DEFOLIATING AND CHOPPING YOUR COMMERCIAL CANNABIS HARVEST

In commercial cannabis cultivation, each step of the process needs to be organized and broken down to the moment. Bottlenecking can cost you thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours. So, let’s go over cannabis pre-harvest techniques.

Defoliation is the removal of larger fan leaves in the flower stage to expose maturing cannabis buds to more light and air flow. Indoor cultivations with limited space will most likely defoliate, this will also speed up the trimming and the processing of the harvest. If done correctly, it can dramatically increase cannabis yield and potency. If incorrectly handled, defoliation can destroy your crop and cost you thousands. Various environmental factors and strain variation will determine when, how, and where to defoliate – this typically occurs in early and/or late flower. Environmental factors, grower’s preference, light disbursement, and strain variation will determine whether a cultivator will defoliate or “pluck” each plant’s top or bottom leaves.  

No matter the factors or strain, a grower should never take more than 80% of each plant. One should leave at least 20% of foliage when defoliation or plucking. Most importantly, defoliating must be done delicately not to disrupt growing cannabis flower. A fan leaf should be plucked at the base to avoid stripping the stem of valuable flesh.  A defoliator must never touch, handle, or crush maturing buds, doing everything she can to not disrupt bud growth, trichomes, and corresponding potency. 

Chopping cannabis takes place at the end of flowering and can be done in a few different ways. Large-scale commercial cannabis cultivations, especially in Southern California, generally cannot trim by hand or machine while the bud is still wet, known simply as “wet trimming.” Typically, commercial cannabis cultivation performs “dry trimming” once the bud is dry. Therefore, commercial cannabis plants are chopped at the base with heavy-duty garden shears and gently hung by the stem, being sure not to put pressure on precious trichome-filled buds. Thin ropes are horizontally strung across the drying room, and the plant is hung by a crux or meeting point of two stems.


~Buddha’s Harvest Co. is a professional cannabis harvesting company based in Southern California. We specialize in hand trimming and focus on the zenith of efficiency by building custom standard operating procedures for each new client or facility. We consider each variable in the harvest process, to ensure efficiency and reduced costs. 

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