After a long season of carefully tending to your plants, they’re finally ready for harvest. You might think the hardest work is behind you. But one of the most important parts of presenting a quality product lies ahead. Your weed trimming technique can make a difference between a top-quality bud and a scraggly, harsher-smoking one.
Why We Trim
Trimming isn’t just about appearance, although that is certainly one aspect of it.
Well-trimmed, uniform looking buds just look like they’re worth more. And that translates into a higher price in the marketplace.
But there are other reasons, as well.
First, the more leaves that are still attached to the bud, the harsher the smoking experience will be.For a smooth smoke, make sure to get most of the leaves off.
Second, those leaves have significantly less trichomes on them than the buds do. Those little crystals covering the bud are full of canna-goodness. They hold cannabinoids and terpenes, which provide therapeutic value, aroma, and flavor. Your customers are paying for buds rich in trichomes, not for the leaves.
The Prep Work
Dry trimming does take more patience in the beginning. With wet trimming, you can get started as soon as you’ve harvested the plants. However, when dry trimming, you’ll need to allow plants several days (or up to two weeks, depending on the humidity, temperature, and airflow levels) to dry out prior to trimming. It’s worth the wait, though. When marijuana plants are left to dry with leaves still on, they’ll dry out and lose their moisture more slowly, retaining more of those precious trichomes.
Using a Dry Trim Machine
A dry trimming machine can save you a huge amount of time in the trimming process. Typically, you can expect to take a full day to hand trim about a pound of weed. With a dry trim machine, that amount jumps up to 8 to 16 pounds an hour. Don’t expect a dry trimming machine to completely replace the hand trim. But it can get the job about 80% done, leaving you with just a bit of hand finishing at the end. If you have access to a dry trimming machine, run the buds through the machine first and save yourself a bundle of time before following up with hand-finishing using the steps below.
Setting Up Camp
It’s important that you have a clean area where you can set up your trim station. Ideally, you won’t be using this area for anything other than trimming for the duration of the work. You don’t want to introduce food crumbs, dog hair, or other junk into your buds!
Trimming can be detailed work. It helps if you’re in a well-lit room, or have good lighting nearby so you don’t strain your eyes.
Often overlooked is the chair you’ll be sitting in. You’ll be spending some time there, so it’s worth investing in a comfortable seat that won’t leave you with a backache. You can find many reasonably priced ergonomic options online, so don’t settle for that old kitchen chair.
As far as the actual tools you’ll need, there are only a few. First, a sharp pair of scissors. Many trimmers swear by a pair of trusty Fiskars. Others prefer Japanese gardening scissors. Consider purchasing two pairs, so that you can alternate them when one pair needs cleaning.
You’ll also want a couple of trays or other stable container for trimming into. There are options available online specifically for trimming, but they can be as basic as a couple of large baking pans or Pyrex dishes.
Time to Trim
Fan leaves are the large leaves on the plants that are the iconic symbol of the marijuana plant. These are the easiest leaves to remove and is often done while the plants are still in the ground, before drying.
After you’ve dried the plants, it’s time to start trimming. The key is to have as efficient of a setup as possible. Hold the bud with the stem facing you, remove the “crow’s feet,” or little branches at the bottom of the nugget. Work your way around the bud like it’s a tiny Christmas tree, trimming the sugar leaves. It’s easiest if you clip from bottom to top in an upward motion and rotate as you go. In the final step of the trim, clip the stem as close to the flower as you can.
Your scissors will eventually get gummed up with resin. If you have an extra pair, just swap with the fresh pair and soak the dirty one in some alcohol for easy clean up. Trimming with the tip of your scissors will help to keep the buildup down.
Be sure to trim over that extra tray so you can save the clippings for other uses, like making tea, cannabutter, or salve.
You’ve made it through those long hours of trimming. It may have felt tedious at times, but your collection of beautifully trimmed weed is surely worth the effort. Take care to keep it fresh by storing the trimmed buds in an airtight container (a Mason jar works well) in a room that stays relatively cool and dark.
Do you have any trimming tips or tricks to make the time go by faster? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.