When And How To Prune Marijuana Plants


cannabis plant marijuana prune

Question: Should I prune my marijuana plants? How?

Answer: Pruning your plants provides increased yields and decreased heights along with the added benefit of stronger, sturdier stems. The middle bud (the tallest part of the plant) produces a chemical called auxin that limits the growth of other, smaller buds. Cutting the center bud substantially increases growth in all surrounding buds. Rather than having one giant bud and a few medium-sized ones, you’ll now have a flurry of large buds at your disposal. These buds will weigh more than any unprimed buds.

For indoor marijuana plants, the ideal time to start pruning is around 10 to 15 days prior to forced flowering. For outdoor plants, pruning should be done several weeks prior to the expected flowering period.


For some individuals, it might be more convenient to have a bushy plant with a bunch of small- and medium-sized buds than one with just a few large buds. For a bushy plant, just cut the top growth after the plant has grown about five sets of leaves. As a result of this, the plant will develop about 4 big side branches to replace that center bud. After these branches have produces four or five sets of leaves, prune the top growth of off each individual branch. This way, the plant will develop numerous branches with numerous different leaves to choose from.

Pruning Leaves

Question: Should the fan leaves be pruned from my marijuana plants? If so, when?

Answer: To put it simply, leaves are sugar factories. They have specialized organs in their cells that use the energy from light to bring CO2 and oxygen together. This process ends up creating a bevy of sugar while also releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere. Sugar fuels the plant’s metabolism and works as a main ingredient for creating new tissue. The plant must expend energy in order for leaves to grow. Once the leaf is fully grown, it is no longer an energy generator. In the developing stages, however, picking leaves actually deprives the plant of the energy it needs to thrive. It will also grow much more slowly than usual. Try to avoid pruning leaves when the plants are in vegetative growth or the early stages of flowering.

The process of pruning leaves is only advised during certain windows. One window is the mid-to-late flowering period. Leaves that cover or hide buds from getting direct light should be moved into another position, but if that’s not possible, it needs to be excised. It’s more important for the buds to get adequate light than it is for the leaf to produce sugar.

The marijuana plant will naturally start transferring nutrients from the leaves to the buds as the flowers start to mature. At this point, the leave will turn yellow and will likely provide little usability for the plant. They will usually snap from the stem with even the gentlest touch.

Leaves should also be removed during manicuring.

Want to know more about growing marijuana? Get a free guide about growing marijuana at this link here. Order some high quality marijuana seeds at this link here.



About Author

Robert Bergman is a master marijuana grower. Robert Bergman is the author of 'Marijuana Plant Care' and 'The Marijuana Grow Bible'.

  • James Reese

    Very informative, and something I will pass on to my friends and family.

  • Choom Gang

    I like this story, because too many people out there get prune happy. But, I am wondering if FIM (80% top trim) is better than cutting the top off? And for indoors, is it best to trim your SCROG grow, or not?
    (for extra credit, tell us what FIM and SCROG means)



  • reefer

    tying the plant sideways can also increase the size of the side buds, without having to sacrifice the crown jewel- the main stem cola. This works really well with sativas.

  • stagehand

    I have heard that you can remove most of the buds from mature plants (grown inside) and return it to 18/6 lighting

    it will begin to bud again. Have you ever heard this? is this just an fluke? Oh and it was said that the weed got better after the second growth.

  • sLiCk1ON

    @stagehand you can absolutely keep a plant alive over more than one season. The plant is by nature annual but controlling the environment allows for continual growth. As a matter of fact to achieve insane outdoor results in monster yield,it’s required to lengthen the lifespan of the plant (be it continuous vegetative growth or through one or multiple cycles) to get those Frankenstein trees with bride of Frankenstein donkeys all over the sucka! This is mainly because of the amount of growth potential possible in the time allotted naturally but are by no means indicative of the maximum potential capable according to the genetic limitations and capability. Another thing you may be wondering is why don’t you see indoor gardeners growing trees?! Because it’s not maximum possible efficiency according to our costs and desires (financially i.e. Efficiency) as it stands with our knowledge regarding technical ability and capability to date. Back more to the original topic and the thing is that with a greater and better established root system and an existing structure with a functioning “body” and system (photosynthesis and immune system and repellents etc) it gives you the chance to grow monsters or just possibly use that to bleed the last of the plant to let you get another batch of nugs but I don’t see how it would be worth it without allowing some time to recover and than flower. I have had some genetics and some situations where trimming off the more ripened mature nugs and than letting the others finish their process of growing and maturing. Most larger plants and outdoor plants I almost never take the whole plant because it doesn’t ripen evenly and it’s obviously a waste flavor weight and thc to cut the whole thing. Your questions was somewhat vague but that’s a part of learning I guess and it’s a process that requires and teaches all of us. Take your ideas and the knowledge and use it to experiment and learn or hypothesize some new ish if not that just creates your method to the madness.good luck and share your knowledge along the way please.

  • Burns

    I trim my leaves that aren’t directly attached to a Bud ! It works great . More nutrients to your Buds ! Different people do different ! No right or wrong . Watch your plants and do what is best for you ! Happy growing .