Harvest time is fast approaching and no one can be happier than the grower that has spent months taking care of his green babies to produce top shelf bud.  However, the job isn’t over yet, another hurdle has to be jumped before reaping the rewards: trimming. 

Trimming is an important aspect of harvesting because it can make such a great impact on the look, potency, and smoke of the final marijuana. Well trimmed bud will make buyers excited and it will sell much more quickly because it is aesthetically pleasing and shows off the beauty of the cannabis. Badly trimmed bud does not give off a good first impression and brings down the entire quality of the cannabis. Poorly trimmed bud dilutes the overall potency of the flower as the less potent leaves are wrapping around the outside of the bud and smoking it will feel more harsh.

If you are simply growing a few plants for your own personal use then by all means trim, or don’t trim, to your liking. Although, if you wanted to sell some bud to a local dispensary then you should do a good job of trimming to make sure your bud looks like it belongs on the top shelf.

Trimming Cannabis

There are two methods to choose from when it comes to trimming cannabis.  One grower will swear on the one method and another grower will convince you the other method is better. Some growers trim their marijuana before drying and this is called a “wet trim” as the leaves are still wet when the trimming process takes place. The other method is known as a “dry trim”. This is when you trim the leaves after the bud has already dried before you trim off the sugar leaves. It all comes down to personal preference although the wet trim seems to be the most popular method.

For both methods you will practically need the same equipment: good quality pruning scissors, larger pruning shears, rubbing alcohol (to clean the sticky residue off your scissors), rubber gloves, clean work area, and containers to organize the trimmed buds, untrimmed buds, and sugar leaves or “trim”. 

Let’s first talk about a wet trim. The pros of this method is that there is only one round of trimming, so when it dries, the buds can go directly into a jar for curing. You can get a closer trim, less trichomes are lost, and some say it is faster.

To begin your wet trim you will use your large shears to cut the branches off the cannabis plant. You can hang your freshly cut buds on a line so they don’t get squashed in the container near your workstation. You want to first remove the fan leaves starting at the base. The fan leaves will just be normal leaves without trichomes on them. You can save these fan leaves if you grew organically without pesticides and use them for juicing.

Scissors and trimming

After the fan leaves are removed it’s time to get up close and personal and start trimming the smaller sugar leaves with the trichomes on them with your smaller scissors. You should do this over a baking tray or bowl to catch the small leaves and extra trim so that you can save them for making edibles, topicals, or hash. You will cut all around the bud to reveal the cannabis nugget. During this step you want to pay close attention to how you are sculpting it as this will be the look of your final product.

Now that your final product is revealed you can cut the bud off the stalk and let it dry on an mesh rack or leave it on the branch and hang it to dry. Your drying environment should be dark and have some air flow like from a fan. Avoid direct wind to your buds. You can put a dehumidifier in the room for a nice touch. Keep an eye on your harvest everyday. After about 5 to 7 days your harvest will be dry enough for curing.

After 5 to 7 days

The dry trim has a couple of its own pros: it slows down the drying process and the excess leaves protect the cannabis nugget. The process of dry trimming begins the same as the wet trimming so you will cut down the branches and remove the fan leaves. Now you will hang up the branches in a drying space that is dry, dark, and cool with nice air flow.  Don’t over crowd this area as that may cause mold or mildew to grow.

After 5 to 7 days you can check to see if they are ready for more trimming by bending the stalk. If the stalk snaps then they are ready for the next step. The leaves have dried and created a shell around the nugget. You should begin trimming the sugar leaves off over a baking tray to sculpt the bud into its final product. The trichomes will be delicate so be careful with every cut. These buds can now be put into a jar for curing.

Now you have a great supply of beautiful nuggets and a stash of trim leftovers to make into edibles or tinctures. Whether you choose to go with a wet trim or a dry trim the most important aspect is doing a good job trimming so that your glorious nuggets will look their best.

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