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Advanced Nutrients Exclusive: How To Prune Cannabis For Professional-Level Results

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As growers, we know that mastering the art of pruning cannabis plants is ESSENTIAL for cultivating the heaviest, highest quality yields possible.

When you strategically remove branches, leaves, and buds, you’ll encourage more vigorous growth and unleash your crop’s potential.

You see, just some of the many benefits of pruning cannabis include…

  • Improved light penetration
  • Increased air circulation
  • Better nutrient allocation
  • Heavier yields
  • Control over plant size/shape


… Which is why our master cultivators have dedicated a full series of Grower POV episodes to revealing their expert strategies for successfully pruning your plants.

Let’s start by taking a look at…

How To Prune Cannabis During Veg

When pruning in veg, the first thing to do is determine which parts of your plants are most likely to continue thriving, and which parts won’t survive this stage of development.

Make sure to clean up the bottoms, where it’s obvious no light will penetrate (and growth won’t happen).

Next, take note of any branches shooting above the rest and threatening to take over.

Strategically prune these branches to ensure an even canopy, where the entire plant can receive an adequate amount of light to grow.

Then continue working your way through your plant, checking to see if any leaves are blocking others from the light, and pruning those as well from the plant.

A good rule of thumb…

When learning how to prune cannabis, you always want to remove everything except the last three nodes.

The more you clean your plants of unnecessary leaves and offshoots, the better they’ll channel energy to their top leaves and stems for uninterrupted growth.

Another thing to keep in mind…

When it comes to timing, start pruning at the beginning of the cannabis vegetative stage. Some growers mistakenly begin deleafing at week three, which can seriously hinder their plant’s developmental potential.

And one last word of advice…

Make sure to NEVER peel off the skin of the plant during pruning. If you do, you’re making it susceptible to diseases and bacteria that threaten to destroy all your progress up to this point.

Watch this short Grower POV episode to see how to prune a cannabis plant during veg: Grower POV: Veg Pruning.

After you’ve got this pruning process nailed down, it’s time to explore…

Dryback Tips During The Cannabis Vegetative Stage

Properly watered cannabis plant

In the Grower POV episode below, you’ll see plants that are two weeks into the cannabis vegetative stage. They’re vibrant, green, and healthy, with a robust root structure supporting their foundation.

So, how did our master growers coax such vigorous growth from their cannabis?

As they’ll reveal, there’s one key rule you should stick to…

As soon as you transplant and water, you want to dryback down to 25 percent.

This way, your plants have the opportunity to develop properly from roots to leaves.

Because here’s the thing. When the roots are constantly searching for water, they keep growing and expanding, building the rock solid foundation needed for optimal nutrient uptake and strong, sturdy vegetation.

On the other hand, overwatering your plants leads to less vigor and weaker growth.

Just remember this…

The more your roots search for water, the bigger the cannabis root system will be.

And with bigger roots comes bigger, healthier yields.

In this next video, you’ll see that our experts water their coco cubes to full saturation, then leave the plants alone for 5 days in order to achieve a proper dryback: Grower POV: Dryback Tips During Veg.

Now, chances are you’re not going to love how every plant turns out during veg.

This is exactly why we recommend producing more clones, so you aren’t forced into using plants that haven’t produced the results you want to see.

A general principle…

Always Make 10 to 20 Percent Extra Clones Every Time You Grow

Otherwise, you’ll end up with an uneven canopy and unsatisfactory yields.

A few other quick tips during the cannabis vegetative stage…

At a temperature of 80-83 degrees, you’ll see quick growth and stretch. If you want a more compact canopy, decrease the temperature to slow down the growth. And at a lower temperature, your plants will also consume less water.

Make sure to consult a VPD Chart whenever you adjust your indoor cannabis temperature to ensure your plants are perspiring properly (not retaining too much water that they can’t uptake any more, or transpiring so much water that their stomata dry out).

Next up, we’re covering…

Pruning Cannabis Plants Before Bloom

Pruning cannabis before blooming stage

In the next Grower POV video, Advanced Nutrients’ master cultivators share exclusive insights on their favorite pruning method right before bloom.

Follow it in your grow, and you’ll keep your plants clean, eliminating the need to return to pruning beneath the canopy later on.

As you’ll see, it’s extremely important to remove all the bottom branches that are sucking energy away from those that are going to make it into bloom.

Also, train your staff to keep scissors clean, using a 20 percent bleach solution to prevent the spread of unwanted diseases.

When pruning cannabis before flowering, try to keep as many leaves as possible in place; leaves are a critical component for photosynthesis, which is how your plants get the energy they need to thrive.

Simply put, the more leaves, the more energy they’ll have for optimal development.

After your plants have entered bloom, you can reassess whether those leaves are needed. Read this article to learn more about defoliating during the flowering stage.

Watch this short video to see which branches our experts choose to keep and which they choose to cut for the perfect transition to the bloom phase: Grower POV: Pruning Before Bloom.

How Do I Know When to Top My Plants?

When you top a plant, you’re essentially damaging it so it grows the way you want: i.e., flatter and bushier with more than just one main cola.

Growers often integrate it into a broader training strategy, and use it to increase the number of budding sites, help optimize airflow, and improve light penetration.

Topping requires removing the top of the main plant, breaking its atipical dominance and forcing it to split into two main stems.

Keep in mind, however, that different genetics require different pruning methods; some need to be topped while others produce better results without it.

For example, topping can be a beneficial strategy for maximizing yield when growing tall sativa strains. But because indica plants are typically flatter and bushier to begin with, topping isn’t always necessary. In fact, it can even interfere with certain genetics’ natural growth tendencies, compromising the integrity and quality of the plant.

Watch the last video to see the difference between strains that require topping and those that are better off without it: Grower POV: Pruning Sativas.

Get More Exclusive Tips From Grower POV

Cannabis pruning tips

After going through the videos mentioned in this article, you’ll know exactly how to prune cannabis for optimal results…

From practicing the ideal dryback to topping the right genetics.

Make sure to stay tuned for more from our Grower POV Series, where our experts delve deeper into the strategies behind cultivation mastery.

Subscribe now and get more exclusive tips from our Expert Growers!


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About the Author

The Advanced Nutrients Team

Since 1999, Advanced Nutrients has been committed to educating the community and bringing the most up-to-date knowledge to the forefront of grows across the globe. Every article you read here has been curated by Advanced Nutrients’ industry experts, so you can continue raising your bud weight… and your reputation.

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Over time, components within the nutrients settle on the bottom of the bottle. When you pour a bottle without shaking it, you can potentially be pouring out an unbalanced solution. Shaking up the nutrient bottle ensures you are pouring the right blend into your reservoir, giving your crops the nutrition they need.

Usually, it’s not a problem. But some products are incompatible with each other and can damage your plants when they’re used together. For example, bloom boosters with high PK numbers or low-grade silica products can destabilize your nutrient mix and cause nutrient lockout.

Nutrient manufacturers design their products to be used with each other. In doing so, they include specific portions of each nutrient in each product, so crops receive the right nutrition through each stage of the grow cycle. When you stick with one manufacturer, you don’t have to worry about inadvertently destabilizing your nutrient mixture. One example of why you need to stick with only one manufacturer’s products is Advanced Nutrients’ pH Perfect line. These products are designed to keep your crops’ root zone within a specific pH range. When you use them alongside products from another manufacturer, we can’t guarantee your root zone will maintain its optimal pH level.

Yes! If you’re growing with Advanced Nutrients products, you can use our easy nutrient calculator to generate the correct nutrient chart for your crops in seconds. Check out Advanced Nutrients’ nutrient calculator here. Another great resource is our library of free custom-growing recipes. Try our expert grower-tested nutrient schedules here.

You can also download our official BudLabs app to generate nutrient schedules and receive real-time notifications for specific tasks, including feeding your crops. Upgrade to BudLabs Pro to maintain profiles on an unlimited number of crops.

If you are a grower, visit this link to find the closest Advanced Nutrients Authorized Retailer. If you are a retailer, visit this link to identify our official distributors.

Our greatest passion is growing great cannabis—and helping other growers do the same. That’s why we offer complimentary cultivation support 24/7 from Monday to Friday and from 9 AM until 7 PM PST on Saturday… With the same level of advice licensed producers would pay consultants tens of thousands of dollars to unlock.
Just call 1-800-640-9605 or email support@advancednutrients.com. For Spanish-speaking growers, email spanishsupport@advancednutrients.com.

Yes! If for any reason you are not absolutely thrilled with the results you achieve when you use our products, just bring the unused portion, along with your original sales receipt, back to the place of purchase within six months, and ask for your money back. Find out more about our Grower Guarantee here.

Advanced Nutrients has spent many thousands of man-hours developing a technology that automatically balances your pH for you — putting it in the “sweet spot” and holding it there for one week.

And the technology is so “smart” that it can account for many of the aforementioned variables in your grow room. Our proprietary pH buffering agents and stabilizing mechanisms became the foundation of a new system aptly called pH Perfect® Technology. Learn all about it here.

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