A Beginner’s Guide to Trimming Your Weed

When it comes time to harvest your ganja garden, you’ll have to trim all those beautiful flowers your plants produced. Trimming weed is like giving each bud a little haircut or manicure. Those gorgeous buds you see on the web and in magazines don’t come off the plant that way. They’ve been trimmed to look that good.

Trimming weed can become a tedious process, but the effort you put in isn’t only necessary, but definitely worth it in the end. There are a couple different methods of trimming that will make your herb look its best. Before you begin, it’s best to know the basics of trimming your weed. 

Why Trim Your Weed?

Why you should trim your weedFirst things first. You want your cannabis to look good. If you’ve never trimmed weed before, the buds that come off a plant once its harvested look nothing like the buds you buy from the dispensary. Trimmed weed looks more appealing and takes on a more even appearance, and probably looks much like the buds you’re likely accustomed to smoking.

The little leaves that are on your untrimmed buds are known as sugar leaves. They have a lower concentration of trichomes which should be removed in order to open up the richer trichome content in the buds.

Lastly, not only do buds not look as pretty when you don’t trim off the sugar leaves, but not trimming them results in a much harsher smoke.

Different Ways to Trim Your Weed: Should You Trim by Hand or Use a Trim Machine?

When it comes to trimming, you’ve got a couple choices on how you want to do things. You can trim by hand with trimming shears, or you can invest in a trimming machine to do the tedious work for you.

If you’ve only got a few plants, investing in a trim machine probably isn’t the best option. Trim machines don’t come cheap, and even growers who have large-scale grows typically stick with hiring trimmers to do the work instead. Not only does hand-trimmed bud look better, but trim machines can end up damaging trichomes and reduce the overall quality of your weed.

Wet vs. Dry Trimming

Trimming can take place either immediately when plants are cut down or after they dry. Trimming plants immediately when they’re cut is known as wet trimming. Trimming them after they’ve dried is known as dry trimming.

Wet Trimming

Wet trimmingEach grower has different ideas on what method is “best,” but the majority of growers (especially those with large-scale grows) prefer to trim plants when they’re still wet.

For one, wet trimming is arguably much easier than dry trimming. Sugar leaves are still fresh, leaving them protruding outward and much easier to trim. It will also allow buds to dry more quickly so you can get to properly curing your cannabis.

While definitely debatable, some say that bud that’s been wet trimmed looks better in the end than bud that’s been dry trimmed.

Dry Trimming

Not every grower cares to trim their bud when its fresh off the plant. Dry trimming occurs after plants have had a chance to be hung and dried out a bit.

In dry climates however, bud will dry out more quickly that can result in weed that’s dry and crunchy on the outside, but still moist inside. For growers who live in drier climates (shout-out Colorado), buds should be dried in a temperature, light, and humidity-controlled environment where they will dry out slower and more uniformly.

Those that prefer dry trimming do so because it’s a lot less sticky and a lot easier on your trimming shears. Wet trimming can be sticky, sticky while dry trimming tends to be a bit easier. Trimming a strain like Gorilla Glue? Forget about less-sticky trimming, wet or dry. A strain like this will straight up make your shears stick together like the product it was named after.

Getting Your Trim On

When it comes time to harvest and trim up all those beautiful, dense nugs, you’ll need a few supplies to get you started.

Choose Your Trimming Shears

Choose the right trimming shearsInvesting in a quality pair of pruning shears is a trimmer’s go-to for making trim life all the easier. Even better is to invest in two pairs so you can swap them out when one becomes to sticky to use, rather than cleaning them off every five minutes.

There are several types of pruning shears you can purchase, but it really comes down to two different types. Regular or spring-loaded. In this case, it’s all about personal preference. I’ve used both and while I prefer spring-loaded, some days the regular shears are my go-to.

Find a Spot Where You’ll Be Comfortable

Trimming takes time. It’s the most tedious part about growing weed, except maybe waiting for harvest. When you sit down to trim, be prepared to sit down for a while depending on how much weed you’ve harvested.

Trimming typically involves a lot of sitting, so choose your chair wisely. While a comfy chair or couch might sound appealing, your back will be done for by the end of it all. Folding chairs or straight-backed dining chairs are best and switching it up by standing to trim isn’t a bad idea either.

A kitchen or folding table makes a great trim station. Investing in a trim tray is an excellent idea as well, as they make a great lap tray for easy mobility when you want to take your trim to a different room.

Have Alcohol on Hand to Keep Your Shears Clean

You’ll want to have something on hand to keep your shears clean throughout the trimming process. Resin collects quickly. Have a cup handy with rubbing alcohol in it where you can soak your shears when you switch them out for your clean pair. The alcohol works like a charm to remove the resin. All you need is a clean rag to wipe it away and your shears will be like new.

Keep Things Entertaining

One final thing that makes the whole trimming process all the better is having something to listen to while you’re trimming. This last step is crucial for a trim sesh that’s as enjoyable as possible. Listening to your favorite music, various TedTalks, podcasts, and YouTube videos can pass the time and keep you from going out of your mind.

You can also keep things interesting by getting into conversations with your trim crew. “20 Questions” and “Would You Rather” are also super entertaining games to play while trimming…and often lead to other super random conversations. Keep things upbeat and lively and you’re less likely to get burned out.

Trimming your weed isn’t the funnest part of the growing process, but its vital. Keep these things in mind when your harvest is complete, and you’ll end up with some beautiful buds you can be proud of.

Jen Keehn

About the author: Jen Keehn is a Colorado-based writer focused on inspiring others to live their best lives. She writes regularly about recreational and medical cannabis, holistic health, addiction, and psychedelic therapy.