Modified on: 27/04/2022
All about the defoliation of autoflowering cannabis plants
From the germination of marijuana seeds to the flowering of plants, cannabis requires special care and significant precautions to ensure that the harvest is optimal. Particularly when it comes to auto flower seeds varieties, is defoliation.
But is defoliating autoflowering plants the right choice? Do growers risk anything?
Today we want to answer this and other questions so that you know everything about this topic.
However, remember to use this information simply for information purposes (unless you live in a country where it is possible to grow cannabis). In the UK, planting auto flowerer seeds, feminized seeds or fast flowering seeds is an administrative offence or a criminal offence, based on to the cases. Therefore, the seeds can only be collected.
And now, let’s move on to the primary topic of the article: defoliation!
Read also: Skunk cannabis: origins, meaning and effects
What is the defoliation of autoflowering plants?
Defoliating cannabis means removing some plant leaves to improve its yield in terms of quality and quantity of flowers.
If the foliage of a plant is very thick, it can excessively filter the light (natural or artificial) that the inflorescences should enjoy.
Growers who practise this technique aim to get bigger buds and increase the auto flower seeds of plants’ resin.
But why should defoliating be so convenient? There are two reasons for this:
- The flowers are receiving more light (but not too much!) and grow better;
- One of the resin functions, rich in cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, is to protect the plant from the action of UV rays. The light then stimulates the production of resin.
However, there is a problem. Defoliation is not a beginner’s practice and, if done with little awareness, it could be devastating for your cannabis seedling. In particular, autoflowering plants grow so fast that after a trauma, recovery is complicated. Sometimes impossible.
Is defoliating autoflowering plants beneficial?
Yes, it is!
For experienced growers, defoliation of cannabis could be a valuable practice to promote excellent yields. But whoever takes care of it does it with extreme care, starting from the lower nodes (so that even the lower parts of the stem can receive light) and removing very few leaves at a time so as not to weaken the plants.
Few people choose to defoliate autoflowering plants: the development of automatic flowering plants is so rapid that it often prevents the recovery of a weak plant.
Defoliation is more suitable for photoperiod plants, such as those born from feminized seeds. This practice is put in place during the vegetative phase (while pruning the leaves of autoflowering, or photoperiodic plants, is not recommended). The seedlings have all the time necessary to recover from the change.
When the plants begin to grow back in full force, then the grower starts the light / dark cycle dedicated to flowering, i.e., — for regular, non-autoflowering varieties — 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark.
How do you proceed with the defoliation of marijuana?
It is advisable to prune the leaves of the plants during the vegetative phase, while it is not recommended to do it during the flowering stage.
In addition, growers follow these few rules, simple to say but difficult to do:
- First, remove the lower leaves by choosing those that are ready to fall and diseased. It is always best to remove them so that the plant can focus its energy on healthy leaves.
- Make sure you only remove a few leaves at a time without drastically pruning the canopy.
- Prune the leaves neatly so that each part of the plant gets enough light.
At this point, you may be wondering if the defoliation can be carried out both indoors and outdoors. Let’s try to give a complete answer to your doubt.
Defoliate your autoflowering cannabis: Indoor or Outdoor?
Growers proceed with defoliation when growing indoors and rarely outdoors for specific reasons:
- Cannabis plants accumulate nutrients in their leaves and then use them in stressful situations. Outdoor grown cannabis, whether autoflowering or photoperiodic, undergoes enormous stressful situations (sudden gusts of wind, rain, temperature changes, humidity that is not always perfect). Therefore, it retains high percentages of nutrients in the leaves. So, it is not recommended to prune the foliage of plants grown outdoors, as the plants may not find enough nutrients to recover.
- Unlike artificial light, sun exposure changes throughout the day and usually, the whole plant gets enough light to develop at its best. Therefore, defoliation is redundant and, often, even disadvantageous: if the sun is too intense, the flowers (not protected by the leaves) can be affected.
For this reason, it is advisable to defoliate indoor plants but not those grown outdoors.
Now you know what it means to defoliate autoflowering plants, in which cases it is convenient and in which it would be better to avoid.
We hope this article has been helpful for you to solve your doubts even if, in the UK, it is not possible to grow cannabis. However, it is possible (and legal) to buy cannabis seeds online to collect them!
What are you waiting for?