Defoliation Questions for Autoflower grow

Just finished out the 5th week since planting. The 2 sour d and the 2 white widows seem to be growing well. The two in the back are growing naturally, the two in the front had some LST early on. I find myself wanting to prune some of the leaves to open up light to some lower sites, but I’m not sure if and when this would be a good idea as I understand it could potentially causes more stress than desired.

To date, I’ve just plucked a few lower leaves that where either browning/wilting a little, but would it be fairly safe if I were to just clip a couple leaves off each plant every day? I’d imagine it’s just the fan leaves that we’d clip right?

Also, I’ve read that it’s best to defoliate during the veg state, but with these they started to flower without the first 3-4 weeks very much before they finished growing so I’m wondering if plucking or clipping some leaves would be suitable now or if it’s too late…

Any suggestions are appreciated!

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Also, aside from some leaves blocking light to lower bud sites… am I correct in thinking the theory is that, to an extent, too many leaves just wastes some of the energy the plant takes in(to keep the leaves alive and well) as opposed to utilizing that energy to grow larger/thinker flowers? :thinking: Meaning pruning lower leaves that aren’t covering buds site would still benefit the plant as a whole?

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Defoliate as necessary to improve airflow within the plant. The plant otherwise needs the foliage to produce the sugars the plant needs for healthy growth.