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Pruning Marijuana Plants

Pruning Marijuana Plants

If you do it right, pruning your valuable marijuana plants can lead to a much higher yield. It’s one step more advanced than the basics of giving the plants life and keeping them happy and healthy.

It is not something to be done without much thought, planning, or understanding. If you don’t fully know what you’re doing, don’t prune at all.

Some experienced growers will actually never prune their plants. Their philosophy is more about allowing nature to do its thing. They have a good point - without pruning, they are probably doing quite well as marijuana farmers and are completely avoiding the risks that come with pruning.

That being said, pruning in a controlled, moderate way can be extremely useful. When done correctly, pruning in this way can be a crucial way of getting the healthiest, best growing plants with the most THC in your final product.

In this article, I will equip you with the knowledge you need to properly and safely prune your marijuana plants. Keep reading and learn to prune like a pro!

How to prune?

By definition, pruning marijuana is simply the process of clipping pieces of a plant off. If the grower can remove these pieces in small and specific amounts, they will actually achieve a stronger plant.

Especially when taking off parts of the plant that are already dead (such as discolored leaves), it can be compared to removing dead tissue from a human’s wound.

Pruning dead marijuana leaves

You can prune bottom leaves if they turn yellow

The death of a certain amount of leaves is a normal part of a marijuana plant’s life cycle, and their swift removal could save your plant the resources that are being wasted on dying limbs. These leaves don’t die quickly, so by clipping their stems early, you might be saving your plant weeks of extra effort.

These resources are then focused on more important things, like the still-healthy leaves on the plant, or growing brand new leaves. Because of a more efficient use of resources, the end result will be a larger, healthier plant.

Pruning also encourages new branches to grow on your plants. Once your plant begins having a pair of leaves sprouting from the very top on a daily basis, the topmost leaf will grow some new branches. That’s good news because more branches mean a higher yield.

How to prune?

One way of pruning, you may want to consider is, once these new branches start sprouting leaves, removing the original shade leaves from which they grew. They will yellow and die eventually anyway, so by removing them earlier you can allow your plant to focus its valuable resources on other things.

Removing these leaves also provides more sunlight to the smaller leaves closer to the base of the plant, which gets them to grow faster and produce more chlorophyll.

Before and after pinching

Pinching cannabis

Left = before pruning and right = after pruning. You can remove all bottom shoots that get no light

You can also take away the plant’s top, as well as the ends of its branches. This will also help to stimulate branch growth. When you cut off the end of a branch, the growth there will slow down for a while, but then two new branches will come out from that spot.

Tip: make sure to download my free Grow Bible for more information about pruning your plants

It can lead to bushier plants with more branches - and, therefore, more leaves. Some people prefer not to do it since it slows down growth to a certain extent.

When to prune?

You can start thinking about pruning in the second week of the growing phase. At that time, your plant will have several internodes, and you’ll be able to see a bit how it’s growing. If you are growing an Indica plant, wait another week - they grow a bit slower than Sativas.

Since growing continues until the third week of flowering, you can prune up to the second week of flowering. This gives your plants some time to recover. They’ll always need a couple of days to recover after a pruning session.

When to prune?

It’s even possible that they stop growing during this period because all their energy is focused on recovery. Since you want as much energy as possible to go to the buds, do not prune after the first two weeks of the flowering period.

Until then, remove about a quarter of the new side shoots every week. Be sure to leave the older leaves and twigs, because they produce a lot of sugars. You also should ensure you keep enough fully grown leaf surface. They produce sugar and prevent light from being lost by falling to the ground.

You will need to decide which of the following pruning methods will be best for you. Each one comes with its own set of challenges and benefits, so choose carefully. You can also sometimes use more than one method together to form a combined plan of sorts. Keep reading to learn the advantages of using certain pruning techniques.

How to top marijuana plants?

Topping marijuana plants involves cutting off the main shoot at the top, thus stimulating the growth of more shoots and branches. Over time, it will turn the plant’s overall shape into a downward-facing cone, which will help your plant maximize the sunlight that it receives.

This is especially important if you have a grow room indoors since your light is limited (and expensive) compared to natural sunlight.

You can decide to start topping as soon as your plant seems strong enough. Check for the secondary growth that is located near the low nodes - this is a reliable sign that your plant can withstand topping.

How to Top?

Here is why topping works - a shoot grows into 2 new petioles with leaves on them. The middle of the shoot contains a new shoot, and new shoots will be formed in the axils. A shoot, therefore, consists of 2x2 leaves, crosswise against each other.  By removing this, the two shoots in the axils will grow to become the main buds.

Note: After your plant’s fifth leaf pair has popped up, you can safely cut off the main shoot

When you are topping, make sure you only cut the latest shoot, so you only inflict minimal damage to the plant. It’s important to remember that your plant is damaged, so it will use its energy to heal the wound, and won’t grow much for a couple of days.

You can top multiple times if you want to, but remember to leave some time in between sessions, so the plant can recover. Topping is always done during the growing phase, and possibly in the first week of flowering at the very latest. Otherwise, the plant has no time to grow wider, making the practice a waste of your time and your plant’s energy. More about this in my free marijuana grow bible


Why should you top?

Topping is useful if your growing room isn’t very tall. Sativas can grow very quickly and can become very tall, so it is especially useful for them. Since they don’t get very wide, you have to place many plants close to each other, to prevent wasted light. The light that doesn’t hit the leaves and falls on the ground is considered lost energy.

By topping your plants, they will stop growing up and start growing out. Because of this, you can leave more room between plants and still have a beautiful green blanket. Don’t bother topping Indicas, they grow much slower, and take too long.

Why topping?

Another advantage of topping is that the plant can absorb more light. This is because it becomes wider and develops more leaves that can absorb the light. This can significantly increase yield - especially outdoors. It also applies to indoor plants, but it’s easier to use more plants to prevent light loss, rather than topping.

Lastly, topping also spreads your risks of disease. Since the process produces more main buds that are not as big, they’re not as sensitive to bud rot and/or other nasty diseases. This is mostly an advantage for outdoor plants, where growers can’t control the climate. Indoor growers have it easy, they can simply place more plants and not worry about topping.

Topping result after 3 weeks

Again, be careful with the big, heavy plants, because there’s a chance that the plant will split in half under its own weight. It’s best to strengthen the plant with some tape, just under the topping, to prevent splitting. Once again, this concern is more for outdoor plants.


Fimming is the partial removal of the latest shoot of a plant. When done, it creates four main buds instead of one.

A fimmed plant is wider than and not as tall as a typical plant. It also has more leaves exposed to light, causing more light to be absorbed. While the process damages the plant a bit, most recover quite well, making it a useful method of increasing yield.

How to Fim?

After it is cut, the shoot grows into 2 new petioles, each with their own leaf. The middle of the shoot contains a new shoot, and new shoots will be formed in the axils. A shoot, therefore, consists of 2x2 leaves, crosswise against each other.

By removing two-thirds of it, you’re only cutting off the leaves, while leaving the stems. These will, along with the shoots in the axils, grow to become main buds. So, you end up with four main buds. Make sure you don’t cut off too much, or you’ll only end up with two main buds.

Note: I never fim Indicas; they grow too slow, and the vegetative stage would last too long

Fimming damages the plant, and it will use its energy to heal the wound so this can slow down the growth a bit. You may also notice that the newest pair of leaves are damaged when it starts to grow, but this is normal.

Leaf damage after fimming

Fimming damages foliage

Fimming can damage some leaves but that's no problem

You can fim multiple times, but leave some time in between fimming sessions for recovery. Fim during the growing phase and possibly the first week of flowering at the very latest. Otherwise, the plant has no time to grow wider, completely defeating the purpose.

Why should you fim?

If your grow room isn’t very tall, fimming is very useful. In the case of Sativas, they grow very quickly and can become very tall. Fimming helps them grow wider instead of taller.

Fimming also helps your plants absorb more light. Since they don’t get very wide, Sativas are placed close to each other to use all of the light. The light that doesn’t hit the leaves and falls on the ground is considered lost energy.

When fimming, the plants temporarily stop growing lengthwise and mainly grow in width. Now, you can then leave some more room between plants while maintaining a nice green blanket of leaves.

Fimming results after 5 days

Plants that have more leaves that can absorb light will produce a greater yield, and the fimming process increases light exposure to leaves. Fimming is especially useful outdoors and is the secret behind those gigantic outdoor plants featured in pictures. It also works for indoor plants, but it is easier to use additional plants to make sure no light is lost.

It’s important to mention the fact that fimming spreads your risk of disease. Instead of a few big buds getting ruined, the process produces more main buds, and because they’re not as big, they’re not as sensitive to bud rot and/or other nasty diseases. Once again, this is a significant advantage for outdoor plants.

Tip: make sure to download my free Grow Bible for more information about pruning your plants

These plants have fewer defenses since you can’t control the climate and the moist fall air is perfect for bud rot. Indoor growers can simply place more plants without fimming them to spread the risks.

Be careful if you have a gigantic, heavy plant because there’s a chance that the plant will split in half under its own weight. It’s best to start strengthening the plant with some tape, just under the fimming, to prevent splitting. This only applies to outdoor plants, because they get much bigger and heavier than indoor plants.

Super cropping

The basic idea behind super cropping is crushing the stem’s soft interior. When done correctly, super cropping should stimulate health, bring a higher yield, and increase potency.

Just like with any injury, animal or plant, breaking the tissue down will cause it to be rebuilt more strongly. When you crush the inside of the stem (which is where nutrients and water are transported), it will be rebuilt thicker and stronger, allowing for even more efficient transport for these key elements.

How to Super crop?

The whole plant will become healthier if you pinch the center stem. If you pinch the branches on the side, you can control the shape of your plant. You can simply (and gently) bend the branch in whatever direction you want it to grow.

Super Cropping Tutorial by Med Grow Cannabis

The best time to carry out super cropping is the second or third week of your plant’s vegetation stage. Simply pinch and twist the branch simultaneously between your thumb and pointer finger, and bend the branch (without breaking it).

Let it go as soon as you’ve felt it give way; even if it droops a bit, it will heal in time. Read the article Super cropping marijuana plants for more info

Low stress training

The letters “LST” stand for “Low Stress Training.” Topping and super cropping are methods that can be considered opposite - they are High Stress Training or HST.

LST is a safer option than HST since HST actually damages the plant at first. That being said, you can combine topping and LST training nicely (although plenty of successful growers choose the LST-only route and don’t do any topping at all).

How to Low Stress Training?

LST is a type of pruning (or, more accurately, a type of training) that involves tying down your marijuana plant, thus stimulating the growth of all the shoots newly placed above the main stalk. This is because your plant has been tricked into thinking it no longer has a main shoot, meaning it prioritizes its resources into growing its other stems faster.

Super cropping cannabis pruning

Super cropping your cannabis plant. Picture by 420 magazine

This will allow your plant to become denser and bushier. The key thing to remember with this method is to never rush. This is a technique that takes time and patience, and anyone who tries to do it too quickly will have poor results.

LST marijuana

Beautiful LST example

There are many other techniques out there for savvy growers, so if you are interested you should do some more research to find out what the perfect pruning technique is for you. There are also other ways of “training” your plant that could come in handy, so make sure you know all of your options before beginning. Read the article Low stress training marijuana plants for more info.

Monster cropping

Monster Cropping (a.k.a. flowering clones) is new method of growing that one of our members brought to my attention. Monster Cropping essentially involves taking clones from flowering marijuana plants, and then rooting those clones.

They will reenter vegetative state and eventually create super-bushy plants with a large amount of nodes and branches. This method was dubbed “Monster Cropping,” because that’s exactly what you’ll end up with—huge, monster plants.

Monster cropping weed plants

Monster cropping

Flowering plants typically aren’t a source for clones, and most experts will tell you that it goes against most rules of cannabis cultivation. Even so, the science behind Monster Cropping is legitimate, and you will certainly enjoy the results. Read the article Monster cropping marijuana plants for more info


Lollipopping is a technique that removes the lower growth of your plants to promote better bud development on the top. By eliminating the competing growth, energy is directed to the main kola sites. This technique is especially useful in setups that have no side lighting to reach the lower regions of the plant.

The main idea behind lollipopping is simple. Remove the overly shaded parts of the plant that are unlikely to be productive. Then, force the plant’s energy to bypass these sites and go straight into producing larger colas.

What is lollipopping

Lollipopping - No bottom leaves or small buds - Picture by

Removing the lower bushier growth can also improve air circulation around the bottom parts of the plant where humidity often builds up, especially after watering. For bushy plants that are susceptible to mold or other fungal infections, it lowers their risk. It also useful when growing outdoors in damp climates.


When to Lollipop

This also is a controversial topic. Most growers agree that lollipopping should take place during the veg phase. It can be done as a continuous process or all in one go but do so around a couple of weeks before you being the 12 hours of light/12 hours of darkness. This way, your plants have time to recover from the shock you just put them through before beginning their flowering mode.

When to lollipop

Some people believe you should never lollipop once the plant has started flowering. However, as long as the main work is done during the vegetative stage, you can do some light maintenance during the flowering period. You may want to prune those branches that haven’t quite made it to the canopy or remove the tiny popcorn buds that begin to form on the bare lower branches.

How to Lollipop

There are basically two ways to lollipop your plants; which one you use will depend on the results you seek.

Technique #1 – Top Down Lollipopping
It’s called ‘lollipop’ because of the shape of the plant once you have finished with it. When the lower growth is removed, all that remains is a plant with a long bare stem and one or more large colas on top. (However, this may vary a bit, depending on if you used other techniques.)

While many growers consider this technique to be extreme, it is a quite simple process. Choose a point that’s about 4 nodes down from the growing tip of the plant, (or wherever you want the canopy growth to begin), then remove the growth from the main stem below that point.

Pruning lollipop

To remove the growth, simply grasp the main stem between thumb and forefinger and slide downwards, taking the side shoots with you as you go. It’s a simple step, but be careful not to damage the main stem. It’s best to use a clean, sharp blade or scissors.

Technique #2 – Bottom Up Lollipopping
This is a not as severe a form of lollipopping – perhaps even, a “lollipopping lite.” It is also the most common way to lollipop marijuana plants. Check out these pictures by

To do the bottom up method, start at the bottom and work upwards. Remove short main lateral branches and any leaves on the lateral branches. If they are too short to make the top of the canopy, they should go. In the end, the bottom third of the plant should be bare of any growth. This type of lollipopping often requires some maintenance trimming while the plant grows. You’d use this kind of technique when SCROG growing.

Increase yield

There are some benefits to pruning. When done correctly, it can improve sugar distribution and increase your yield. I recommend pruning young leaves or side shoots. The tiny buds at the bottom of the plant are a great thing to let go as they do not yield anything worthwhile and won’t grow to the size of other buds. They will use energy, however, which a waste since you won’t use them.

Increasing yield pruning

Proper pruning can increase your yield with 25%

Don't prune large fan leaves. Plants produce sugar so they can grow, and a marijuana plant needs to produce a lot of it. It creates sugar by converting water, light, and CO2. This process also creates oxygen. This sugar is sent to the buds, side shoots, and young leaves because they grow quickly and use a lot of sugar. The larger, fully-developed leaves produce their sugar.

Note: Pruning can be harmful to your plant and lower your yield if you don’t know what you are doing, so don’t if you are new to growing

If you are new to growing (less than three times), now is not the time to start. Take some time to learn what a fully-grown plant looks like first. Look for the buds at the bottom of the plant.

If you’ve already grown a few times, try pruning a couple of plants. Don’t prune them all - that way you can compare your pruned plants to the plants you haven’t pruned.

Most importantly, don’t expect to master this technique the first time you do it. Pruning is something you do intuitively. If done correctly you can increase your yield with 25%


Plenty of new, excited growers make the mistake of overpruning their cannabis plants. This can often happen because these new growers want to take off as many THC-filled leaves as possible, even before harvest time.

It’s true that you will probably get more enjoyment from it than from buying a bag of pot in the meantime, but you must proceed with caution. Remember: the best weed won’t come until it’s actually harvest time. You must not do anything that could slow down growth and reduce the productivity of the flowering stage.

There are a few things to avoid when you are pruning your plants. First of all, if there are no branches growing out of a leaf’s basal stem, never cut that leaf off. Don’t strip one branch or stalk of all its leaves.

Proper way to prune

Proper way to prune

When pruning, don’t tear a leaf away with your hands; rather, cut them with scissors or a knife (make sure your tool of choice is quite sharp before use, check these pruning tools).

It is also important to remember to water your plant immediately after pruning it. It will reduce the amount of shock to your plant, and will stimulate growth. This will be especially effective if you include plant food when watering. If you follow this advice, you will be able to prune in a productive, helpful way rather than harming your plant or slowing down its growth.

Unfortunately, any leaves that you prune when your plants are less than 3 months old will not be very smokable. This may feel like a waste, but remember that the point of pruning is not to have an early stock of weed, but rather to improve your overall yield in the end.

The reason your plants won’t have enough THC until they are three months old is for an ingenious reason. In general, leaf-eating bugs typically start becoming active (and hungry) roughly three months into the growing season. Because THC repels insects, this is around the time when marijuana plants need to have lots of THC to keep those hungry bugs away. Therefore, they increase their levels of THC around the three-month mark.

If you are really curious and impatient, you can go ahead and try smoking some leaves earlier than mid-July, but don’t be disappointed when it doesn’t end with a successful high. You will, therefore, have to throw away most leaves that you prune, but make sure you do even that with care. Burning is the best option, since it won’t leave any evidence of your marijuana possession.

harvest time

Prune to improve your overall yield

If you are planning on jumping into the growing scene without proper research, be very aware of the fact that there is no guarantee for success.  Sometimes even a fully mature marijuana plant’s buds won’t have enough THC to achieve a high. This will only occur when the plants are improperly tended, so as long as you do the proper research and tend your plants responsibly, it should not happen to you.

If you want to be extremely cautious, you should only prune the leaves that already look unhealthy. If they are turning yellow or have brown tips, if their lobes are partially eaten, and if they are withered at all, you can (and should) safely remove those leaves. When the bases of leaves have branches coming out of them, you can remove those leaves. Always begin with leaves that are the highest up, as this will encourage smaller leaves down below to speed up their growth.

Responsible, strategic pruning will allow your plant to enhance its ability to produce THC and repel insects. It will increase your yield in the end, and could provide you with some weed to smoke in the meantime. All in all, when done responsibly, pruning your plants could be a very wise decision for you.

Thanks for reading. Please leave comments or questions below and don't forget to download my free grow bible


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Comment Section

96 thoughts on “Pruning Marijuana Plants

By Steve on 26 August 2013

Excellent article, just what I needed to know. Thanks.

By Tim on 24 June 2017

Can I pinch out my tips and flip um to 12 x12 straight away

By Mo white on 13 August 2017

Well it's my first time got 3 plants a bit confused about useing tap water and plant food?

By L K on 2 September 2018

Shame on you for being so hateful and using vulgar, vile language.
You need to check yourself, stay off this site, Now. What a black Spirit you are..

By Marilyn Olsen on 3 June 2015

The information you offer is the most concise that I have found! But, again, it's called "weed" for a reason. I am growing plants that come from 40-year-old seeds and they are in the flowering stage. I followed your 'lighting" information and that certainly helps, but my plants get their light from the sun that pours onto the windowsill. I'm a newbe, so wish me luck!

By Jennifer ILGM on 3 June 2015

Marilyn, thanks for sharing. Good luck and keep us posted!

By Rick Macoy on 15 September 2017

40 yrold seeds are not gonns have the punch the nee stuff has, less its collumbian gold or thai. Use good seeds. Very important. Im jußt another ol head, learnin the game. But you gotta have good seeds.

By Debbie on 15 June 2015

Your tips are awesome and I couldn't do what Im doing with out you! thanks! Debbie

By Kelsey on 18 July 2015

I've been wanting to grow for a while and this has just what I need to hopefully get beautiful healthy buds... thank you!

By MJCTHC1 on 2 August 2015

I always thought you could combine topping and super-cropping, why do you recommend against it?, thanks in advance.

By Dick on 5 August 2015

I would just like to add that smoking leaves is not a good idea. You'll get a pretty gnarly headache and except for the sugar leaves, which are covered in trichs and is where most cannabinoids and such are located, the leaves don't contain much THC. Letting your plant fill out trimming what is necessary for light penetration to bud sites and then just using all your trim, including the leaves, to make butter or oil would probably be your best bet if you'd like to get the most from your plants. Lots of other good info though.

By jessica on 10 October 2015

Hi so I pinched the top of my plant in its early stage causing it to fork into two shoots. When it went into 12/12 my porch light was left on and caused the back half of my plant to go in to 12/12 two weeks late. I'm just wondering can I harvest one of the shoots and let the other shoot grow or will that send it into shock? What is my best option to harvest? Thanks.

By Jman on 17 January 2017

As long as the light leak is fixed you can continue your grow. Both plants were probably affected if they were beside each other. But if light leak is taken care of you should be ok
Plants will slow or stop growing for a minute but should resort back to a healthy grow after a few days. Just be careful with light leaks as they can and do cuz plants to go Hermie on you.

By latewoodl on 15 October 2015

That would definitely shock the plant. It also sounds like you would be harvesting part of the plant prematurely. Not a good idea really. Hope this helps.

Perhaps you would enjoy our Support Forum. Join up and experience a friendly grow community with many helpful experts and contributing members. 🙂

By Denise on 28 October 2015

Hi Robert, I just want to say thank you for taking the time to share with all of us your wisdom! My daughter and I have just begun to grow and she is quite a bit more knowledgeable than I am but this is both our first time growing. Naturally we have been given advice from others, read all kinds of stuff on the internet, and have gone by what my daughter has brought in from a friend or two that grows, (that being her source of knowledge). The more I read and hear from people, the more confused I seem to be. Until now! I found you, of course on line so I started reading and what I was reading I understood! Needless to say, my quest for finding info on a topic I know absolutely nothing about has ended here with you. I find your articles and how to's not only interesting but informative and easy to follow. We have done many things the wrong way, this being our first grow, but I am very confident that our next one is going to be much, much better, and I thank you. I look forward to your next email.
Stay cool! Sincerely, Denise

By Jennifer ILGM on 2 November 2015

Hi Denise, Thanks for sharing. Welcome to the ILGM grow community and be sure to join our grow support forum. You can learn a lot there from expert en fellow growers

By cher on 8 January 2016

Excellent knowledge for a novice grower so THANKFUL that you took the time to write and share thanks again

By Jay Campbell on 14 January 2016

I'm a new grower and have 2 growing atm. 1 plant I thought I'd made a mistake and I actually realized I topped the plant! This one I'm growing in a great soil mixture. The other I have only tipped the top after 5 branches and it is much bushier. This one I'm growing in coco fibre and perlite and using a 3 stage fertilizer. I also on both plants have removed only 2 lower branches. At night I use red and blue led lights. It will be interesting seeing the difference. As a newbie am I doing the right thing. Happy growing guy's and girl's.

By Jim Osborne on 6 January 2018

How did the one with the Coco fiber and perlite turn out? I have heard that the Coco fiber and perlite are just for aeration of the soil, and retain no water, or nutrients. I mix high quality potting soil (from a greenhouse) and layers of Coco fiber, maybe four layers, starting at the bottom to keep the soil from coming out. Seems to be working well.

By Brian on 19 February 2016

Noticed theres nothing saying to not prune or top while flowering.
Im 2 weeks into flower gonna prune and top tonight! Wish me luck!

By Jimpepper on 30 January 2017

When plants are flowering they are putting energy into that,not growing,so there is no more point to top it. It will not grow bushier.

By Bcbuddy on 19 February 2016

Reading your article on monster cropping by cloning flowering plants, my grow buddies and I have been doing that for many years, rooting results can be an issue, we also have been re-growing harvested plants. We leave a bit of leaf and some small lower buds and usually they will show new growth in a few days under 20 hours of light. They are truly monster plants the second time through the grow cycle. They already have a good root system and they grow very well. Is this a common practice or are we unique.

By latewood.ILGM on 19 February 2016


It is not uncommon at all to re-vegitate plants. I have done it with great success. The only difference between your method and mine is: I leave them in the flower room and reveg under 12/12. I get good results every time. 12-14 hours of light allow for much stronger rooting; FYI. Thanks for sharing

By Gene on 19 February 2016

Remember were the student's to the most unique plant ever and its Rare to find a post on re veging ..I have to say it's the most unique gift for indoor growers we can't ignore. .Its great for cloning and reflowering plants again instead of starting over with seeds..This is a must for all to learn. .Especially were its frowned and not allowed. .Knowing its a female why not re veg. .She is unique and deserves more credit ..

By Brian finney on 20 February 2016

OK so all that did was confuse me because I'm allways pruning for a higher yield. I don't cut off the original huge fan leaves the leaves I prune r the leaves on the bud stems so this way u have your main bud on etch stem & all the smaller nugz below the main bud on that stem. If I don't do this pruning method I wouldn't get nearly as much yield. So this article is telling me not to prune off the leaves on the bud stems & cut off the main huge fan leaves ???

By Percy thrower on 11 April 2017

Never cut leafs of they are the soler panels for your plant it might seem like some leafs are in the way of early flowering but just leave them alone they will sort there self's out the disinformation and bulshit I read on here is in credible I fell sorry for people trying to grow and only no what they see on the Internet cause after 30 years growing I'm telling you most info on the Web is wrong e c levels ph all bs

By latewood.ILGM on 22 February 2016


Sorry to say; I don't have an answer for you. Removing dead leaves is prudent; It is not a good idea to remove healthy leaves. No confusion. Fact

By Robert on 22 February 2016

Beginners at growing, we have started by cloning and they are growing very well. Keep this information coming the articles are educational and very helpful. We just tipped the new plants and already have new shoots emerging, approx., 4 or 5 new stems on each. Not sure what nugz stands for, but following you suggestions seems to be enhancing the growth. Thanks you.

By Jennifer ILGM on 23 February 2016

Hi Robert, that's great, keep us posted we love the hear from fellow growers.

By Kris on 24 February 2016

Nugz = nuggets = bud, nothing but an acronym.

By Betty on 31 July 2016

Hi! Thank you so much for your great information, very helpful. I'm in my second year growing, going for the CBD side of things. Growing these beautiful plants with your advice is fun.

By Roy ILGM on 1 August 2016

Good to hear you're enjoying the process Betty and we're glad to have helped!

By Deb on 16 March 2018

I acquired some baby high cbd low thc plants, new to growing and am not sure what to do for pruning them, when will they form buds and when do you harvest to make tincture, so far so good, they are thriving under grow lights with fertilizer tea. they are growing fast and look healthy. Thank you for your information.

By Abbott on 11 August 2016

I could use a calendar to track my plants' progress and needs. When should I be doing what and what should I expect week to week and month to month?
All your seeds did very well, but for operator error. My first grow will produce an excellent supply through the winter and I will try a few different strains next time around. Your advice is invaluable. Thank you.

By Roy ILGM on 11 August 2016

Thanks for the suggestion Abbott! We'll def look into it. Good to hear your first grow went well!!

By latewood.ILGM on 11 August 2016


Best way to keep up with your plant would be to join our support forum and start a grow journal. This way you will always have reference to your grows. Hopew to see you there! 🙂 lw

By Steve on 9 October 2016

Great read, but one thing I would like to know is how often can I pinch the tops of the branches .

By latewood.ILGM on 11 October 2016


I suggest you join our support forum. We have many knowledgeable growers that practice this technique and can help you better there. One thing to note; You do not want to over stress your plants, so exercise patience and do not go overboard with techniques like this.

Happy growing! lw

By Jimmy A Durham on 10 November 2016

Hi Latewood,,,This is for information purposes,,not meant to be contrary..
First Let Me Say.. I live in Colombia,,Very close to the equator,,at a altitude of 4000 feet..My daylight hours are constant at 12/12..My average temperatures are 65 F to highs of 81/82..I am a new grower having one harvest under my belt..
I made all the least I don't think I missed any..
After reading a lot and researching on the internet ,, I later tried pruning,,and because of ignorance I pruned very much and often,, I had one sativa plant that I pruned six or seven times..always leaving on all the fan leaves that I could,,It was heavy with buds also..I tried to cut only the buds..The plant responded instantly by providing new flower at the bud cut site..I harvested a lot of cannabis from that plant..
Yes ,I do live in a nearly perfect location,,and I sure that this contributed greatly to the yield..I'm now into my third grow,,,and seven plants growing..I hard pruned all of them several times,,often twice a day..clipping new flower locations at every junction....all are sativa and the plants respond by making two new shoots at the cut..Again I do not mean to be critical or argumentative...I'm just passing along "My Learin's "

By Coffy on 28 October 2016

I thank you for such welcoming information. I'm not new to growing weed. I don't have the luxury of special strains. Mostly regular seeds.I get a lot from your articles.

By Roy ILGM on 31 October 2016

Glad to help out Coffy! 😀

By Tamas on 28 October 2016

I find that the leaves make a good mix instead of throwing them out.

By latewood.ILGM on 28 October 2016


We appreciate your kind words. Robert set up a pretty cool place. If you like the articles here, you should join our support forum. We have a friendly community with helpful knowledgeable growers always sharing information. 😀

By Jag907 on 3 November 2016

Robert said something very true about beginners and pretty much just being there for your babies will make all the difference in how they turn out I appreciate all the knowledge thank you

By Jag907 on 3 November 2016

My very first grow I didn't get much but the quality was outstanding

By Jag907 on 3 November 2016

Probably because I took very good care of them

By Roy ILGM on 4 November 2016

It works! You can get far with just a little basic knowledge and care.

By 5evcenko on 29 November 2016

it is not good idea to smoke leaves, but article is helpuful

By Weedlover46 on 27 January 2017

I take my cuttings to my friends house and he makes hash with them I don't know how he does it but it will knock u out

By Roy ILGM on 30 January 2017

He probably uses the bubble bags method. Great way to get superb hashish 😀

By LK on 4 September 2018

Please tell me what the Bubble Bag method is...

By Stacy ILGM on 4 September 2018

I can advise you to take a look at this informative thread on our Grow support forum!

By Gregg Marganella on 18 June 2017

RE: "Sometimes even a fully mature marijuana plant’s buds won’t have enough THC to achieve a high."

THAT is a load of Horsesh*t!
I am well over 50 and have never heard or read that in my life.
Pot is Pot....if it doesn't get you high it is something else. It is not Pot.

By Tony on 14 December 2017

Have you ever heard of CBD? Some plants have lots of CBD and very little THC. Take a look at Hemp. No THC. Try getting high on that crap.

By todd on 4 July 2017

i was given a female well past the flowering stage and planted her outside, it is my first plant ever. I have been told to prune her but she is growing nicely and seems to be doing great on her own she is about 3and a half feet now and is filling in nicely , so when should she start to bud and when should she be harvested. i feel really stupid in this as i have smoked for over 20 rs but never grew. am interested in keeping her healthy and productive. i was told she would not bud up without some pruning and i want to suceed in this new growth of mine, please offer any and all suggestions as to the right time and care. im being patient and watching her grow.

By Randy on 7 July 2017

I am having a weird Harvest. I grew two plants. White Widow which is 60/40 Sativa dom. and Big Bud which is 85/15 Indica dom. But, the WW grew as an Indica and was done at 56 days and the BB grew as a Sativa and was 73 days when harvested. The BB has snow covered buds and the THC content will be very nice. Strange genetic growing though. Have you experienced anything like this?
Plants growing differently than their genetics or did I just get random seeds when buying. I wonder if that is the case so all one can really do is buy seeds and watch what they grows as and instead of calling weed by name just call it by genetic. Lol

By Roy ILGM on 7 July 2017

Hi Randy, it sounds to me the two seeds somehow got switched.. surprise!... 😀

I'll tell them to drink more coffee and stay sharp.

By Randy on 7 July 2017

Ya know Roy, that thought crossed my mind but the WW looked at the end similar to picture of WW I have seen and the BB is exactly like the pictures I have seen. The BB had thin leaves and the flowering time did not want to end. 73 days.
The trichomes on the BB are very sugary. and the color of the bud is the traditional light greens. The flowers also grew from the top all the way down each stem to the dirt. When cutting to dry the bottom nugs were so low I had to trim them off so I could hang them. Thanks

By latewood.ILGM on 11 July 2017


No need to feel stupid. Growing your won medication takes planning, and a solid foundation for success. Do not be discouraged. Join our forum at ilvegrowingmarijuana.con. We would love to help you grow successfully from start to finish.

By latewood_ILGM on 11 July 2017

Sorry for the typo.

By Colin on 22 August 2017

Can I crop the same plant several time the buds on top are mature the ones below need more time they are 12' tall

By latewood_ILGM on 20 September 2017


As long as the stem is supple, and you have several weeks left to grow; I would say yes to your question.

By Joe on 25 August 2017

I am presently growing Purple Kush outdoors and am in the process of building a hydroponics set-up in a 4 X 8 grow tent with a 6oo W Metal Halide/HPS set of bulbs. I was hoping to use the scrogging method but you don't recommend it for Indica. Since purple kush is a hybrid of Sativa and Indica, does the "no scrogging still apply?

By latewood_ILGM on 20 September 2017


Make your own choices. If you want to SCROG a Purple Kush, then do it. Only way to learn

By Lynn Nichols on 16 September 2017

One of 5 of my Trainwrecks buds have turned red in the center and the hairs are gone. Is this normal? She's a beauty 7' tall.

By latewood_ILGM on 20 September 2017


You better join our forum and let us see some images of what you are talking about. ilovegrowingmarijuana. com

We are not set up here in the blog for that type support. See you at ILGM support forum. 🙂

By Nely420 on 20 November 2017

Hey Robert, what does this sentence say? "Once your plant begins having a pair of leaves sprouting from the very top on a daily basis, the topmost leaf will grow some new branches." I copied it from your section on pruning and I have to admit, I write some stuff when I am stoned but even stoned, I don't know what you are saying.

By latewood_ILGM on 22 November 2017


"Once your plant begins having a pair of leaves sprouting from the very top on a daily basis, the topmost leaf will grow some new branches"

It means; "After you prune or top, secondary limbs will cone from each node, and grow. The top will continue to produce new nodes and leaves, getting longer.

Happy growing.

By Steve on 4 April 2018

Robert is absolutely right in that pruning needs to be learned gradually as you get more experience. The response to it is very similar to how tomato plants behave. However, don't throw your trimmed leaves away. Just leave them in a container where the air can get to them. They will dry out naturally. Then they can be crumbled up by hand or in a coffee grinder. Use these to make cannabutter. There *are* active components in any leaf material. Whether this is THC or CBD is subject to debate. The more plant material used, will inevitably increase the strength you experience from your edibles. Test a small amount first before eating a lot, so you can gauge the strength. I use coconut oil + Soya Lecithin in a MB machine. Test a little on something 2" X 1" first after 90mins + before eating a bigger amount.

By Steve on 4 April 2018

I made a typo. I use sunflower Lecithin - not soya.

By Cannubis on 4 April 2018

some problems with your article:
o You say not to prune with just your fingers, but sseveral of your pix show exactly that.
o It's often not clear whether you're talking about indoors or outdoors,
o Is it really science that pruning increases total bud mass, or does it just look like it? Pruning stresses the plant (as you noted), and the growth rate of plants has to be largely determined by how much sugar the leaves produce, all other things being the same. Is prunig really only useful to keep the plants small enough to fit into your grow space?
o I don't think your photo shows the result of rooting cuttings during flowering (which is known to be very difficult).

By latewood_ILGM on 18 April 2018


Thanks for sharing. These articles are generally meant for newbies and it is better to teach nrebies not to use their hands. Of course this falls on deaf ears and in fact we all tent to touch the plant. The difference is; An expert knows how to manage a plant while a newbie will panic if they carry a disease to a plant; So, I would call it preventative advice.

\Indoor or outdoor doesn;t matter and is a moot point.

Everything about growing marijuana is a debate and a matter of personal choice. Agree, disagree, Do it, don't do it...All personal belief and individual growers choice. All the info here is more of a guideline that works. each grower has to decide what method works for them.

Personally; I always yield more when not pruning all all. Although pruning or topping creates more bud sites or more energy to what is left; I don't believe you can increase your yield; However, I do have expert friends that have the ability to measure THC levels and it appears that some advanced methods allow for that. Thanks for your questions.

By Eric Jensen on 4 April 2018

I contacted you last year about my experiment - growing pot hydroponically outdoors in a river. I live on a houseboat and have plastic barrels cut in half and half filled with soil. the bottoms of the half-barrels have holes drilled through to allow the roots to pass through the soil, through the holes, and into the Willamette River, which is full of silt. I try to plant a little late because the river stays really cold when the snow melts off in May and June. But once that's warmed up the pot plants love that way of growing. Hazards include muskrats and beavers, which will feast on your plants and almost turn you into an NRA gun nut... well, I exaggerate. I say a pox on the houses of gun freaks. But a varmint attack can wipe out your whole crop. If you'd like, I'd be glad to send along some progress photos of my crop this year. I appreciate your newsletters and consider you to be very generous and thoughtful. I have glaucoma and was loosing field of vision until I talked my opthalmologist to authorize me to grow (that was before pot became legal in Oregon, now anybody can grow.) Best wishes,

By latewood_ILGM on 18 April 2018

Eric ,

If you want to share you story, go here:

Once you have established yourself as an active member, you can share your pictures. I would be worried about harmful bacteria growing directly in a lake or river. Be aware. 🙂

Happy growing

By Bella Linda on 28 May 2018

All I do is tie down my plant, it takes off when I do it. The yield is incredibly, two to
three pounds. Do not remove any of the sun leaves until it is dried. Like the way it makes my buds look when I trim em. It gives me enough smoke fer the year . Yur bible has helped me adapt to growin in Georgia, the climate an soil here are much different then Humboldt Co. in California. Many thanks to y'all!

By latewood_ILGM on 6 June 2018

Bella Linda,
Thanks for sharing and the kind words! 🙂 Peace

By RoyC on 3 June 2018

I pruned 1 plant of leaves that were blocking bud sites probably 5-10 leaves is this enough to hermie fem plants that are in flower.

By latewood_ILGM on 6 June 2018


Any stress can cause "hermie" effects. Light pruning should not hurt you. Keep in mind removing fan leaves is like taking a small piece of the heart and lungs from the plant; So, don't get carried away. Also; It is a myth that removing a leaf will add much to the bud you are trying to light up...Overall light to the entire plant produces the best photo synthesis. 🙂

Happy growing

By Scott Dentz on 16 August 2018

Terrific article, I've tried every one of these methods in the 25+ years I've been growing, think super cropping and some training is the way to go for me.

By LK on 4 September 2018

Hope you will delete Rick Karp's offensive message. Seems he has some
deeper problems, needs to sober up and apologize, in my opinion.
You and your dedicated staff have provided nothing but positive, valuable
information to all of us, to take or leave... Much depends upon our locations,
climates, resources available, reasons for growing in the first place... I derive
hours of valuable knowledge from your website, the blogs & Q/A's.
Growing anything should be fun, fulfilling, energizing and relaxing,
whether it's flowers, vegetables, trees. We are here to help one another, find
our own measures of peace, & our spots in the universe.
Whether to Fim, Scrog, Lollypop, top, bush, clone, --- its up to each of us
out here to make our own choices !! It's uncomfortable reading some people's
"Replies", when they start to fight and criticize each other's opinions....
Kinda takes the fun out of all this, don't you think?
Perhaps you can 'bleep' out the vulgar language, while still allowing these
nay-sayers to get their jollies... You don't owe them the space. LIfe is way too
Fleeting, for this negative stuff.
Looking forward to the good vibes & continued support from all of you.
Thanks, LK. Still hope Canada opens up❣

By Stacy ILGM on 4 September 2018

Hi LK,

Thank you so much for your kind words! And we have to agree with you, it's all about having fun growing and learning while doing it. People should feel free to share their experiences and opinions but Rick's comment was a bit rude without a reason indeed.

By Paul on 6 September 2018

Some good advice on here...thanks

By Drew on 10 September 2018

"When the bases of leaves have branches coming out of them, you can remove those leaves. Always begin with leaves that are the highest up, as this will encourage smaller leaves down below to speed up their growth."


By latewood_ILGM on 26 September 2018


Not sure what you are asking but, I do not agree with the quote, either. I would prune fan leaves from the bottom up. Hope this helps.

By Alienaj on 13 September 2018

LST on Banana Kush made it bud outdoors in August. Ready to harvest on Sept 15. My other Banana Kush is three weeks behind. Started early spring from Fem Seed. Great yield, looks like about . 24 ounces or more.

By Joe katrenak on 18 September 2018

Hello ,When growing auto flowers will the yield increase by pinching and pruning or is this for photo period only.Thank you

By latewood_ILGM on 26 September 2018


This is for photo's...Yes.

We do not top or prune auto's. Good question 🙂

By clafairy on 7 December 2018

too much reading, I'm confused... it there a difference between topping the plant to (say) start the scrogging process, and the pinching off the top tip to cause two tips to grow? I was guessing not, but then latewood's response says "we don't top (or prune) autos, yet in many place in all this great literature it says autos can be scrogged. I intend to try auto flowers for my next grow., and like the "science" of scrogging which I'm starting to get a handle on? thanx

By latewood_ILGM on 7 December 2018

You do not necessarily have to top the plant to SCROG. Another thing I always tell people is to try it and see for yourself. I know many who have manipulated "Autos" IMO, it was not that successful, but to each his own. You may achieve a result that you are happy with. Personally; I recommend you use feminized seeds to get a much bigger yield. Then you can top away 😀

By Jim B on 8 December 2018

Thanks for all the information about various ways to grow. I have a Bruce Banner plant (from your seeds) into its second week of flowering outdoors here in San Diego; yes December 8! I couldn't wait till Spring to try out one of the seeds I purchased. So far, so good; lots of flowers forming. I'm trying to get some clone cuttings with budding flowers to take root. Should I remove the flowers from these to help them? Thanks again for all this information!

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