The 3 Best Cannabis Pruning Techniques for Bigger Bud Harvests

Did you know that you could maximize your grow operation to produce more high-quality bud than you usually would? Every cannabis grower dreams of massive harvests with the fattest, densest, THC-laden buds that give the most potent highs. You can achieve such crops by employing a variety of cannabis pruning techniques that will significantly boost your yield.

We’ll quickly walk through the main points you need to know to get this right the first time. First, let us start at the beginning and get you all caught up on what pruning marijuana actually is.

What Is Cannabis Pruning?

Pruning marijuana involves the deliberate removal of plant parts to simultaneously stimulate vigorous growth and control the overall structure of your crop. Many experienced cannabis cultivators attest to pruning activities’ effectiveness in making the most of their grow space and yield potential. With a clean and sterilized cutting tool, you can make dramatic changes that benefit the plant’s production capabilities.

While it might seem counter-intuitive to deliberately butcher your growing cannabis plant, doing this creates many benefits that make up for the minor injury inflicted. With knowledge of the best marijuana pruning techniques, a grower can control plant growth and boost yields from larger, more potent bud harvests.

However, you won’t get any tangible results by just cutting up your plants willy-nilly, it is important to learn the correct method in order to grow a big yield. So, what should you pay attention to for a successful pruning operation?

What to Look for When Pruning Cannabis

The whole idea of pruning your cannabis plant is to stimulate better-quality growth sites to achieve those densely packed buds. These mainly form on the plant’s upper regions where there’s ample access to deep-penetrating light, with good airflow.

So, you’ll want a wider upper canopy that captures as much light as possible. The early stages of marijuana’s vegetative growth start as narrow stalks that gradually ‘bush out’ until flowering. This feature allows expert growers to enhance further the growth towards more quality flowers full of rich trichomes.

What you’ll want to remove:

  • Diseased looking leaves
  • Leaves dying from light starvation
  • Heavily shaded branches with little chance of getting quality light
  • And finally, bud sites that form on the lower parts where there’s zero chance of light penetration.

How to Prune A Marijuana Plant Correctly?

The first secret to a successful prune is a clean, sterile cut that reduces plant infection risk. Next, your cuts should be slightly angled; causing the littlest trauma and promoting quick recovery.

When you need to prune growing marijuana, having the right accessories and pruning tools will make the task more successful. It is recommended to work with a pair of light or regular cutters and heavy-duty cutters. The latter comes in handy when you need to take out stouter branches.

The process becomes simpler to execute with the following method:

  • First, you want to start taking out the larger branches to open up space and promote good airflow through the entire canopy. Target the branches on bottom parts that are under heavy shade. They won’t provide useable buds and use up precious plant nutrients.
  • Next, you want to remove branches that are growing ‘towards the middle’ of the plant. They inevitably get shaded out and don’t produce full buds, so don’t worry about losing those branches.
  • Finally, you can remove diseased, underdeveloped, and dying branches along with leaves.

It’s generally a good idea to water your plant with nutrient-rich water, immediately after every prune operation. Doing this helps with faster recovery and resistance to diseases breaking out where you have cut.

The Best Marijuana Pruning Techniques for Increased Yield

When you decide that you want to maximize your bud harvests from your trees, you’ll want to know about the most prolific pruning techniques that will help you achieve massive yields.

There are 3 well-known cannabis pruning techniques that will give the results we want. We’ll take them in order of increasing technicality and detail work, so you’ll know what you’re working with.


Topping your marijuana plant is a simple pruning technique that gives you ‘two main stems for the price of one’. When you top a cannabis plant, it responds by vigorously growing two new shoots directly below the cut stem. By doing this a few times, you can successfully keep your canopy ‘spread out’ allowing for more light capture and more dense buds. Indoor growers, with typically limited light sources, will significantly enjoy the benefits of topping cannabis plants. While many indoor growers love this technique, it works great for outdoor growing also.

To top your marijuana safely:

  • ensure your scissors or pruning shears are cleaned and sterilized. You don’t want to introduce any unwanted infection into the plant’s system and jeopardize all your efforts. Rubbing alcohol will do the job.
  • Next, you will gently cut below the newest shoot on the main stem. This signals the plant to grow two fresh sprouts below the cut site, doubling its access to light.

Repeated toppings will give the eventual canopy an expanded shape that allows light and air to penetrate deeply. The only downside is the time it takes the plant to recover from the shock of pruning and dedicate the resources towards growing bigger.


A fim prune involves the partial removal of the newest shoot to create broad, flat-topped plants that capture lots of sunlight to produce significantly higher yields. Fimming rewards the cultivator with 4 new growth points that branch outwards to absorb optimum light energy.

To give your growing crop a fim prune, first ensure that your tools are properly sanitized. Next, you will need to take off part of the latest shoot– about 2 or 3 will do. This stimulates the plant into growing additional growth points to try and recover from the damage. Tall Sativa’s are fast growers and respond well to this marijuana pruning technique.

Outdoor growers can maximize their efforts by adopting this technique to produce massive plants. Cultivators with smaller grow rooms can also take advantage of the process to ensure optimum use of available space. Giving the plant more active growth points can help it absorb more light to convert into bigger buds.


The final cannabis pruning technique for increasing overall yield involves completely removing all bushy growth in the lower region to shape your plant like a lollipop. This method allows the plant to focus all its energy on developing huge colas with densely packed buds at the top, where there’s good light penetration.

Lollipopping marijuana requires a fair bit of plant maintenance, but the rewards are worth the added effort. Skilled cultivators prefer to carry out all pruning activities during the vegetative growth phase, which allows for maximum recovery time. It is crucial to trim in a controlled manner that minimizes shock to the developing plant.

Can All Cannabis Varieties Be Pruned?

All cannabis plants can be pruned to create more expansive canopies that maximize light conversion. Sativa dominant breeds significantly benefit from pruning as the plant has the chance to grow outwards rather than a single straight stalk.

The exception to this would be auto cannabis strains that feature abbreviated growth cycles. These marijuana varieties tend to suffer from being pruned because the plant has less time to recover from the damage and stress. Any pruning activity has the chance to impact production negatively and consequently reduce the overall yield.

However, if you must prune an auto species, early topping or fimming will create the best results to manage plant heights and encourage more lateral growth.

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