Cannabis defoliation is a commonly used term for the removal of plant leaves. What is the importance of defoliation? The defoliation of your cannabis plant removes the leaves and allows light and air circulation to reach its flowers. The method can be used in different ways to produce a variety of effects.
Defoliation encourages growth and improves your net yield. It also helps to avoid diseases such as powdery mildew (PM) and mold.
As any plant grows so do the leaf size. Older leaves grow larger, absorbing more water, sunlight and other nutrients. Defoliation is aimed at re-energizing the cannabis plant while replacing these older leaves.
How much is too much
What are the proper techniques required when you defoliate? Each technique increases yields in a similar manner, changing only the plants shape. Before starting, genetics, space volume and light intensity are considerations to be taken into account.
Cannabis defoliation is not difficult or harmful to your plant. The techniques are as simple as choosing the leaves that are to be cut and cutting them with scissors or thumbnails.
You can defoliate at different stages of a plants life cycle with each having slightly different effects. Like other cutting techniques, cutting and defoliating is very harmless during vegetative growth.
Schwazzing is a term that is used to represents a type of extreme defoliation. The method consists of the removal of many fan leaves from a plant This allows more light to pass through to the flowers.
Schwazzing consists in the removal of your many of plants leaves at two main intervals below the top two or three nodes. Once at the start of the blooming process and then again at the start of the third week of flowering.
Make sure your plant is healthy and adequately grown (it should have a height of at least 25 cm). Remove only the largest leaves and leave ample leaves to allow the plant to continue to photosynthesize and absorb nutrients so that they can continue growing.
When cutting all of these leaves will help avoid certain bugs as well as humidity problems like mildew. Less leaves means less pests. This will allow more light energy, which will enter lower areas and also encourage airflow, when the leaf density is removed.
It is important to supply plants the right nutrients it needs. Defoliation can seriously affect your plant if nutrient availability is poor.
When the growing cycle of plants are stopped it takes some time before the growing cycle re-starts again. A defoliated plant will grow slower so nutrients and patience is required for a few days. After which you will notice a remarkable surge in growth.
Tips to remember
Avoid removing too much on the first pruning. Start with the lower quarter of the plant and only cut the largest leaves. Start with leaves which overlap and are close to the centre of the plant. Especially when they are blocking light to the smaller leaves. Let your plant recover for about 7 to 20 days until you see a dense foliage again. Remember to feed your plant the required nutrients it needs at this stage.
Beginners tend to make the mistake of removing too many leaves. Do not remove not more than 20 per cent of fan leaves in a single sitting. Better less than too many which may cause unnecessary stress to your plant.
If you have an indoor plant then you should defoliate more than an outdoor plant. As outdoor sunlight is much stronger and intense then indoor lighting. If you have fan leaves that are yellowing, drying out and curling. This is a sign of problems with your plant that need to be addressed before defoliation.
When your plant transitions to the flowering stage, consider slowing down or stopping any more stressful cannabis defoliation. During this time, your plants will concentrate all their energy on growing big beautiful flower buds.
When you decide to defoliate during the flowering stage. Remove all fans leaves that block light to the main areas where the flower buds are growing. Target only the larger fan leaves and follow the same rules for removal as during the planting stage.
Let your plant still benefit from the smaller fan leaves. Do not cut the smaller leaves. You should focus on only the areas where you need to expose light to the high bud areas.