds. Dry trimming marijuana plants are not made for trimming machines.
  • The sugar leaves tend to curl up during the drying process so properly trimming the bud requires a little more skill and care.

Trichomes are prone to falling off earlier | The Seed Fair

How to trim cannabis plants properly

Once you’ve learned the trimming process and have worked with actual buds, it becomes a lot easier to understand the different steps.

Cannabis buds have the same structure, regardless of what strain you’re trimming so there won’t be any surprises once you’ve bucked a few plants and got some experience under your belt.

Tools you need to trim cannabis plants

Make sure to have these tools on hand:

  • Pruners – This will help cut down the large branches and main stalk.
  • Needle nose scissors – The narrow tips help to nip the bud close to the stem. Fiskars work best for this type of work.
  • Large surface area – Tables are the obvious choice as things can get messy.
  • Trimming bowl/plate – Your primary work area, this is where you will be doing a lot of the fine trimming.
  • Isopropyl alcohol – Resin is sticky and it will get everywhere. Isopropyl alcohol helps break it down. Coconut oil is a great alternative if you don’t have any alcohol handy.
  • Disposable gloves – They help keep your fingers clean and can help make finger hash from the trichomes you collected while you were trimming.
  • Spare rags – If you’re not collecting finger hash, then a rag will be crucial to keep the tips of your scissors clean from resin.
  • Entertainment – Music, movies, or binge listening to your favorite podcasts are great ways to zone out while trimming up your crop.

Step 1: Cut off the branches

Depending on the thickness of the branches, you may need to use pruning shears to break them away from the main stalk. Once they are all removed from the main stem, you can cut the stalk at the base and remove the root ball if you want.

If you are dry trimming your cannabis, then go ahead and just hang your branches until they have a clean break. Resume from step 2 once you are ready to proceed.

If you are wet trimming, then you’ll want to go right to step two as you won’t be hanging your branches.

Step 2: Remove fan leaves

Start by defoliating the untrimmed buds. This includes removing all of the large and small fan leaves if you haven’t already.

If you are dry trimming your cannabis, then go ahead and just hang your branches until they have a clean break. Resume from step 2 once you are ready to proceed.

Step 3: Pluck cannabis buds from the branches

Using a pair of scissors or just your fingers, take off each individual bud from the branch and set aside for further trimming. Try to keep the buds as uniform in size as possible. If the bud is too large, then break it down into smaller buds by pulling off small sections of it, much like cauliflower florets.

Step 4: Trimming cannabis buds

Ensure that you wear disposable gloves so that your fingers can still function properly without being coated in resin. There is no right or wrong way to trim buds but there are some factors to be aware of in order to make you a better trimmer.

  • Trim as much of the excess leaves away as you can. They burn harshly when fully dried and will often make the bud look cheap.
  • Edward Scissorhands had the right idea when he was trimming hedges. Follow the curve of the bud and use quick, shallow cuts. You want the bud to have an even surface all around.
  • Make sure you use sharp scissors when trimming cannabis. Dull scissors will accumulate more resin and also cause a shaggy look to your buds.

Trimming cannabis buds | The Seed Fair

Step 5: Store trimmed buds and dispose the leftover

Store your trimmed bud on a screen to ensure that there is even airflow for optimal evaporation. You can still get moldy weed at this stage. Many growers will use a fan on the low setting to help get some air moving. The drying process takes a few days to complete and you’ll want to check back often.

What should you do after trimming the weed?

Don’t throw any of that trichome-laden trim away! All of the small trimmed pieces, cannabis leaves, and dislodged trichomes can be used in a variety of ways.

It is important to clean all of your tools right away as resin is a pain to clean when it hardens. Dispose of the gloves in the garbage (only after you’ve collected the finger hash.)

How to use your leftover weed trim

Weed trim is great for more than just tossing in your compost. Here are some of the other ways you can use the leftovers from trimming cannabis.

  • Combine wet or dry trim with your favorite butter or oil for an infused product.
  • Dry it out completely and use it as material for joints or a bong.
  • Extract the THC using your favorite solvent for a potent concentrate.
  • Steep the leaves to make a delicious tea. As long as they are healthy leaves, then you should get a nice buzz off them.

Hand trimming vs. machine trimming

You’ll often see commercial growers using trim machines for harvesting their marijuana plants. Home growers will tend to stick to hand trimming for their personal marijuana plant.

Hand trimming

Hand trimming cannabis is the traditional way to harvest cannabis flowers. It involves scissors and a good eye to carefully craft a perfectly manicured bud.


  • Buds that are hand-tended have more shelf appeal.
  • It requires minimal tools to start trimming your buds.
  • Very easy on the wallet as no startup costs are required.


  • Takes extra time to trim marijuana plants since you are using your hands.
  • Cleanup is not contained to a machine but resin will more than likely be all over you and everything you own.

Machine trimming

Sharp blades, a double bag to catch shake, minimal labor, all attractive qualities of a machine trimming your weed. Large scale growers are known to use these because hand trimming alone would take several weeks to complete.


  • Easy learning curve.
  • Efficient if you have a large volume of bud to process.
  • Separate piles for all of the trim weed and bud for easy collection. The machines generally come apart easily for cleaning.

Become a professional grower

The Seed Fair offers hundreds of high-quality seeds you can buy to grow and trim your own cannabis. We also have a growing community of like-minded growers where you can hone your skills until you get the perfect crop!

Leave a Reply