Is defoliation the best maintenance option for your autoflowering cannabis seeds in the USA?
Autoflowering marijuana strains have become the go-to cannabis type for novice growers and impatient farmers. These variations are well-loved for their quick growing and easy maintenance sprouts. If you’re one of the enthusiasts who shopped for autoflowering cannabis seeds in the USA or Canada, here are some details that can help you in taking care of your cannabis seedlings.
What is Cannabis Defoliation?
Utilized by many marijuana farmers as a growth technique base, defoliation basically means removing leaves from a plant to help its growth. This method has also been used in growing potatoes, cotton, tomatoes, and in the art of bonsai. With cannabis growing, it has been of great use because planters usually seek to have high-yield in very confined spaces or a limited amount of seeds. It is high risk and aggressive growth technique, which is why it is controversial in the community, with many supporters, as well as detractors.
All about the Controversy
Many experienced growers encourage fellow aficionados to use this method, but there is still quite a number who wants people to stay away. This is mainly because of the extreme care and gentleness needed to make sure that the defoliation would work. Defoliation can slow down the flowering stages of a plant, if not done in the right way. An autoflowering shrub whose time is spent in recovery and healing will not have enough time to grow, therefore, resulting in a lower yield.
Positive Results of Autoflower Defoliation
If done successfully, you will be getting these positive results after defoliating your autoflowering cannabis seeds in the USA:
1. Address any light exposure issues, as the light will be spread evenly to the buds.
2. Increasing your leads even without planting extra seeds.
3. Reduce the expenses used for lighting equipment.
4. Efficiently manage the growth, height, and shape of the cannabis plant.
5. Develop uniformity of the flower buds.
6. Avoid any issues with humidity or housing any household pests.
7. Improve overall plant health and strength.
Risks and Cons of Autoflower Defoliation
This technique, like all maintenance methods, poses threats against proper plant growth. Here are some statements against this practice.
- Detractors believe that removing leaves can be harmful to the plant, as a plant needs its leaves for photosynthesis and other internal processes like storing energy for later use.
- Other anti-defoliators also believe that it is always better to let plants grow in their natural way, and allow nature to take its course.
- Defoliation can actually go wrong in an instant. You rely on timing and the plant’s current condition.
- If you practice defoliating when your plant is not doing well will surely slow down plant growth.
- When defoliating, you should also do make sure the plant is strong and stable enough to survive the process.
- Also, defoliation is a trial-and-error process. We do not know which strains will respond well unless we try and see their behavior after defoliation.
How to Defoliate Your Autoflowers
Before you begin, make sure you are using sterile scissors that are easy to hold and operate. The general idea of defoliation is making your plant feel cared for and loved, so you have to be extremely gentle when handling them.
First, you can start by removing the shabby and rugged looking leaves. Then, you can proceed with removing the leaves that you deem to hinder the growth of the buds. You can remove upper leaves, but defoliation is usually done at the bottom of the plant. You can get carried away with cutting, so watch that you only remove about 10 to 20 percent of the total number of leaves. Too much removal with exploit the growth and obstruct photosynthesis.
Defoliating Tips for Beginners
- Don’t be trigger happy. Relax, take your time, and be precise when cutting. If it is your first time, only focus on chopping the big fan-shaped leaves. Look at this as technique practice. Remember, you can always decide to trim more, later on, but if you exceed trimming, there will be no going back.
- Defoliation is different from pruning. Pruning involves cutting off branches but defoliating focuses only on leaves.
- Never defoliate your plants when they are sick or unhealthy. Find other ways to help them recover.
- Defoliation in the vegetative stage is only done once. Make sure the plant is at least 25 cm in height, and only remove the largest leaves. This serves as training the plant and letting them know that this can happen again to them.
- In the flowering stage, defoliation can be done twice. Once in the first week of flowering, then around the third week, when your plant has already recovered.
- Practice makes perfect. This is a technique that can be modified and corrected through repeated application. Other factors affect your plant health, so make sure to give them the most comprehensive care they deserve.
How about Extreme Defoliation? Try Schwazzing and Back-Building.
Aside from basic defoliation, there are two noticeable trends in extreme defoliation, Schwazzing, and Back-Building.
- Schwazzing – Named by its founder Joshua Haupt published in his book Three A Light, this practice involves removing the entire canopy at the start of the flowering stage and then at the third week. Haupt named the process from the sound produced by the scissors when the leaves are cut. According to his book, if implemented successfully, schwazzing can boost your plant’s yield. But many people note a high risk of failure for this extreme method, as your plant has an equivalently high risk of death under this type of stress.
- Back-Building – This process is aiming to build a thicker bud structure so that the final product will look more aesthetically pleasing. This technique is also known as bud pinching or bud swelling because you will be clipping the tips out of flowering colas so there will be more growth. The idea to do this is for the distribution of the natural growth hormones to vital areas of the bud. Back-building is generally done around 3 to 5 weeks of the flowering process, and the final output usually makes an increase in bag appeal. Unfortunately, for some strains, there is a tendency for fox-tailing, especially when you make a mistake in the process. Others also think that is quite a time consuming process to do.
In the End, It’s All Up to You
Defoliation is something you can do for a better plant yield, but the power still lies in your hands. You can give it a chance, or you can go for other styles. You can also try cloning, lollipopping, Low Stress Training, Screen of Green or other techniques if you want. Our advice is to do research, take chances, and enjoy your overall gardening journey, so you can make the most of your autoflowering cannabis seeds in the USA.