How To Trim Weed Like A Pro

3 February 2020

how to trim weed

There’s nothing more satisfying and exciting than watching a cannabis plant grow for a few months. Users take good care of it by feeding and looking out for distress signs. Eventually, after some time passes and the plant grows to its full potential, it’s finally time to trim the weed.

Although trimming weed could initially seem like a robust activity, once you get into it, it’s an enjoyable process which, contrary to popular belief, isn't that hard; in fact, it’s really quite simple. In this article, you’ll be learning all about the process of how to trim weed.

Why It’s Important To Trim Your Buds

how to trim marijuana

Trimming down cannabis has several vital purposes associated with it. First of all, manicuring buds makes them look aesthetically pleasing. When you trim cannabis, you will notice a tighter, neater and more uniform look similar to what you see in photographs or on dispensary menus. Extra foliage just doesn’t look appealing, so making the buds even greatly increases the visual charm of the final product.

Furthermore, sugar leaves have lower trichome concentration. Trimming them will therefore allow you to see the areas of the nugs that possess rich trichome concentration. Trichomes are essentially tiny particles that create several types of cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes that are vital to any plant’s uniqueness, potency and effectiveness. Since buds contain more trichomes than leaves when comparing them gram for gram, trimming the leaves is crucial to achieving the best potency. You will also notice that the bigger leaves protruding from buds usually produce harsh smoke. The reason for this is that the foliage is harder and thicker when it comes to wicking the moisture away. Trimming the buds will ensure that the moisture content is more uniform in the curing process.

how to trim buds before drying Open collection

When To Trim Your Plant

how to trim buds

A common question that quite a few enthusiasts ask besides how to trim buds is when to trim cannabis plants. You may be surprised to know that trimming should always occur many days before harvesting begins. Most growers start cutting fan leaves off right before harvest, as this is the time when senescence is on the rise. Senescence is an important phase of a plant cycle in which bigger fan leaves start withering away as they age. Suffice to say, you can start getting rid of the dying foliage days before the harvest's arrival. You can even take things a step further and remove every fan leaf during this period.

Now you might be wondering how to trim weed quickly. Here are the conventional methods. 

Wet Trim

how to trim weed plants

As the name implies, wet trimming means trimming the weed when it’s wet. This process takes place before curing and drying and just after you cut a plant down. Wet trimming has several advantages:

  • It is among the easiest trimming options for novices, as navigating your snips is easiest before the leaves curl inward and dry up. It also offers ease in removing full leaf stems.
  • Wet trimming also helps the plants stay connected, preserving their quality for later. The plants stick together because of their trichomes, which are quite sticky.
  • Wet trimming is an excellent option when you do not have sufficient space. As soon as you remove the extra stalks, stems and greenery, the buds that remain will not have as much volume and hence take up lesser room to grow.

Dry Trim

how to trim cannabis

The dry trimming option allows you to hang fresh and harvested plants to dry immediately after they are cut down. As soon as the flowers grow dry and the stems start to snap, start clipping away the excess parts after a week or two that do not serve any purpose – in other words, the parts that don’t make you high. Here are some advantages to dry trimming:

  • First off, dry trimming solves any drawback associated with wet trimming. Although it requires more involvement in the post-harvesting process, it is an excellent option for those people seeking boutique buds.
  • Quality is one of the best benefits of dry trimming. The plant drying period it provides is more than sufficient. Whether dry trimming by hand or machine, the plant's terpene profile will stay intact, which is vital for a top-quality bud. If you like to leave no stone unturned in the growing process, dry trimming is for you.

Hand Or Machine Trim?

how to trim weed fast

Since we’re discussing how to trim marijuana, you need to understand hand and machine trim. Let's first talk about hand trimming; a tried and tested method, as people have been doing it for ages. Although hand trimming requires patience, attention and trimmers, its most significant benefit is perhaps the precision involved, as there is a customized cut for each bud that highlights its specific characteristics.

Machine trimming, on the other hand, is a remarkably quick process. This trimming method uses different kinds of machine trimmers and technologies to trim the cannabis quickly and in bulk. Fast and efficient, machine trimming makes an otherwise daunting and tiring process painless. Moreover, machine trimmer quality has improved significantly over the past few years, reducing costs and cutting labor while improving the product’s end results.

What Method To Choose

trimming fan leaves during veg

All of the methods mentioned above have their unique aspects. It all boils down to the grower's personal preferences. If you are a beginner and want the trimming process to be more straightforward, go for wet trimming. On the other hand, if you’re a grower with a keen eye for detail and an enthusiasm for quality cannabis, go for dry trimming. It will require more involvement, but the end result will be well worth it. You should, however, have a certain level of growing experience to try your hand at dry trimming.

As far as hand and machine trimming go, choose machine trimming if you want the process to be quick. Hand trimming is quite specific and time-consuming, but the results are excellent.

The Tools You’ll Need

removing fan leaves during flowering

One of the biggest mistakes people make when trimming pot plants after harvest is failing to use the right tools. It is vital to remember that cutting with the wrong tools will do you no favors. In fact, it can often make things worse. Mentioned below is a comprehensive list of tools you will require for the trimming.

Pruning Shears (Large)

A sturdy pair of scissors or pruning shears are necessary to trim buds like a pro. Most professional growers use pruning shears, as these are quite helpful in cutting down individual branches while you harvest the colas for trimming. It would be advisable to use a different pair of scissors for trimming the buds, as some branches are too sharp and could break old scissors easily, especially in single harvests. The sharper the scissors, the more time you will save.

Sharp Pair of Scissors

If you want to trim buds efficiently, a sharp pair of scissors will do you a world of good. Make sure the scissors’ ends are pointy. This will make things significantly easier to manicure your bud to perfection.

Rubber Gloves (Disposable)

You need rubber gloves to shield your hands and prevent them from getting sticky. As you may know, buds can be sticky to the point where they become irritating and troublesome when in contact with skin. In addition, cleaning hands that are covered with resin is very tough.

Cookie Sheets Or Trays

Trays come in handy to hold untrimmed buds. Use one tray to keep the new buds and another to keep the trim. Alternatively, you can also use cookie sheets for separating the buds and trims, which are also relatively cheap.

Trimming Buds From Start To Finish

how to cut weed

  1. Set Up The Trimming Area

    Make sure you have sufficient room when setting up the weed trimming area. A plain table can be more than serviceable for this purpose. Make sure you also have some form of entertainment, as trimming in complete silence can get extremely dull and tedious for some people. In case you do not have a slab or table, you can use the floor as the trimming area. Be sure to sit comfortably – trimming takes time! Clear any obstacles around you so that you can focus entirely on the task at hand.

    Also important is to choose an area where there is proper ventilation. If you are a new grower, remember that weed trimming is quite smelly. Don't worry; the smell is not bad. In fact, it's terrific. Ventilation is an optional step, but one you may benefit from, especially if you want to be discreet.

  2. Wear Your Gloves

    As we discussed earlier, trimming weed can get extremely sticky. Resin spreads everywhere and makes a lot of mess. If you want to avoid washing your hands all the time during the process, you will benefit from a disposable latex glove box close by.

    In case you do not have gloves, keep a good amount of rubbing alcohol by your side to remove sticky substances swiftly. In these situations, water and soap just won’t do the trick.

  3. Cut Off A Branch From The Plant

    cutting weed

    Once you’re ready to begin, proceed to cut your plant’s branch and put it on your tray. You will notice that some cannabis plant branches are quite thick. Using scissors will not be fruitful in this situation. Go for a pair of robust pruning shears instead, which will help you trim the weed with greater efficiency.

  4. Cut The Bigger Fan Leaves

    how to trim a weed plant

    Large fan leaves are often present at the end of branches. These grow out of buds and you will be easily able to spot them. Growers usually remove fan leaves with their hands; all you need to do is apply a little pressure with your fingers and the stems will immediately snap. Your latex gloves will come handy during this part, as a substantial amount of resin comes into contact with your hands.

  5. Snip The Sugar Leaves Away

    how to trim weed buds

    Once you eradicate the fan leaves, you will notice smaller leaves that stick out from the bud. Usually, you can only see the tips emerging. It’s tough to get hold of or even look at the stems, so you will need your small pruning snips for this part.

    As you may know, pruning snips have smaller blades in comparison to shears. These smaller shears are perfect for delicate work like cutting small leaves, flowers and stems. Most pruning snips contain springs, which means you won’t need to apply too much force when using them. This is highly beneficial, as you will be snipping several items away when cutting weed.

    While you have your snips, start cutting the sugar leaves. Perform the clipping over your tray that holds the fan leaves. In case the snips become unusually sticky, clean off as much resin as you can. Avoid cutting the bud while removing as many leaves as possible. Keep the completed branch on a separate tray and start trimming another piece. Continue with this process until your pot plant is clear of all branches.

Trimming Tips And Tricks

  • When trimming, remember to use your scissors’ tips. Avoid trimming with the scissors’ sides. It will prevent the tool from getting dirty and sticky.
  • Try to create a consistent area surrounding the buds. You will need to take the red pistils down, as these have little to no trichome content. You should only keep them long for visual appeal. 
  • Store the extra trim for tinctures, edibles and budders. They still have sufficient cannabinoid content, which can come in handy for various purposes.
  • Keep airtight containers handy for storing the trimmed buds. Mason jars made of glass are perfect for cured and dried buds.
  • You will find the finger hash to be an excellent treat for post-trimming. This is also referred to as scissor hash. You can roll it in a joint, sprinkle it on a flower bowl or simply dab on a finger for a minty victory session rich with cannabinoids.

You’ve Trimmed Your Weed, What’s Next?

Trimming weed is just the first step involved in creating the end product for smoking. The wait can be quite tough, but when you approach the next step – curing and drying – it’s vital that you have a product that tastes smooth and has a good amount of terpenes and cannabinoids. 

trimming fan leaves

Growers need to hang their nugs for the curing and drying process. You should hang them for about a week in an environment where there is controlled humidity. After that, transfer the nugs to containers for curing. The storage duration can be anywhere between 1 to 6 months.

Once again, remember that the material you cut during the trimming process is also useful, providing you with an activity you can perform while waiting for the curing process to end.

Mentioned below are some useful tips to try alongside every part of marijuana plant.

  • You can use the roots to create a topical cream or for brewing into tea.
  • Sugar leaves are excellent for cooking in cannabutter.
  • You can juice the fan leaves or make weed tea with them.

It’s amazing what you can do with cannabis plants. Remember, a little research can take you a long way!

how to trim buds before drying Open collection
If you started smoking weed back when I started doing it, in the 70s, you don’t really care about extra leaves in the buds! Our throats are used to harsh smoke! One problem less!

Hello James,Wow, that's interesting. Thank you for sharing it with us :)
Hello everyone! Listen to my advice here: it’s worth investing extra 90 bucks for a trimmer like BUDLEAF off ebay! Save yourself some time, trimming is the worst especially when done alone
I'd buy a trimming machine if I could try it first... would be crap to spend that much on one and see your bud disappear down the hole into dust!
Mister Greengenes
Nice read! So what’s the fastest way to trim? I cut off all the big leaves fast but when it comes down to the small ones I get impatient and start snipping the tips instead of the whole leaves. Is there a technique you use to trim fast yet thorough?
Best advice I've ever learned... after about 10 minutes of trimming it way is to get a friend, buy some bud, smoke and trim for hours
Hi Mister Greengenes,We are happy that you've find this article useful. It depends on the preferences and personal experience
If you can get access to a commercial trimmer, that makes things go a lot faster. Plus, looking at your growing trim pile going "hash, hash, hash" helps
Agreed with the previous commenter. Trim party! participants can keep their glove & scissor hash
The way I do it - take off the massive fan leaves, and leave the sugar leaf to dry for a couple of days with the bud, and then get one of those electric hair trimmers (clippers) and you can shave the leaves off the buds, makes things easier if you've got a fuck load of weed lol. Trimming is a mission, always start so meticulously by the end you're like fuck it, just cut anything off lmao! I’ve been researching and came here, still gonna stick to my method!
Hello Oneunited,Thank you for sharing your experience with us. We wish you best of luck in your hobby
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