Will cutting the marijuana plant down to make it bushier improve the eventual harvest?
This really depends on two factors: the type of marijuana strain and how long it takes for the plants to enter flowering stage. Sativa plants that haven’t been pruned (e.g. Mexican and Colombian varieties) grow in a conical, Christmas-tree shape. The pairs of branches that are the lowest are also often the longest, reaching out farther so that the leaves get some light. If you go up a step, the next sets of branches are looking toward the bottom ones at a 90-degree angle. These are somewhat shorter to maximize the quantity of light that the leaves get. You’ll notice this basic pattern rising all the way up the main stem. All of the mature branches have about the same exact length of leaf and size of bud. If you look down from the top of one of these marijuana plants, you’ll see that the plant receives as much light as possible, never letting the light hit the ground.
Certain indicas only produce short, side branches off the main stem. Some others have a profile that’s much bushier. Indicas that have short side branches will not grow out and become bushier when pruned. Instead, they produce a few incongruous top branches.
On the other hand, indicas that produce a well-rounded bush retrieve all the light that falls within their perimeter. Different varieties react differently to pruning. Many sativas and sativa/indica hybrids branch out when the main stem is snipped. The marijuana plants will become bushy if the top branches are pruned a number of different times. More growing tips are produced with unpruned plants than with pruned ones, and each of those tips contains one bud. Even so, most of the plant’s resources are stretched thin, and the buds will grow considerably smaller.
Marijuana plants grown indoors should always be pruned. Buds that are on the lower end of the plant don’t get as much light, stay small, and produce second-rate smoke. You can prune these during the beginning two weeks of flowering. This both provides greater circulation and allows the marijuana plant to focus more resources to the higher buds. It’s advisable to trim leaves that cross over into a neighbor’s canopy. The amount of time that goes by prior to the beginning of flowering will affect their response to pruning. It’s possible to train conically-shaped marijuana plants to bush out. You can do this by trimming the tops of the marijuana at around the fourth set of leaves. This will result in two main stems with some side branches.
To encourage increased bushiness, you can clip the main stems after they have grown another four sets of leaves. A final pruning provides the marijuana plant with a well-rounded appearance. It takes about 1.5 to 3 months to produce these twelve to fifteen sets of leaves. If the final pruning happens too late in the season, the plants will likely not have enough time to produce vigorous, new growing tips. The consequence of this is smaller buds and a limited harvest. You should stop pruning a few weeks before the buds appear.
There are certain indoor varieties that contain genetics for bigger bud growth. If you want even larger, tighter, and better-quality buds, these marijuana plants can be trimmed to only a few branches. Occasionally, the buds can weigh the branches down so much that you’ll have to support them using stakes or netting.