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Old 10-14-2008, 05:15 AM #1
Marcellas
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Question Removing Fan Leaves and Small Budsites Before Harvest

I have one small PurpleKush X Haze cross growing outdoors at about 43deg N, and she's been flowering for about six weeks.. I plan to harvest by Halloween or sooner (within 2 weeks), and have been removing some fan leaves during flowering to get light to all the buds. I've recently began removing the small budsites that won't be worth smoking on the bottom of the branches to focus energy to the main buds.. She was topped early on to create 2 main branches, and these branches were tied down seperate ways (LST) right before flowering to create multiple tops. It kinda looks like 2 plants in 1 the way I topped and LST'd her

Anyways my question is, is it a good idea to remove fan leaves and tiny buds prior to the planned harvest so that the main buds can receive more sunlight and energy?? I was actually thinking about removing ALL the fan-leaves on her, except for the ones on the buds about a week before harvest - good or bad idea?

My yield is going to be very small (lucky to get an eighth dried), so I'm just trying to increase my yield/potency to its maxiumum potential on the nice buds I do have!! I should've worked on this earlier I know.. I'm also deciding if I should start flushing now(nothing but H2O) or give her one more small nutrient feeding even though she got nutes today, but thats a different story.. Advice would be greatly appreciated!!
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Old 10-14-2008, 05:29 AM #2
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Well, ask 2 different growers, and you will get 2 different answers, but IMHOyou should never make any cuts to the plant after it has started it's flowering cycle. Those big leaves are there for a reason!! They take in more light so the plant can do more owrk. And everytime you make a cut during flowering, the plant has to divert energy for flowering to heal the wounds of the cuts. It's best in the future to do all pruning before flowering and if you need tight to an area that is covering a nice bud site, then tie the leaf back or I use stakes in my garden to position buds to get the most light. Hope any of this helps.
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Old 10-14-2008, 05:55 PM #3
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I like to remove those lower bud sites early in flower. LEss stress on the plant so it can divert nutrients to the main bud sites instead. I also prefer tucking fan leaves away from bud sites if possible rather than removing them to get light to the site you want.
I would try going longer with the plant if you want bigger buds, the last weeks of flower is when they really put on the weight and most strains can go longer than you think!
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Old 10-14-2008, 06:10 PM #4
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What I like to do is when I know I'm about a month out from harvesting, I'll gradually prune off the some of the bigger fan leaves and expose the bud sites that were covered up.

I also prune prior to flowering, but I also prune about two weeks afterward as well, cutting off the skimppy little branches. I'll tuck leaves down too, but they always pop back up, or other leaves grow in to cover that previous spot.

When I'm a few days from harvesting, the majority of fan leaves have been removed, and I'll remove the rest, just leaving the leaves closest to the bud sites.

It makes a difference when the light reaches the budsites that were covered up. So, what I also do is selectively harvest and chop the tops that are more mature and let the lower bud sites reap the light for a few days to a week. This technique works especially well if you have plants that turn purple. But I use it for non-purple plants as well.

Good Luck!

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Old 10-14-2008, 07:24 PM #5
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Thanks for the advice guys!! Still deciding what I'm gonna do.. OS, why does your technique work better for purple plants? My plant is especially purple!
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Old 10-14-2008, 09:25 PM #6
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Fan leaves no.
Popcorn buds yes; rub off the lowest bud sites sometime during the first couple weeks of flower, leaving only sites on strong branches that receive good light.
That being said, I don't consider this as much an outdoor technique as indoor, because it has a lot to do with air circulation and ease of trim, and the light indoors is limited so you don't want your plants wasting it. Outdoors, you've got that zillion watt HPS in the sky (=light is not your limiting factor) and if you don't feel like trimming popcorn, toss it in the hash bag. Obviously you have to still feed correctly to make it all come together.
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Old 10-14-2008, 09:37 PM #7
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Correct me if I'm wrong but:

When flushing, doesn't the plant use the energy stored up in the fan leaves to finish the plant off?

Also when drying, if you leave the fan leaves on, it will take longer to dry, but will break down more narsty chlorophyll giving you a tastier smoke. Of course you will have to dry prune by hand, but that's just sticky goopy fun... kinda like sex .

I always love jumping into the "to prune or not to prune" battles , it's a shame you have so little to work with in the end, but I hope it's kind to you .

m1...

Last edited by mallyone; 10-14-2008 at 09:40 PM..
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Old 10-14-2008, 10:01 PM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcellas
Thanks for the advice guys!! Still deciding what I'm gonna do.. OS, why does your technique work better for purple plants? My plant is especially purple!

Well, I have Purple Erkle (PE), and the stems are really long and the fan leaves fat and wide that they cover a lot of underbrush. From my observation with PE, the tops will purple up and finish faster due to the access to light that the under brush doesn't have. When I selectively harvest the tops, it opens up that bottom portion of the canopy to all the light it wasn't getting. The coloring of the buds under the canopy are usually a lighter in color (either purple or green). And when they get more direct light, the buds will darken and finish up.

In addition, the strategical gradual de-leafing also helps the underbrush get more light sooner.

I hope that makes sense.

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Old 10-15-2008, 12:39 AM #9
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I did various levels of trimming throughout this grow on different plants. They're all different phenotypes, so it's no definite proof, but the ones who got less trimming have larger, denser buds. And even the buds 4" below the canopy are swelling to similar size of the tops, even though they APPEAR to be getting less light. I read somewhere that while to human eyes, the shaded buds appear to be getting dramatically less light, and while this is true to some extent, the leaves are only reflecting the green waves of lights, everything else is being absorbed by the leaf, or passing through it. I believe they said something like 20% of light is blocked by typical fan leaves.

Trimming seems more useful in altering auxins in the plant to concentrate growth. Rather than increasing direct light, you're increasing the amount of energy the plant puts towards parts that are already receiving a proper amount of light. If that makes sense.
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Old 10-15-2008, 03:46 AM #10
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Really depends on strain

Some strains don't produce lower flowers as productively as top growth on the same plant. This is assuming we are talking about indoor cultivation with limited light penetration.

With those types of strains either: Grow shorter to keep the entire plant productive or remove small branches/budsites on larger plants. I initiate at 10-20" so I finish larger plants. I like to thin at three weeks into flower. The reason I thin branches/budsites at three weeks is that you can really get a better view of finishing structure. You'll be able to clearly see the runt budsites/branches that if removed will easily be made up in larger tops and more productive areas of the plant.

Some strains grow good lower buds at larger finishing size. Trainwreck grows good solid flowers along the plant's entire length for the most part. Obviously trainwreck wouldn't produce solid flowers if grown to 6ft under a 400hps and some thinning would need to be done. Just clip some and record your results. If you find that your strain requires a little more thinning to have good solid flowers over the entire plant, then thin a little more until you master your strain.

Congestion will also play a huge role in what you have to thin. What I mean by that is, if you stick multi-branched (topped) plants very close together (containers are touching each other) there will be less light penetration and more of a need to thin branches/budsites due to lack of light beneath the canopy.

As far as outsideis concerned, all branches have the potential to be productive as long as training was well done from seedling to flowering. You may find a sucker (thin, scraggly stem growing inside main branching) that needs to be removed from time to time but for the most part if branching is trained, you'll have a very productive plant from top to bottom.
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