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.
Grown outdoors, nutes a mix of GH maxi-gro, Humbolts snowstorm, Humbolts magnum, and a weekly dose of azamax to keep the creepy crawlies away.