Grow Higher - Vertical Growing Systems

Cannabis Defoliation

Why is Cannabis Defoliation Done?

Defoliation is done to improve the growth efficiency of the plant by removing leaves that would otherwise require nutrients to continue to grow or may block sunlight from reaching the growing flower. The practice of defoliation is a bit controversial; some growers swear by it, while others claim the practice does more harm than good. The theory is that removing the excess leaves during vegetation encourages more nutrients produced by the plant to go to flowering. By contrast, removing excess leaves during flowering helps light and oxygen reach the flower. 

Pruning vs Defoliation 

Pruning a cannabis plant involves clipping away full stems and nodes. Unlike pruning, however, defoliation focuses purely on removing leaves and not branches or nodes of the plant. 

Pruning vs Lollipopping 

Lollipopping cannabis is a phrase given to the practice of stripping all fan leaves from the cannabis plant during the initial weeks of the flowering stage. 

When Should Defoliation Be Done?

Defoliation is either done during vegetation when the plant is still growing and before it starts to fully flower or after the plant reaches its flowering stage. Vegetative defoliation should only be done by experienced growers, as this can harm the plant if not done properly. The general rule of cannabis defoliation during the flowering stage is to do the task as early in the flowering process as you can. Some cultivators do two defoliations: one during the first week of flowering and another during about week three. 

If defoliating cannabis during the flowering stage, three things should be noted: 

  • The leaves are so abundant that they are overlapping 
  • The plant is healthy, stable, and hardy 
  • There are leaves obscuring the starting buds 

How Defoliation Is Done

Generally speaking, the goal is to remove large fan leaves from the plant. Use a sterile pair of sharp scissors to cut these leaves from the plant. Small leaves and stems at the base may also be removed, such as weak, thin stems that may be using the plant’s resources but not necessary for thriving or bearing buds. 

Related Glossary Terms for Cannabis Defoliation 

Check out these other related terms in the glossary: 


Back to Glossary