Tutorial on Cannabis Defoliation: How to Increase Yields by Removing Leaves
La defoliation is a culture technique that involves removing the leaves of the plant, thus changing its growth process. The technique aims to maximize the output of production in small spaces. For this reason, this technique is especially useful for small-scale indoor crops and for growers who are interested in maximizing their bud production. However, defoliation is an aggressive technique, its use is not without controversy. Here is the evidence that defoliation works perfectly:
Objectives of defoliation
This technique is not new, his practice is also common in gardening, especially in the art of bonsai. In agriculture it is commonly used for tomato plants. The defoliation applied to the cultivation of cannabis consists in eliminating the leaves of the plant at certain stages of its growth but in order to obtain more quality and quantity at the harvest. We speak of defoliation when we eliminate between 20% and 90% of the total leaves of the plant.
With defoliation we do not eliminate branches, only the lower shoots and leaves that we find around them. But, you must first know what the results are when choosing defoliation:
- solve the problems of exposure to light
- increase productivity without increasing the number of plants
- reduce equipment and light expenses
- manipulate the growth, height and shape of plants
- promote uniformity of buds
- avoid diseases and problems due to moisture
- cleanse and fortify plants
Defoliation is a relatively simple process, but one that involves its risks. This technique is compatible with any cultivation method (hydroponics, soil, coconut ...). Take your time and be precise with your scissors, a bad cut can damage future buds.
Defoliation in the vegetative phase
This step requires only one defoliation. Make sure the plant is healthy and has grown sufficiently. Cut only the largest leaves, leaving enough leaves for photosynthesis. Indeed, the plant must continue to feed and return to a healthier and stronger growth (this is the goal).
Young plants are more vulnerable. But starting at the vegetative phase we train the plant and prepare it for future defoliation. Although you must be aware that it is a risk. Plus, getting rid of leaves will help us with diseases. If there is no leaf, there is no vermin, nor moisture problems, such as powdery mildew. On the other hand, by removing excess foliage we will maximize the energy of the light, which will reach the lowest areas. In addition, defoliation will promote the circulation of air.
Defoliation appears to slow root growth, which can cause a great imbalance for a plant that is in the vegetative stage. But this delay lasts the time of recovery, until the plant has established a new equilibrium. The amount of nutrients available will be very important. If soil nutrient levels are low, defoliation will hit our plant hard.
Be patient, we are stopping the growth process of the plant momentarily. A defoliated plant will grow ever more slowly. In a few days, the plant will find thick and strong foliage.
Defoliation in the flowering phase
By cutting the leaves during the flowering phase, we stimulate the production of auxin, which is the vegetable hormone responsible for the growth of floral parts and their maturation. In this way, when the plant recovers, the buds grow suddenly, swelling suddenly.
Defoliation in the flowering phase takes place in 2 phases, and thus 2 defoliation. After the 1e week of flowering, await till the first pistils come out. Not one or two but several ... Cut all the big leaves and leave the smallest leaves. In about 3 days after news will grow, and 7-10 days after you will find thick foliage.
Around the 3th week of flowering, make sure your plants have recovered. The leaves have sprouted again and are bushy, then repeat the previous process. You will see that buds have grown and many are covered with leaves. Your mission is to leave them exposed to light, especially the lower ones, and to prevent the plant from having shadows.
Warning ! Do not get too close to buds during the cut. By defoliating the chalice and the lower areas, the plant is guided to focus its energy towards the buds. In this way, we avoid the formation of small flowers (those we throw in the end). The goal is for the final production to be made of quality buds, dense and uniform.
So far we have shown you the good side of this technique. But a leafless plant is something shocking and, in a way, paradoxical. This motive divides the opinion of the farmers. A plant needs leaves. These act not only as solar panels, to achieve photosynthesis and its internal processes. But they also fulfill the function of storing this energy for use when the plant needs it.
Defoliation removes major energy receivers of the plant but we also deprive her of this stored energy when she needs it. In addition, someorches do not respond well to defoliation. Each variety reacts differently. The major risk of defoliation is that we do not know how our plant will react. Finally until we see the results ... Nature is a model. It will always be better to respect the processes of the plantwho grows naturally. In any case, we do not defolish when:
- outdoor culture
- plants are unhealthy or slowly growing
- the strain is known to be difficult to cultivate
- the plant is not very leafy ...
- the buds are already exposed to light and air
- you are a beginner
The fact that the leaves are forced to grow back requires a lot of effort for the plant and it can be used. As a result of failed defoliation, we will get uniform buds, but fewer. They will be less dense and weigh less, ultimately they will be of less good quality.
Allegations in favor of defoliation
You already know the goals and advantages of this technique. In continuation, we will summarize the argument with which proponents of defoliation justify the elimination of leaves. In outdoor crops, the sun is the source of energy. The plant grows by adapting its shape to its trajectory, by exposing itself or by getting darker, taking and leaving the nutrients it needs or not.
But when we grow inside we have control total of light. But also the control of the administration of food, nutrients and environmental conditions. The plant does not require so much storage of energy and nutrients as are the leaves. Just as it does not need to have large leaves to absorb solar energy, nor to protect its fruits from the sun, nor to have thick foliage that defends pests.