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If you’re planning on growing cannabis with the goal of producing the healthiest plants and highest yields, then defoliation is something you should consider.

Defoliation is a pruning process where some of the foliage is removed to expose more of the plant below, which has a number of benefits. 

Today, not only are we here to teach you how to defoliate a cannabis plant, but also what the benefits are of doing it.

What is Defoliation?

Defoliation is a practice often used in cannabis cultivation but is something that can technically be done to any living plant that has leaves. 

This is a technique that involves removing foliage, or in other words, the leaves from the cannabis plant. The leaves are generally removed from the top or middle of the plant. It’s about improving light penetration, increasing airflow, and improving your overall yield.

Removing leaves from your cannabis plant might sound counterproductive, because after all, leaves absorb sunlight and allow the plant to perform photosynthesis, which it needs to grow.

Against what common sense might tell you, removing foliage from specific areas has a number of benefits worth taking advantage of. Let’s move on and get into the benefits of defoliation.

What Are the Benefits of Defoliating a Cannabis Plant?

Let’s not waste any time and get right to talking about why removing foliage from your cannabis plant is beneficial.

Increased Light Penetration

A large part of defoliation is removing big fan leaves.  Although large fan leaves absorb sunlight and contribute to photosynthesis, they block the lower parts of the plant from getting light. 

Getting more light to the lower bud sites can in itself produce a number of benefits, with bigger buds and higher yields being two of them.

Better Circulation

A big problem that many people face when growing cannabis plants is that they end up being too dense, with leaves being right on top of each other and on top of buds. 

Having a lack of circulation or airflow can result in a number of issues, with temperature and humidity control being two of them, and mold, mildew, and pests being a few more. 

Removing some foliage helps increase airflow, therefore mitigating all of these issues.

Detecting Pests

Cannabis pests are a real threat, and if they invade your crop, they could take over and wipe our your crop. By removing some of the larger fan leaves, you give pests fewer hiding spaces, thus making them easier to detect.

Redistributing Energy Towards Bud Growth

The biggest benefit that comes from defoliating cannabis plants is that it helps redistribute energy. 

Cannabis plants focus their energy in two main ways, growing foliage in the vegetative stage and growing flowers in the bloom stage. 

When the foliage is removed from the plant to allow light to penetrate down through the canopy, buds tend to swell up more resulting in a higher overall yield. 

How to Defoliate a Cannabis Plant: Step-by-Step

Defoliating a cannabis plant is exceedingly simple, and if you follow the steps listed below, you should see great success with this plant training method.

  1. Picking the right time to defoliate a cannabis plant is essential. This is best done right before you switch from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage, or just a few weeks into flowering.
  2. You now need to choose which leaves you’ll remove, with the large fan leaves that block light from getting to the bottom of the cannabis plant being prime candidates.
  3. Use clean tools, particularly sanitized garden shears, and snip the leaf away right at its base, as close to the branch as possible.

Tips for Successful Cannabis Defoliation

Although the process may seem easy, there are some tips you need to be aware of to prevent any kind of negative consequences from arising due to over-eager defoliating.

  • Start slow and only remove a few leaves. Cutting leaves off of a cannabis plant causes it stress, and the more leaves you remove at once, the more stress you cause. So, start with just five to ten leaves and see how it goes.
  • After you do so, monitor the cannabis plant for any signs of stress for at least a few days. If you see that the cannabis plant is healthy and doing well, then you can continue defoliating it further.
  • Make sure that any utensils you use to cut away leaves from the cannabis plant have been cleaned and sanitized. You don’t want to infect your plant with any bacteria, diseases, or pests!

How to Defoliate Cannabis Plants – Final Thoughts

As you can see, how to defoliate a cannabis plant is about as easy as it gets. As long as you know which leaves to go for, and you have a clean pair of shears, it’s one of the easiest yet most beneficial cannabis plant training techniques around.