Whether you're harvesting your first marijuana crop or you're trying to land a job as a “trimmer,” you're probably wondering how to trim cannabis flowers properly. In recent years we've seen several expensive trimming machines become available, but most growers, trimmers, and consumers agree that these machines can inadvertently damage flowers and that the end product simply can't compare to the meticulous beauty of hand-trimmed flowers. For your convenience, here we talk about how to trim cannabis flowers (the process is also known as “manicuring” flowers) to remove unnecessary leaves and give them great “bag appeal.”
1. Sharpen the scissors/pruning shears and tweezers you will use to trim marijuana flowers.
2. Sterilize your cannabis trimming equipment, which should consist of scissors/shears, tweezers, an apron, and a trimming tray at the very least. Some marijuana trimmers opt for ergonomic shears of multiple sizes (for switching out sticky scissors quickly and for trimming leaves of various sizes sizes) and lap trays fitted with a screen for collecting kief. Also, make sure you have plenty of rubber/powder-free latex gloves on-site to you keep your hands and fingers resin-free.
3. Clean and prepare your trimming space for receiving cannabis flowers by controlling the temperature (65-75°F) and humidity levels (45-55%), installing fans to make sure good air circulation, and setting up a carbon filter/extraction fan to dissipate the distinct odor of marijuana.
At this point, there are two main schools of thought when it comes to manicuring cannabis plants after a harvest: wet trimming and dry trimming.
4. To proceed with “wet trimming” start pruning leaves away from cannabis flowers as soon as you harvest them from the plant until you are left with perfect, compact buds. The extra moisture makes it easier to trim away sugar leaves at a quicker pace than when they are dry and removing them before the drying process reduces the chances of mold growth. However, you must dry these flowers before consumption/extraction.
5. To proceed with “dry trimming” you must first hang your harvest in a controlled environment (dark, cool, and dry) for up to two weeks before you start to manicure them. Start with the large fan leaves and then snip away or “skim” (using a sharp edge to delicately break dried leaves away and not close scissor blades over a stem to cut it) the smaller leaves closest to the flowers. Also be aware that trichomes fall off dry flowers easier, so trim them over a tub or tray that will catch them.