After months of attention and hard efforts in your garden for our beloved Hemp plants, the time has finally come for the harvest. Many people (with great reasons) fear the process of cutting inflorescences from buds (a process also known as “manicuring”), but fortunately, there are ways to make it more pleasant and efficient. Understanding the basics before taking a pair of shears will help you make sure that you will end up with perfectly groomed buds with a very high-quality level and consequently, market appreciation.
Why carry out the trimming process on your hemp buds?
The cutting and trimming of our hemp buds for several primary purposes. From the aesthetic point of view, a well-cleaned top looks much better. The cannabis that has been cut takes on a more compact and uniform appearance. The excess foliage is an eyesore; even a light cleaning often results in a much more visually pleasing end product.
Moreover, the leaves tend to contain a lower concentration of trichomes and terpenes, lowering the quality level of the product. The removal of these protruding leaves exposes parts of the buds much more abundant in the active principle, furthermore because the leaves are thicker and harder to remove moisture. During the drying and tanning phase, the cut buds tend to leave a more uniform moisture content, so we can manage to have uniform tanning in the entire container and be able to preserve all the terpenes optimally.
When do we start to trim our beloved plants?
Simple even if much neglected by experienced growers, the cut should start several days before the harvest, when the larger leaves begin to lose colour and are therefore removed. Growers often cut off the leaves of the lower fans in the first weeks before the harvest, since it is at that very moment that senescence begins, a phase of the plant cycle where the larger leaves begin to wither with age. It is safe to start removing the dying foliage in the days before harvesting, or you can take it a step further and remove all the leaves from the lower fans during this time.
Cutting the harvest is inevitable, but there are a few different methods that you can use to get the job done. Here are some of the most common ways.
Hemp Trimmed by hand against machine-cut Hemp.
If you have large-scale cultivation, you might have thought of investing in industrial trimming machines. Not only are they costly, but they have some maintenance problems: consequently, they have not replaced manual trimming in the production of high-quality inflorescences. The shape and density of the flowers are unique to each plant and vary from bud to bud. The machines standardise this variable structure, resulting in damaged trichomes and shaved buds.
Paying staff to cut cannabis could be expensive, but it’s worth it if you’re interested in turning your plants into a quality end product. (Of course, if you have a small growth, you should be able to manage the cut by yourself.)
Wet to dry cut.
There are two-time windows in which the trimming can take place. The first is harvest day when the plant is still alive and green. This method is commonly called “wet trimming” and is probably the preferred method for several reasons.
First, the damp cut gives you access to all your buds. The large leaves will extend outward due to their excess moisture content, making their removal a much more natural and faster process. Many argue that wet cutting will result in a more compact and aesthetically pleasing end product, even if this is questionable. Wet shaving will almost always produce a faster drying process because the new foliage tends to keep the moisture inside the buds longer.
Dry cutting, on the other hand, occurs after the plants have had time to absorb some of their moisture. If left in a light, damp environment and at a controlled temperature for 4-10 days (up to two weeks in some cases), untreated buds will lose their moisture more slowly. This can benefit growers living in much drier climates, as it offers more time for the buds. Often in dry climates, the buds dry at a faster rate, giving rise to an uneven sprout in which the outside is very dry, leaving the inside not dried and damp.
Many also prefer dry cutting because the process tends to be less sticky and easier on your shears. Wet cutting can turn a pair of perfectly clean scissors into a shelter of resin and kief quickly, often causing more cleaning pauses before trimming can resume. In the end, both methods work well, and your situation should determine which path to take.
Ideal tools for cannabis trimming
Being a very delicate process, special tools will be needed to carry it out to completely avoid the risk of ruining our cannabis plants.
Shears with curved tips
Curved-tipped trimming shears are an ideal tool to carry out this process in the simplest and best way. In fact, the curved tips have the special feature of adapting perfectly to the base of the buds, thus allowing you to remove the leaves in total safety, thus avoiding damaging our beautiful buds. In addition, another special feature of these shears is that they can safely cut flush to remove the sugar leaves without running the risk of damaging the flowers. Fortunately, these shears are also comfortable to hold, having a very comfortable PVC handle and a super spring resistance, so as to avoid calluses on the hands due to trimming.
To carry out this particular process it is necessary to use latex gloves. These in fact protect the hands from the fraying of the skin that the trimming of cannabis buds can lead to. At least, thanks to these gloves, we will avoid covering our hands with annoying resin.
Drying and Tanning
After finishing the trimming process, the cannabis buds will need to be dried and cured. Drying is necessary to completely eliminate the moisture in the flowers. In fact, it is impossible to smoke cannabis buds if it is not dry. The tanning incredibly improves the flavors and aromas of our buds. Plus, tanning the buds will make them perfect for long-term storage.