Complete Guide to Trimming Cannabis
This trimming tutorial is part of our “how to harvest cannabis” series:
Why do growers trim cannabis buds in the first place?
Harvest time has come! You are cutting down your homegrown cannabis buds to dry and cure them. But do growers need to trim their cannabis buds? When is the best time to trim, and why do growers trim buds in the first place?
Trimming cannabis buds – before & after
Here are some reasons to trim buds:
- “Top Shelf” Appearance – Trimmed buds are often considered higher quality. Most buds are completely manicured (or at least somewhat trimmed) when you see them in magazines, at the dispensary, and online. This is the appearance we’ve come to associate with “good weed” and so untrimmed buds may look less appealing to some people.
- Better Smell – Buds that are trimmed before being going into jars tend to gain a stronger “weed” smell over time. On the flip side, untrimmed buds take on a “planty” hay smell if they’re stored in an airtight container for too long (several weeks to months).
- Easier on Your Throat – Leaves are more “harsh” on your throat/lungs than flowers when vaping or smoking. Trimming off extra leaf matter makes buds more “smooth” to smoke or vaporize.
- Higher THC Concentration – Even trichome-encrusted sugar leaves have a significantly lower concentration of THC and other cannabinoids than the flowers. That means trimmed buds tend to have higher levels of THC gram-for-gram.
Many growers want trimmed buds but don’t want to waste any THC, so they process their trim to extract the THC in the leaves separately. You have endless options for getting the good stuff out of your leaves and other trim, but my favorite ways are making dry ice hash, butter or canna caps. I sprinkle dry ice hash on top of bowls to skyrocket their potency, I use butter for edibles, and I love canna caps for the ability to easily dose edibles on the go!
An example of well-trimmed cannabis buds
Untrimmed cannabis buds – pic by psychonaught
Trim before or after drying? (“Wet Trim” vs “Dry Trim”)
When I first started growing I didn’t know anything about trimming. I knew you could do it before or after drying, but I didn’t know the pros and cons of each. From reading online, I could see that growers successfully use both methods, so there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to do it.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to trimming cannabis. Some growers trim their cannabis buds before drying them, and some growers trim their cannabis after buds have already dried.
Trimming your cannabis before drying is known as a “wet trim” because the leaves are still wet during the trimming process. Trimming after the buds have already dried is known as a “dry trim” since your buds will already be dried before you trim off the sugar leaves.
Most growers will at least remove all or most of the big fan leaves with their fingers before drying, though some growers will hang the whole plant upside down without any type of trim whatsoever.
Wet Trim Example – all leaves are removed before buds are allowed to dry.
Dry Trim Example – little trimming was done before buds were dried
Dry Trim Example – full branches were hung (not even fan leaves were removed before drying)
Trim before drying (“wet trim”) when…
- You’re worried about mold
- You have high humidity (above 60% RH)
- There’s a lot of buds drying in a small space
- You otherwise want buds to dry more quickly
Trim after drying (“dry trim”) when…
- You’re not worried about mold
- You have low humidity (below 45%RH)
- You want buds to dry more slowly (buds drying too fast is the #1 cause of “hay smell”)
- You want buds to be “tighter” or more dense
- You don’t mind buds losing their color vibrance (dry trim buds tend to lose their green/purple/color and take on shades of brown or tan)
Here are some examples of buds from plants where I trimmed half the buds before, and half after. I wanted to help you see what difference it made. It’s really kind of different depending on each plant.
Notes on test of dry trim vs wet trim
- The untrimmed buds took 0.5 to 3 days longer to dry. The leafier the plant, the longer it added to the dry time.
- The biggest difference is I noticed the “dry trim” buds seem noticeably more dense/uniform.
- The dry vs wet trim buds smell a bit differently, but all smell good. Neither seems particularly stronger or better as far as smell.
- I noticed that the “dry trim” buds often seem browner as if they’ve been curing for a while. The effect was most pronounced on the leafiest plants, which may have taken a little too long to dry.
- As far as comparing taste/smoothness/potency. In blind tests with cannabis enthusiasts, I’ve gotten mixed results. Some people prefer the smell or smoothness of the buds one way, while others like the exact opposite. It doesn’t seem to follow any particular pattern that I can tell. I truly think it’s a matter of personal preference, and also varies from strain to strain.
In practice, I’ve seen a huge variation between growers as far as when they trim. Some growers trim plants immediately after harvest, some trim partway through drying, some trim after buds are totally dry, and some never trim at all. It can also vary with the local weather and even the particular plant. For example, if I had an extremely leafy plant and the humidity was high right as I was harvesting, I may opt to trim the plant before drying to prevent the chance of mold, even though I might normally prefer to trim after.
Some growers barely trim buds at all
If sugar leaves are healthy and covered in trichomes, it’s more common for growers to leave them on. This is what that might look like after the buds have been dried:
Although these cannabis buds are beautiful and the sugar leaves are absolutely covered in trichomes (so you know they have significant amounts of THC), the buds may possibly be slightly more “harsh” than if all the sugar leaves had been trimmed away.
On the flip side, there are many people who prefer seeing trichome-encrusted sugar leaves on their buds, so in the end, it’s a matter of personal preference. There’s no right or wrong way about it!
How to trim your buds like a pro!
What You’ll Need
Sharp scissors (for trimming buds)
Fiskars scissors are our weapon of choice. The blades are thin and sharp, which makes it easier to get your bud looking perfectly manicured. They also have a built-in spring to automatically open the blades after each snip. That ends up saving a lot of work for your hands by the time you’re done trimming.
Any “bonsai scissors” usually work well for trimming. These bonsai pruning shears are popular because they’re cheap, sharp, and spring-loaded.
Big pruning shears, or tough scissors you don’t mind destroying (for cutting off branches)
These will be used to actually cut down single branches as you harvest colas to be trimmed.
If possible, try to use a separate pair, and not the same sharp scissors you plan to use for trimming buds. Some branches are tough enough to destroy a pair of nice scissors in a single harvest. You want sharp scissors for trimming your buds; it will save you so much time!
Disposable gloves help protect your hands from your bud. Handling bud without gloves will make your hands sticky to the point where it becomes a constant problem. Plus, hands covered in resin are difficult to clean.
Disposable gloves keep the resin off your hands, and hand particulates off your weed!
3 Trays or Cookie Sheets
You need a tray to hold your untrimmed buds, one to hold your newly trimmed buds, and the last one to hold your ‘trim’ (the plant matter you cut off the buds).
Use cookie sheets or any clean sizable containers to keep your trimmed weed, untrimmed weed, and trim separate.
Of course, you can use anything to keep your separate piles in, but cookie sheets have worked really well for me! Baking sheets work nicely and are cheap, but honestly, any non-absorbent flat surface will work. I like cookie sheets and other wide cooking pans because they have a lip around the edges to help keep everything contained!
Once you have all of your gear assembled, move onto the steps below when you feel ready. Keep in mind that this can be a lengthy process depending on how much bud you’ve grown. However, any negative feelings you get from the labor of trimming will be far outweighed by all the bud you’ll be drying soon!
One last thing… Don’t forget to save all your leaves and other trim! You can use the extra leaves you cut off to make edibles or hash. If you can see trichomes (“glitter”) on the leaves, that means they have good stuff to extract! If a bud is very small or wispy, sometimes I’ll throw that in the trim pile as well.
Learn how to turn your trim into…
1.) Set Up Your Trimming Area
Before you start trimming your plants, you should set up a nice, comfortable place to trim your bud-laden branches. Trimming can take a lot longer than it might seem at first, and it’s a good idea to dedicate at least an afternoon to trimming. I usually try to start trimming in the morning on a day I have off with no other plans in case it goes on longer than expected.
As far as where to do your trimming, a large, clean and cleared table on a non-carpeted floor works great! You will be getting little pieces of leaves everywhere, even if you’re careful, so try to trim in a spot that’s easy to clean. If you have to trim on carpeting, put down a sheet or tarp so spare your poor carpet from trichome stickiness.
I like to get set up in front of a TV, so I can watch movies or shows in the background while I’m trimming. Music or radio can be nice too. In order to stay as comfortable as possible while trimming, I believe it’s important to make sure you get up at least once an hour, even if just to walk around the house or move to a different chair. Take a second to stretch your arms, shoulders and neck. Sometimes you can get in the zone while trimming and not move for a while, so making a point to make breaks will help keep your back, neck and hands from getting cramped up.
Put out your trays as you’ll be using them in just a moment. You’ll be using one tray to hold your untrimmed buds, one to hold your trimmed buds, and one to hold your leaves/trim. You want to keep it all separate if you can, though some spillover is inevitable.
Smell Control: The trimming of buds creates a great deal of odor, especially if they’re fresh! The room that you trim in (and any adjoining rooms) will smell like a cannabis farm. The smell is actually stronger than in the flowering stage. Make sure to contain the smell and try to mitigate the odor if you can. I like to run an exhaust fan on a carbon scrubber (the same one I use in my tent) while I trim. While it doesn’t completely cancel out the smell, it does get pretty close.
Now that you’ve set up your space, it’s time to start harvesting!
2.) Wash your hands and put on a pair of gloves
I prefer latex gloves as they’re sturdy and it feels easier for me to change into a new pair. But any gloves you like will do the trick!
These gloves will soon be sticky with resin!
If you don’t use gloves, get some rubbing alcohol ready, because you’ll need it to get all the resin off your fingers once you’re done trimming! Soap and water won’t cut it! You can also save the resin – it’s basically hash!
3.) Using your tough scissors, cut a branch off your cannabis plant
You may want to cut just one branch down the first time so you can get a feel for trimming, instead of cutting everything down at once. That way you can get an idea of how big of a branch you want to work with at a time.
If trimming immediately after harvest, this also allows you to harvest the plant in stages. If you have to stop halfway through for whatever reason, the buds will be fine for an extra day or two as long as they’re still attached to the plant (even if the rest of the plant is completely hacked up).
When cutting off branches to trim, remember to cut them to a comfortable working size. No larger than these two or you’ll probably have a hard time handling them!
4.) Remove Large Fan Leaves with Your Fingers
These are the leaves that are easily pulled off by their long stem. Put these fan leaves in a pile to be disposed of later.
Here’s a pile of colas that still have their fan leaves
This is what buds look like after most of the fan leaves have been removed by hand
Sometimes you’ll have a big fan leaf that “goes into” the bud and you can’t easily reach the base with your fingers. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to snip those leaves off easily in the next step.
Many fan leaves do not have a usable amount of trichomes on them. If you plan to save your trimmings to make hash you may want to put these bigger fan leaves in a separate pile so you can throw them directly away, instead of mixing them in with your “trim pile”. The big fan leaves add a lot of plant matter that you have to process, but without adding much THC.
5.) Trim Off the Sugar Leaves
Make a note of the small leaves that stick out of the buds; you will be able to see the leaf tips, but usually not the stems. These are typically referred to as “sugar leaves” and don’t need to be removed, only trimmed with your scissors if they stick out.
Before & After – Trimming Sugar Leaves
Another example of trimmed vs untrimmed weed
If the sugar leaves are covered in a lot of trichomes, some growers will leave them on instead of trimming them. I personally don’t recommend doing that if you plan to smoke or vaporize because any extra leaf matter tends to make buds harsher on your lungs. You want as close to pure bud as possible for the best smoking or vaping experience. They don’t have to go to waste. Save them in your separate trim pile and you’ll be able to extract the trichomes off the leaves later to make extracts like hash, caps or weed butter, This means you’re still getting all the THC, but without the added harshness of extra leaf matter. That’s why I recommend trimming all the sugar leaves until they are flush with the buds.
Sugar leaves are cut so they are flush with the bud, giving it a round, almost smooth appearance
Some buds will always have sugar leaves you can see, even if you cut them flush with the outsides of the bud. This is just the way that some cannabis buds grow and is normal genetic variation
When it’s difficult to determine where buds stop and sugar leaves begin, just try to use your best judgment.
You should be left with a branch with trimmed bud on it. Now that you’ve got the hang of it, repeat this process on the remainder of the branches on your cannabis plant!
Do your best to make sure that all the ‘trim’ (the leaves trimmed from your bud) falls onto the tray designated for it. Not only does that let you save more trim for hash, it will help you with cleanup later! Try not to cut off any of the actual buds, but if you do by accident, throw it in the trim pile.
The whole trimming process can take a while depending on how much you ended up with, but if it’s more than you can do at once, it’s perfectly okay to harvest your plant in stages over a few days.
If the buds are already dried but you didn’t have enough time to trim them all, put them in jars or a turkey bag to prevent them from drying further, even if they’re untrimmed. You can come back to trim them later. Just don’t leave them stored like that for too long or the buds take on a hay smell.
Problem: Buds are dry but you don’t have enough time to trim today. Store them in oven bags (also called turkey bags) until you can trim, just don’t leave them too long!
Trimmed and ready
After trimming, your scissors (and fingers) will be covered in hash. Don’t throw that stuff away – it’s concentrated cannabis resin! You can vape, smoke or consume hash just like cannabis flowers!
Don’t toss out all your leaves! Learn how to turn your trim into…
6.) Dispose of your plant
If you haven’t yet, it’s time to securely dispose of the remainder of the plant!
Cut your plant up into pieces and double bag all the plant matter left over after harvest. Do not throw this bag away until the day your trash is picked up. This means there is less time where someone could go through your trash and find it!
Gadgets, tools & shortcuts to help you trim your cannabis better!
For Trimming Cannabis by Hand
Sharp Scissors – Any “bonsai scissors” work great, too!
Fiskars scissors are one of the most popular scissors for trimming buds by hand. They are thin and sharp with a spring to automatically open after each snip. That saves your hands a lot of work over the course of a trim session. These are what I use to trim my buds
Any “bonsai scissors” usually work well for trimming. These bonsai pruning shears are popular because they’re cheap, sharp, and spring-loaded.
To actually cut off branches from your plant you want something stronger, like these big pruning shears. If you use your Fiskars scissor to cut through stems they will become dull quickly!
Disposable gloves keep the resin off your hands, and hand particulates off your weed!
3 Trays or Cookie Sheets
Use cookie sheets or any clean sizable containers to keep your trimmed weed, untrimmed weed, and trim separate. You can use the 4th pan (or a trashcan) to capture the big fan leaves that don’t have trichomes and are often tossed.
Other Ways to Trim Cannabis
Electric Handheld Scissors
There are a few different types of these to make trimming easier. The Bonsai Hero electric trimmer used to be the most common option, but it’s now been discontinued. There are similar options like the Trim Daddy, but it seems to be of questionable quality.
The cool thing about electric trimmers is they let you trim far faster than if you were doing it with regular scissors. They are also easy on your hands since the scissors do all the opening and closing themselves – you just guide them!
The downside is you just can’t get as close a trim job with electric pruning shears compared to regular scissors. They’re just not precise enough. It’s common for growers to use them quickly to trim off most of the leaves and use scissors to tidy the buds up afterward. The other downside to electric scissors is you will end up cutting off more bud by accident than if you were hand scissoring.
However, sometimes the time savings is worth losing a little bud and leaving a little extra leaf matter. In large-scale growing operations, it’s common to give buds a rough cut with electric trimmers and just sell them that way. It gets 90% of the work done in half the time!
Be warned, these are all obscenely expensive! (Seriously, stick to Fiskars!)
Bowl Leaf Trimmers
These have many of the same pros and cons of electric hand trimmers, but there are differences.
First off, they’re quick! With a bowl leaf trimmer, you will be done trimming faster than with pretty much any other trimming method. But on the flip side, you will also lose more bud matter (it will be trimmed away) than other methods, because these basically work by “smoothing” out the outsides of the bud, whether it’s taking off leaf or bud.
One thing about these trimmers that makes them unique is you have to remove the buds from the branches before using the machine, which means you’ll probably also want to use a mesh hanging rack to dry your buds.
And since the buds will be removed from the stems, it may be more difficult to get them to dry slowly. Another option is to trim them with the machine after they’ve already dried.
If you have a whole lot of bud to trim, the ease and quickness of the bowl trimmer method may be worth the reduced flower yield (plus you get higher quality trim)
Now that you have trimmed your buds, it’s time for the cure! You’re almost there!
How to trim marijuana
Some people enjoy trimming because it’s a good opportunity to connect with the plant, especially if you’ve been growing it for months. But some dread trimming because it’s so monotonous.
Whichever type you are, know that trimming even only a couple of plants will take hours, even days. Be sure to have some good albums or podcasts queued up, and it always helps to have a friend or two helping out. You’ll have plenty of bud to spare.
Why is trimming marijuana important?
Trimming removes buds from plants, cutting off branches, stems, and sugar and fan leaves. All of these are harsh to smoke and don’t contain many trichomes, although they do have a little.
When wet trimming, removing all that unnecessary plant matter also reduces the moisture content of buds, allowing for a more even dry.
Cannabis also takes on a tighter, more uniform appearance and has more bag appeal when trimmed.
Wet vs. dry cannabis trimming
There are two ways to go about trimming weed, each with pros and cons.
Wet marijuana trimming
Wet trimming happens all in one sitting: You’ll cut down the plant, cut buds off branches—called “bucking”—trim the buds, and then place them on a drying rack, where they’ll sit for a few days.
- Removing sugar and fan leaves is easier—they get shriveled and dried up in dry trimming
- With less moisture-filled foliage attached to the flowers, drying will happen more quickly; this can be helpful in humid climates where mold is a concern
- If you’re tight on space, wet trimming removes a bulk of the plant in the beginning, so you don’t have to hang whole plants up to dry
- Trimming wet will also give you a tighter and more aesthetically pleasing final product
- Many argue that because buds are stickier when being handled, trichomes remain intact, which preserves terpenes and flavors in the final product
Wet trimming is very sticky. Trichomes will get on your fingers, your trimming shears, your body, everything. Gloves are recommended; rubbing alcohol or coconut oil is essential.
Dry marijuana trimming
With dry trimming, you’ll cut down the plant and hang the whole thing to dry for several days first. When it’s dry, you’ll buck buds off branches and trim them.
- Keeping leaves on in the beginning makes the drying process slower; this can be great in arid climates, as a quick dry can cause excess terpene loss
- It’s a lot less messy—trichomes harden as weed dries, reducing the amount of get-on-everything stickiness
- Those less-sticky, less-messy trichomes are also more brittle and prone to breaking; you’ll have to handle your crop with care to preserve trichomes and THC levels
- Hanging entire plants takes up significantly more space than if you discard excess plant material first; make sure you have adequate drying space before dry trimming
Marijuana trimming tools needed
- Scissors (for trimming buds)
- Pruners (helpful for big branches)
- Comfortable chair and area
- A clean surface, like a table
- Tray/bowl and a clean surface
- Rubbing alcohol
- Proper clothes (ones that can get sticky)
How to trim cannabis buds
After you’ve set up your drying room and trimming area, and your weed plants are ready to come down, it’s time to get trimming.
Whether trimming wet or dry, the process of trimming buds is the same.
Step 1: Cut down the plant and cut off branches
Using a solid pair of pruning shears, cut off branches, breaking the plant down into smaller pieces until you get to the main stalk of the plant, which can get cut off close to the soil.
If dry trimming, you’ll hang the plant for drying now, either in its entirety or its smaller branches. Check out more on drying here.
Drying plants will be ready for trimming when stems snap and don’t bend—usually 3-7 days later.
If wet trimming, don’t worry about drying yet and go to step 2.
Step 2: Remove fan leaves
Fan leaves are the iconic cannabis leaves with five or seven points. The plant has had these leaves since it was in the vegetative stage. Fan leaves have little to no trichomes, so get rid of them.
If trimming wet, it may be quicker to gently pull these off with your hands, but they can be snipped off with scissors too. If dry trimming, you’ll need to snip them.
Step 3: Buck buds from the branch
Once fan leaves are off, cut off individual buds from branches, also called “bucking.”
Trimmers usually create a pile of buds to work on, either on a table or in a bowl or tray.
Be sure to keep a separate pile for branches, stems, and fan leaves, and compost them.
Step 4: Trim buds
Now that you’re down to just buds, get to trimming. If buds are too big, break them down into smaller buds. A giant bud might look awesome, but it won’t dry as evenly, making it susceptible to mold.
- Trim the stem at the bottom of the bud as closely as you can without causing the bud to break down. You don’t want the stem to be exposed anywhere but at the bottom.
- Remove the crow’s feet—these are the leaves at the bottom that look like little bird feet.
- Trim off extra plant matter and manicure the bud. Angle your scissors and keep them moving. After a while you won’t even think about it.
The goal is to take away everything that isn’t fully covered in trichomes. Create a uniform surface area around the buds. This includes taking down red pistils all the way to the foliage. Pistils have very little to zero trichomes.
Put all your finished buds in a separate bowl or tray.
If wet trimming, you’ll need to put your finished buds on a drying rack for a few days. If dry trimming, you’ll want to jar up your buds for curing.
Pro tips for trimming weed
Make sure to collect your trim. You can dry it too and either smoke it or use it to make edibles or other cannabis products.
Remember to wipe your scissors with alcohol or swap them out with another pair when they get covered in resin. Also, make sure to avoid shaving off large sections of the nug at once—this isn’t great for the bud and it will reduce your yield.
Some trimmers save their “finger hash” or “scissor hash,” which is resin that builds up on your fingers or scissors when trimming. This is perfectly fine to smoke, it just may be a little harsh.
Hand-trimmed vs. machine-trimmed weed
As a homegrower, you’ll most likely be trimming your weed by hand, but some do invest in machine trimmers to cut out the monotonous trimming part. Commercial growers often use machine trimmers because they process such a large quantity of buds.
Pros and cons of hand trimming marijuana
- Individual buds can be shaped to bring out the qualities of each strain
- Issues like mold or insects can be spotted
- It’s messy—you’ll want lots of rubbing alcohol or coconut oil around
- Usually have to rely on some buddies to help
Pros and cons of machine trimming marijuana
The high demand for cannabis has paved the way for new technologies and a whole range of machine trimmers. These trimmers do an incredible job of processing buds quickly, so they’re mainly used by large-scale growers producing for the low end of the market.
Highly efficient upper-level systems like the Twister T2 (~$12,000) can trim up to 19 lbs per hour, and lower-priced systems exist, such as the Trimpro Rotor ($1,750), for commercial growers. For homegrowers, there are trimmers such as the iPower ($120).
- Quick and efficient, saving time and money
- Less messy; machine trimmers collect trim easily so you use it for other products
- Can overtrim buds
- They knock off a lot of trichomes, affecting potency and flavor
- Stems and seeds can still make their way into finished buds
Johanna Silver, Patrick Bennett, and Trevor Hennings contributed to this article.
Trimming Guide: How To Trim Your Cannabis Flowers
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 them 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 your 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.
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 clean after trimming. If you are trimming large amounts of cannabis then you should consider investing in a “trim tray”. There are a bunch of options available these days. They work by incorporating a fine micron screen on the base of the tray. This micron screen allows only the trichomes that will fall from the buds you are trimming to pass through, and none of the plant material. It is actually quite surprising how many trichomes separate from the buds during trimming, and it is a real shame to waste these. With the help of one of these specific trim trays, you can collect a large amount of kief which can be turned into your favorite form of extract or concentrate.
Another product you should definitely not try to save money on is your trimming scissors. That’s not to say you have to spend an arm and a leg, but trimming is a slow process, and getting the right pair of scissors or shears will make your trimming experience so much more enjoyable. With the right tools, you will be able to do a much better job and the final product will be of higher quality. Remember to keep some rubbing alcohol close at hand to regularly clean your shears, especially when dealing with the stickest of the icky. If you are trimming for flowers and not extracts, remember to never “shave” the buds. You want to use the tips of the scissors to get inside the buds and cut the sugar leaves as close to their base as possible.
- 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.
3. 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 few trichomes and should only be kept long for the looks.
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.
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.
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%, and 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 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).
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.
Using trimming machines is super easy and work-less. Although the buds won’t look as good as if you trim them by hand, this will save you a lot of time and can be helpful in some cases.
4. 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. Another option is to chuck all the unusable trim into your compost heap. Cannabis wastage makes great compost material and can be used to feed your next crop!
5. 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.
6. 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 smell 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.