Originally Posted by Chappi
Plants grow new bracts daily once they’re in full flowering phase. Each bract matures independently than the rest. Therefore some bracts will have trichomes that mature at different rates. Personally I use a loupe and look at a number of flowers throughout the plant to get a good gauge of where the plant is as far as ripeness goes. As far as desired effect it’s obvious to me that it depends on the strain, not all clear, cloudy or amber trichomes will give you the same effect, not to mention the terpene profile. The best way to find out is to test the flowers at different levels of maturity along with everything else you do to check for maturity.
For me this is the best post in this thread.
I've seen so many new growers chop just based on trich colour from a cursory glance with the loupe and the plants themselves look nowhere near done. All white pistils, no swollen bracts but "I saw an amber trich" so out come the shears. They don't know enough about the way the plant matures because they're learning off growers who don't let their plants mature and sometimes they're looking at trichs on sugar leaves rather than calyxes, which tend to mature quicker but get trimmed off anyway.
I used to be a loupe lover myself until I read the harvesting guide over at a UK based growers forum, written by really old school experts including oldtimer1. They show how the plant matures from where most people would be chopping, through to when it's actually mature - swollen calyxes, all red hairs etc. They make the point that it's only when it's all swollen and heavy, that you should be louping to dial in peak harvest time. They even show a plant that's gone too far - over a month past optimum harvest point - to make the point that the harvest window is a lot wider than many people think. Since I put the loupe away and started following that guide, my yields and highs have improved a lot and most of the time now I judge harvest almost completely by eye and feel, only scoping to confirm what I already know.
In reference to the op's question about new growers, I do think it was wrong to call trichome colour a myth, but I also believe new growers should be encouraged to flower out their plants fully before harvest and learn how the plant looks at peak ripeness.
The other thing that's coming up in this thread is the colour balance of clear/cloudy/amber and percentages. Well to paraphrase the guide I mentioned - if you want an up high, grow a load of sativas to full ripeness and find the plant and pheno that suits you. If you want a stoned couchlock effect, grow a load of indicas to full maturity and find the plant and pheno that suits you.
Anyway, it's all about what you as a grower want. If louping your plants from week 3 and chopping with all white hairs is pickling your pudding it's no business of mine and I say good luck to you. Whatever gets you the high you seek.
I only interjected to share my experience and balance out what I think is a common error new - and sometimes not so new - growers make.