To Defoliate Or Not To Defoliate
Thanks for the information. Was getting ready to take some of the fan leaves off of my best girl to open her up for more light inside the plant body. Before doing so, thought I'd do some reading first. I'm glad I did.
Rereading your article has reminded me that those leaves are needed and to let her focus her attention of flowering. Noticed yesterday afternoon she has begun to explode with little white hairs all over the place. In my zeal to make sure those develop as best they could, I found myself reaching for the snippers. Really happy your info was here for a refresher. Will concentrate on the lower third looking for those areas that won't develop because light doesn't get there and let her focus on making beautiful flowers.
I do remove small branches from the lower 1/3 (commonly referred to as lollypopping) right before flip. I also pull cuts for clones at that time. This greatly reduces larf which is a pain to deal with a harvest anyway. I start off trimming the big buds and feeling all proud of myself and by the time I get to the larf I’m just like fukit and throw whole branches away. I find it beneficial to just not grow them in the first place.
I also selectively prune big fan leaves that are blocking a terminal bud site, or are laying on top of another leaf and causing condensation from plant transpiration.
I have “stripped” the big fans a few times between day 14-21 of flower. I have no side by side comparison to prove that it made the buds bigger, which is questionable. But I’m pretty sure it stalled the plants for about 10 days. I have seen people post pics of their four branch “manifold” plant which they stripped everything in veg but the very top node of each branch. The plant didn’t die, but it sure looked real pissed off. Even after two weeks there was very little new growth. Not something I would recommend. For me it comes down to knowing your plant, environment, and grow style. Which is why I recommend new growers stick with the same strain for a few grows. Get a feel for how the plant reacts to what you’re doing.