Trimming Guide: How To Trim Your Cannabis Flowers

How, when, and why do we trim our buds before drying and curing.
20 May 2020
12 min read
Trimming Guide: How To Trim Your Cannabis Flowers

Contents:

Many first time growers don’t know that trimming the buds after they’re harvested is a very important part of the process of cultivation. For a good smoke you need to remove the leaves that are left in the buds, this will better your bud’s appearance and flavor.

1. Why Trim Our Buds? 

The leaves on a cannabis plant are where they absorb the light necessary for photosynthesis, they are extremely necessary for a plant to grow.

After your plant has been harvested, the plant doesn’t need them anymore (obviously). The leaves can contain a high level of chlorophyll if you didn’t flush properly so it’s better to remove the excess plant material off your buds.

It will not only help your bud look better, but it will also help increase the potency and reduce the harshness of the smoke. Even though trimming reduces the overall yield, the improved taste and appearance make up for the lost weight.

2. What Materials Do I Need To Trim?

You don’t actually need any materials to trim. You can even use your own fingers to remove the excess leaves and plant material but using the following will minimize errors and cross-contamination.

For properly trimming you will need:

•  Shears for cutting branches

It is best to use a separate pair of scissors (or shears) to cut down branches and not the same one that you’re going to use to trim your buds.

Some branches are really tough and can destroy a small pair of scissors. You want you trimming scissors to be sharp. 

•  Disposable gloves to protect trichomes and avoid contamination

Disposable rubber gloves are needed for two things. First, you have to protect trichomes on the buds from the contaminants on your hand.

 

Using disposable gloves while trimming will help to protect trichomes and avoid contamination.
 

Second, handling your bud without gloves will make your hand sticky, this can become a problem and the resin is hard to remove.

•  Manicure scissors for trimming buds with precision

If you’re going to invest in scissors to prune your buds, look for trimming shears. They’re not expensive. The extra sharpness and precision will end up saving you time and avoid errors, leaving your buds looking way better.

•  A clean bucket or tray to catch the trimmed leaves

The tray or bucket is optional. Usually, growers who want to make extractions with the trim will trim their buds and collect the excess plant material in buckets or trays.

This can also help you avoid all the cleaning up after trimming. Collecting the excess plant material in a bucket or tray as you go will save you from having to sweep and cleaning after trimming.

 

Drying cannabis buds after trimming.
 

•  Clothing hangers or drying nets to place the buds after trimming

You need a place to hold the trimmed buds after. Clothing hangers or clothing lines are used when you harvest the whole plant, drying nets are for when you remove the buds from the branches when trimming. 

This is up to you and it doesn’t matter which way you do it, you will need a place to place your buds while you haven’t finished trimming all.

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How to Dry Cannabis Buds

2. How To Trim Your Buds? 

Trimming consists of removing the excess plant material such as leaves and sometimes excess pistils to leave the bud looking good and appealing.

In the trimming process, aim to take away everything that isn’t fully covered in trichomes. Try to create a uniform surface area around the buds, this includes removing pistils all the way to the foliage. Pistils have very little trichomes and should only be kept long for the looks.

 

Trimming Cannabis Buds after harvesting.
 

The way you’re trimming depends on the goal for that batch of flowers. It can be different if you’re making extracts, edibles or you’re smoking the flower.

Usually, if you’re smoking the flowers, you want to trim the buds the best way possible, removing every excess possible.

When using the buds to make edibles or extracts you want to trim a little bit less so you can extract all the trichomes possible, this is because you won’t see the flowers in the final product.

Wet Trimming vs Dry Trimming

Although there is an accepted best time to harvest cannabis, the best time to trim and manicure your cannabis is debated among growers.

There are two ways to manicure them: wet trimming, and dry trimming. 

Some prefer wet trimming while others prefer dry trimming. Both are correct in certain circumstances, it all depends on things like time and the environment of the curing process, so it’s up to you do decide which one will work best.

Wet Trimming

Trimming your cannabis before drying is known as a “wet trim” because the leaves are still wet during the trimming process. This method is arguably the most preferred method for several reasons.

Wet trimming gives you better access to your buds, the small leaves will be out due to their moisture content, making their removal an easy process.

 

Trimming this way will also result in faster drying because the extra plant material will be trimmed off.
 

Note: Drying buds extremely fast will leave them smelling like hay. Even though they will dry faster, you should not accelerate the process even more (e.g. by applying heat or fans facing directly onto the buds).

Wet trimming is better when:

•  Your relative humidity is above 60%, removing the excess plant material before drying prevents mold.

•  You have a small drying space, removing the excess plant material will let you fit more buds in the same space.

•  You want buds to dry more quickly, trimming leaves before drying will remove the excess moisture.

Dry Trimming

Dry trimming occurs after the drying process, this process can take 10-15 days, in this period buds will lose most of their moisture

Many growers prefer dry timing because it tends to be easier and less messy. Wet trimming can leave your hands and shears covered in resin very quickly, you will need a lot of cleaning breaks before finishing.

 

Either way, both methods work well and you should decide which one you prefer by experimenting and seeing whats is better in your situation.
 

Dry trimming is better when:

•  You’re not worried about mold.

•  Your relative humidity levels are below 45%.

•  You want buds to dry more slowly (drying buds too fast may cause them to smell like hay).

Trimming Machine

There are various trimmer models available, the most common ones work by introducing the buds into a machine where the leaves are removed and separated from the buds.

Usually, trimming machines are used when you want to make extractions, edibles, or any type of cannabis product where people don’t see the buds. It is also used for trimming CBD buds.

 

Trimming machine to harvest Cannabis will save you a lot of time.
 

Using trimming machines is super easy and work-less. Although the buds won’t look as good as if you trim by hand, this will save you a lot of time and can be helpful in some cases.

3. Disposing Of The Rest Of Your Plant

After you finished trimming your plant, you’ll be left with all the branches, roots, and other small parts of your cannabis plant.

If you live in a place where cannabis is illegal you should be really careful. To prevent any problems, cut your plant into small pieces, and put it in a double bag.

If possible, try not to throw it in the trash until the day your trash is picked up, this prevents people from going through your trash and accidentally finding the plant material.

4. Tips For Trimming

Always use the tips of your scissors when trimming, this will keep your tools cleaner for longer.

Save your trim for edibles or extractions. There is still a good amount of trichomes content in this excess plant material.

The sticky residue left in your scissors and hands is a great way to try your freshly trimmed plant if you’re eager to try it. Also known as scissor hash or finger hash, it can be rolled into a joint.

5. In Conclusion

It really doesn’t matter how your buds look as long as you don’t have any problems with mold or your buds smelling like hay. There is no correct way to trim and how you do it it’s almost entirely up to you, as long as you follow the basic guidelines.

Trimming shouldn’t be a tedious activity, listen to some music and have fun, soon you’ll be trying your newly-harvested flowers.

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20 May 2020
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