First autoflower-- big, bushy, happy and 3 weeks into flower. Defoliate OK? Pic inside!

Hi all! First time poster, really glad to have found this community!!

As-per subject-- this is my first time growing an autoflower and honestly only a few grows under my belt overall… a couple indoor, a couple outdoor, just for fun! This go-around, I’m growing in a DIY RDWC setup (when the system is topped up its about 30L of nutrient solution) in a 2x4 tent using AN products, just the base Trio throughout veg and a couple recommended nutes for flowering. The strain is Critical Punch and I bought the auto fem seeds from a local seed bank.

The grow has gone IMO superb thus far, which I’m really proud of for my first time trying hydroponics as I was generally advised against it. I actually intended on growing two plants but one seed didn’t make it, however after seeing this girl grow it would have been WAY too packed with another plant so, alls well I guess!

Timeline wise, she’s about to enter Week 4 of flowering on 5/16 (tomorrow!). I consider Day 1 of flowering when I noticed the first white pistils on the plant, not sure if that is an accurate way to date it or not, but figured I’d include that for the sake of sharing information. I’m anticipating an 8 week flowering period with a harvest date of 6/21/23 :yum:

Here is a photo from Wednesday 5/10/23:

Question Time! As you can see, shes very bushy. I’ve tried my best to research pruning/defoliation of autoflowers and the general consesus seems to be AGAINST any defoliating during flower. However, I can’t help but feel like the massive fan leaves are blocking light from bud sites and impeding air flow. Not to mention, the lowest branches will produce only tiny nuggets.

Obviously I’m striving for the biggest yield I can get, but quality is the more important metric for me personally on this grow, as its what I’ve struggled the most with on past grows.

So, what do you think ILGM? Should I get in there and start clipping or just leave her be? THANK YOU for reading my post and offering any advice!!


Only as necessary to maintain good airflow within the plant.

Welcome to the forum.


Welcome to the forum.

I’m in a very similar situation. Only a few grows under my belt and first indoor grow in a 2x4 tent. I am a couple weeks ahead of you in flowering and I also started counting at the very first sign of pre-flower if actually a term.

I asked the defoliation question a few times and got a mix of answers…which is understandable since there is no one right way.

My GG4 grew like crazy and I’m glad I only have one plant.

I defoliated along the way but should have done more early in the grow.

After much debate with myself I decided to do more to allow air circulation “and” allow the plant to focus energy on the buds. Mistake?

Mine is an auto and I may have totally screwed up. But, to me each grow is an experiment and learning experience

Top pic is today. Below is prior to defoliation about a week ago


This is how i check to see if i have good airflow and if i need to remove any fan leaves. I get my hand wet and stick it behind the plant if my hand feels cool then i know im getting air through, if not, i try to tuck ,if thats not working then last ditch effort ill remove whats blocking it.


I would remove all growth from the 3rd node down , try some LST to spread the sides out. This will help with seeing the whole plant better and how much defoliation would be beneficial or detrimental :love_you_gesture:


Hey all, thanks so much for the quick replies! Especially @HotAndHumid thanks for sharing those photos, your plant looks great!! Do you have two “layers” of netting in that PVC frame? That looks to be working well – definitely something I’ll plan on doing next grow!

@ChittyChittyBangin I’ll give that a shot, thank you! That simple approach makes good sense to me. Thanks also @OGIncognito for the recommendation, LST is a great idea to help better understand what will help the plant!

I ended up applying much of the advice I received in this thread. I added a net (which I should have set up prior to grow… next time!) and did some leaf bending/branch weaving to help “spread out” the canopy. I did some light defoliating as well-- I focused on leafs that were anything but perfect looking, and areas that were very crowded. I’d imagine I could do a bit more, but I’m afraid to go overboard.

Here’s a photo I snapped this morning:

Also, I created a Grow Journal, here:

However, I can’t seem to add additional weeks to the journal, which is odd as I see plenty of other journals with way more weeks than I seem to be stuck with (only 9 weeks!). Any ideas on this one?

Thanks all!



Thanks and yes, mine is a two tier scrog. I admit I got this idea from another member so I’m passing on for those that may wanna do similar.

I built so that I could easily add the second tier. 3/4” pvc and they are “not” glued so it can be dismantled or resized for a different grow.

I went to Amazon for the 4 way fittings. HD and Lowes don’t carry. These allow the second tier later. You will also need several 3 way fittings.

My first tier was used along with LST tie downs to get the plant spread out. I added the second tier to allow support of the colas.

I use brick layers string to make the netting. It stretches and I think it works great.

Used a drill and made holes every 3 inches then ran screws into the holes for the string to wrap around.

Once I had the materials, it was a quick 30 minute job. Easy!

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Nice work Grow Bro :love_you_gesture:

I recommend removing all the growth below the red line, it’ll never see enough light to produce any usable buds (lollipop is the term)


No clue. I checked out the grow journal site once. Decided it wasn’t my style - not that organized. :joy:

Very nice.

Many just add the net as needed, unless it’s in a tent that’s hard to navigate around. Then the net ahead of time is solid.

As others said, more leaves :leaves: the better.


I am using those too. If you have the right tent…you can use the tent structure as your uprights and adjust the scrog height using rachet straps or pole clamps. See picture…some of the poles are not in place…you can remove them. Note: This is not my design - picked up from my light mfg.


My plants thrive after defoliation (although I grow photos) …I do it twice, once on the day of the flip and once around day 21 when they are done stretching.

I flipped my tent on Friday - This is an example of one plant…a BBK - after and before

This is what the tent looks like today - 3 days after defoliation - the BBK is the front left plant.

Not suggesting this style is for everyone and I have never grown autoflowers. Just showing plants can take it…and thrive taking a few (or many) leaves.


Thanks so much for all the awesome replies!! I am loving this community!! I feel lucky to have hobbies where forums are still active and relevant (growing, and cars)

@HotAndHumid Thank you again!! I appreciate forwarding the information on. I’ll definitely give this a shot next grow. I got a lot of enjoyment designing my own RDWC (I think?) system and I’m already looking forward to making changes for my next grow. The two-tier scrogging will for sure make an appearance. Thanks for the recommendation on brick layers string-- I wouldn’t have thought of that but I bet it works awesome!

@OGIncognito thanks bro!! You’ve made a good point there, I’ll do that. I remember on my last grow I didnt want to trash any branches with the mindset “small nugs are better than no nugs” (maybe true sometimes, lol) but after trimming/curing, there was hardly anything left. I’ll give her another trim tonight!

Thank you @Graysin! I don’t plan to defoliate much more this grow, which may or may not be the right choice. Time will tell, and I’ll learn something either way!

@Riskguy that’s a neat idea! I just may combine those 4-ways + ratchets with the general framing that @HotAndHumid presented. It would for sure work easily in my tent structure. Also, thanks for sharing your defoliation process and photos-- that is wild! I’d love to give this a try in a future grow, thanks again!


Anytime Grow Bro, it’s all part of the learning curve :love_you_gesture:

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Good luck, There are tons of things to learn and things to try.

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Appreciate you all! I’ll share some photos further along the grow. I’m in Week 4 of flower now and starting to see the first orange pistils. Hoping to see the buds plump up a bit in the coming weeks!!


Absolutely. No wrong answer there!


Because you all have been so helpful and welcoming I decided to share my grow in the “Grow Journals” section! I ended up going pretty deep into the details, so thought I’d share it here in case you’re curious to see what lead up to this post in the first place! Thanks again for all the input, it’s very much appreciated!

Grow journal thread: My first hydro grow - Critical Orange Punch autoflower


I’ll check it out

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