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Old 05-25-2017, 09:53 PM #1
Teh_Baker
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To defoliate or, not to defoliate...

So here is the deal. I have been a grower for several years, and for the last 3 years at least i have been doing selective defoliation on shade/fan/water leaves once girls make it to flower. My process is to take all fan leaves up to the 4th node from the meristem or tip top of each cola. This provides me with very good aeration and sun penetration. Because my personal preference is to have the largest densest nugs i pull off most of the lowest popcorn nugs as well. As the plants continue to stretch i continue the process of pinching off fan leaves.

Well i just read up on defoliation during the vegetative stage and throughout by k33ftr33z https://www.icmag.com/ic/showthread.php?t=174163
He touts the ability to keep a plant at a managable size, while still increasing the yield and yield quality. I totally believe him based on my results of only de-leafing in flower stage. I am not going to make any arguments against him.

What i am going to do is this. A side by side comparison of the same strain in the same conditions. I'll start defoliating one now as they are starting to get beafy, and then ill save the rest to do my normal MO on. At the end, we will do a side by side comparison of factors that matter to me. Ie. finishing plant size, size of buds, overall weight, and managability vs time available. Please keep in mind that i have a fulltime job, and certainly am not blessed enough to dedicate all of my time to my stash garden. I do devote around 3-5 hours per week to the garden, more time closer to harvest obviously. I see the plants at the very least every 3 days, and usually see leaves that i missed the last time out, so i pinch leaves almost every time out.

What we have to test this round is MAZAR, which is a legendary monster. I already know i am in for a ton of tying and training later in the season with plants capable of easily hitting 12ft, so its worth a try to make a more managable plant that still produces the same weight. Ill do some more research to see if THC Snow is a taller plant and make a decision to do this with one of them also.

Please chime in with your own thoughts and experiences along the way. Lets make this a fun experiment!

Here is my current Mazar, you can see she would already benefit from a healthy haircut if you will.

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Old 05-26-2017, 04:59 PM #2
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Here you go, the proof is in the pudding. Went home last night and did as i said. Trimmed up one of the Mazar, lifted up all the skirts on the rest of the girls to prevent muddy buddies later in the season. This also encourages vertical growth which i want to a certain point. And since my autos are flowering i went ahead and thinned them out also.
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Old 05-27-2017, 11:54 AM #3
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If you take fan leaves off, afaik, you are removing 1) a source of translocatable nutrients and 2) indicators of deficiency. That said, fan leaves can block a lot of light to new growth. Where i'm at with it is leaving bottom leaves as indicators, and tucking detrimental fan leaves out of the way of new growth... or removing them.
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Old 05-27-2017, 01:09 PM #4
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Depends when and what you remove and how much of a root system you have. Removing smaller branches early on promotes more airflow, better light penetration as well as allows resources to go to the branches you leave instead of small branches more blocked by the other foliage that are just sinks rather than sources. If your have a well established root system, removing too much will promote suckering as well leading to needing for more pruning as the larger root system can produce and has more cytokinins. Total leaf area needs to be considered for what you are doing to maximize growth and production but what you have done looks good to me, good air flow below the main branches will pay off later in the season by not stopping the air movement below them causing stagnation and things like mildew, botrytis, fusarium etc. For defoliation I think a simple rule will suffice, plant structure first then leaves overlapping or being blocked by other leaves from receiving sun and then older leaves that are no longer sources but have become sinks, minor defoliation on a regular basis should be more beneficial than huge rounds of defoliation in infrequent sessions. that is my opinion.
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Old 05-27-2017, 02:26 PM #5
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I sometimes do this to induce branch forming.
But I only take one pair of leaves off at a time and wait for a while before taking more off.
If too many leaves are taken off at once will greatly slow your plant's growth rate.
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Old 05-27-2017, 02:38 PM #6
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Old 05-27-2017, 03:41 PM #7
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I would have left it for now, it looks like it had plenty of air flow before cutting all the shit off it
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Old 05-27-2017, 06:28 PM #8
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I feel like you should have waited a few weeks before you start stripping your plant. There is no doubt that a plant will respond positively to defoliation, but when you start so soon you are removing a high # of your solar panels and reduce photosynthesis. Also, like Noonin Norcal stated, the plant had plenty of airflow before. Last thing is I see people every year remove the bottom third of their plant because they dont want buds hanging on the ground. This greatly reduces your total yield. I want to see buds laying on the ground and have NEVER seen mold on any of these buds that we call ground fruit. After they are dried and trimmed you would never know...
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Old 05-27-2017, 07:29 PM #9
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From personal experience, defoliation can be a good or bad thing.

I always trim up the skirts and lowers of my girls, this is not really considered defoliation but it does help focus growth to the tops of the plants instead of the bottom.

Now, one thing I have learned is its best to defoliate during veg (give plant time to grow back out and do its thing) before you start flowering. Your better off using LST outdoors in my opinion because there is really no reason to do defoliation. LST works amazingly well outside.

I have defoliated before during early to mid flower and in my opinion it did cost me some yield. I usually only do it now a little here and there when my flower room is over crowded and I need more light penetration around my girls and deeper into their lush jungle of love.

One thing I have started doing lately is removing the fan leaves or any leaf for that matter that is overlapping/covering a bud, or any leaves that is blocking light from the lower buds a week to two at the MOST before harvest. I let my buds fill in first and only do this in the last two weeks of flowering and the results have always been outstanding and have never failed me yet with any strain that I have have experimented on. They get harder, denser, finish quicker.

But outdoors? I'd never defoliate, maybe on a monster cropped plant a bit here and there to prevent mold and encourage better airflow.

But I will stand by and watch this.

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Old 05-27-2017, 09:26 PM #10
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I lollipop my outdoor, i don't really mess with fan leafs unless its a really heavy indica leaning plant and thats just to help with better air flow. when i lollipop it doesn't happen till its been outside for a good month or more at the least or right at the beginning of flowering
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