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How To Trim Cannabis Flowers

Ron Strider

Well-Known Member
Whether you're harvesting your first marijuana crop or you're trying to land a job as a "trimmer," you're probably wondering how to trim cannabis flowers properly. In recent years we've seen several expensive trimming machines become available, but most growers, trimmers, and consumers agree that these machines can inadvertently damage flowers and that the end product simply can't compare to the meticulous beauty of hand-trimmed flowers. For your convenience, here we talk about how to trim cannabis flowers (the process is also known as "manicuring" flowers) to remove unnecessary leaves and give them great "bag appeal."

1. Sharpen the scissors/pruning shears and tweezers you will use to trim marijuana flowers.

2. Sterilize your cannabis trimming equipment, which should consist of scissors/shears, tweezers, an apron, and a trimming tray at the very least. Some marijuana trimmers opt for ergonomic shears of multiple sizes (for switching out sticky scissors quickly and for trimming leaves of various sizes sizes) and lap trays fitted with a screen for collecting kief. Also, make sure you have plenty of rubber/powder-free latex gloves on-site to you keep your hands and fingers resin-free.

3. Clean and prepare your trimming space for receiving cannabis flowers by controlling the temperature (65-75°F) and humidity levels (45-55%), installing fans to make sure good air circulation, and setting up a carbon filter/extraction fan to dissipate the distinct odor of marijuana.

At this point, there are two main schools of thought when it comes to manicuring cannabis plants after a harvest: wet trimming and dry trimming.

4. To proceed with "wet trimming" start pruning leaves away from cannabis flowers as soon as you harvest them from the plant until you are left with perfect, compact buds. The extra moisture makes it easier to trim away sugar leaves at a quicker pace than when they are dry and removing them before the drying process reduces the chances of mold growth. However, you must dry these flowers before consumption/extraction.

5. To proceed with "dry trimming" you must first hang your harvest in a controlled environment (dark, cool, and dry) for up to two weeks before you start to manicure them. Start with the large fan leaves and then snip away or "skim" (using a sharp edge to delicately break dried leaves away and not close scissor blades over a stem to cut it) the smaller leaves closest to the flowers. Also be aware that trichomes fall off dry flowers easier, so trim them over a tub or tray that will catch them.

News Moderator: Ron Strider 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: How to Trim Cannabis Flowers
Author: Melissa Sherrard
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Photo Credit: Jim Brueckner
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Terrific thread! And very timely, as I'm planning to harvest my first plant today. I wonder though, could you link to it in the Grow Room area? I wouldn't have thought to look for trimming instrux in the International Cannabis News area. :)

Ian Bastage

Well-Known Member


Grow Journal of the Month: Dec 2017
I do dry trimming and I think that's the most widely used method??

That said, I do it a little bit differently:

I harvest plant
Hang the plant upside down
Trim all the fan leaves off
Cut individual branches off
At this point is when we can wash them (see "bud washing" thread)
Hang branches to dry... usually it takes 5-7 days depending on RH - I usually have a fan blowing on the branches
After flowers are dry (but not too dry)
Set up trim tray and do my trimming

For me - dry trimming is much easier and much faster. I also think the quality of the final product is superior to wet trim for a few reasons.

Laying wet flowers down on their sides creates a flat spot... so many of the large big flowers won't be nice and round after trim like they are with a dry trim. Goes to bag appeal.

Secondly - flowers are a lot easier physically to trim when they are dry - smaller leaves = less actual use of the shears.

Anyone that's trimmed for any length of time knows how important less actual hand movement is. That and probably need some sort of gas mask so you dont have to breathe in all those terpines from the off gassing from the wet flowers. A 4 hour trim session breathing in fresh terpines... wow thinking brain damage.

Also don't forget that even tho the plant has been chopped down, the plant is not completely dead or clones wouldn't be a thing. There's still some life left in those chopped plants and why I like to hang them upside down to facilitate that last bit of life left in the plants. I've seen hanging plants already chopped still putting out fresh pistols. This is very common actually. Why, there are still carbohydrates in the plants cells and vascular system, and the plant will use them up and then the cells and plant will slowly die off.

I think this process is more than just drying flowers, its also part of the curing process. The final curing stage takes place in airtight containers at a specific relative humidity.

The original write up here is good for sure, I'm just adding in my .02 from my experience ... this is one part of the cannabis growing experience that is real "work" and not all that much fun. At the end of the day, it's what contributes to that "bag appeal", so for me its a very important part, as important as growing the plants.

S yeah great write up. Glad to see a topic that is often times overlooked and trimmers are under paid and under appreciated.

So please, tip your trimmer... its good karma!
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