How to Trim Weed in 2020? – An Ultimate Guide

How to trim weed

You’ve spent months manicuring your cannabis garden, spending hours fertilizing, weeding, watering, and monitoring your plants. You’re hoping for a bountiful harvest of potent, flavorful bud. 

Don’t ruin it by not knowing how to trim cannabis! Knowing how to trim weed can maximize the potency and value of your pot. Understanding the basics before you start trimming fan leaves will help you get a better handle on the process, allowing for a process that is not only more efficient and productive – but also enjoyable. 

Here’s what you need to know to make the cut. 

Why You Need to Know How to Trim Weed

There are several reasons why it is important to know how to trim weeds. In learning how to trim marijuana, you will be able to produce a final pot product that looks more attractive and well-manicured. Trimmed cannabis has a uniform appearance similar to what you would see on display at your local dispensary. 

Pot that is untrimmed and filled with excess foliage is not only ugly to look at, but it’s also not as potent. Removing large, unnecessary leaves from your marijuana plants will improve the concentration of trichomes. When you are able to remove protruding leaves, you can expose higher concentrations of trichomes. This will allow for a better, more flavorful smoking experience.

When Should You Trim Weed

The best marijuana trim time is just a few days before harvest. At this time, you will want to remove large fan leaves. Some growers remove fan leaves as early as a few weeks before harvest to allow the plant to conserve energy. You don’t need to start trimming your plants back this early, but you should begin at least a few days before harvest. 

Choosing the best time for trimming weed is up to you, but most people who know how to trim weed do it just before the plants are ready for harvest. Set a timer or mark the date on your calendar so you don’t forget to do this. 

Techniques for Trimming Weed

There are several methods you can employ when you are learning how to trim marijuana. Here are some of the most popular. 

Hand Trimming Weed vs. Machine Trimming Cannabis

If you are producing marijuana on a large scale, you might have considered investing in a trimming machine. Trimming machines are expensive, and they can be difficult to use. Many growers also report a long list of issues related to maintaining the machines. 

Therefore, you might be better of trimming by hand. This is better for a more customized experience, too, as you will be able to address differences in the densities and shapes of flowers. If you have a large grow operation, you may have to pay people to help you – but if you only grow a few plants, you should be able to handle things on your own. 

Wet Trimming Marijuana vs. Dry Trimming Marijuana

When trimming your plants, you will be able to choose between wet and dry trimming. Many people choose to manicure their plant on the day of harvest, when the plant is still alive and remains on the vine. Commonly referred to as wet trimming, this method is one of the most popular for a variety of reasons. 

Wet trimming lets you have open access to your buds as the sugar leaves will extend out and make removing them much easier. When you trim wet, you will receive a product that is more aesthetically pleasing and tighter in appearance. It will also hasten the drying process, as the extra foliage that you remove will prevent bugs from retaining moisture. 

That being said, dry trimming gives the plants some time to wick some of their moisture. If you leave the pants in a temperature, light, and humidity-controlled environment for up to ten days (or even two weeks, in many cases), the buds will lose moisture much more slowly. A good option for growers in dry climates, it gives them time to process their buds. You won’t have to worry about the outside and inside of the buds drying at uneven paces. 

Dry trimming is sometimes preferred because it’s easier on your equipment. Since the buds aren’t as sticky, they don’t degrade your shears as quickly. Wet trimming is fun, but it’s a messy process that can turn a brand-new pair of scissors into a mess in a matter of mere minutes.

Tools Needed for Trimming Cannabis

No job would be complete without the right tools. Investing in tools for your marijuana trim shouldn’t break the bank – but it’s good to spend the extra money on the perfect equipment for the job. 


For starters, you will want to start with a good pair of pruning shears. Those that are sharp and sterilized are the best, but if you’re willing to spend the extra money, ergonomic scissors might be beneficial. Remember, you are going to be holding your shears for quite some time, and it might make your fingers hurt! 

You also need to keep in mind that your scissors are only going to get stickier and messier over time. You should buy a couple of pairs and switch them out regularly. Consider buying a large pair of scissors to cut branches and a smaller pair for precise trimming. 

Broken down even further, you will be able to choose between standard and spring-loaded scissors. Spring Loaded scissors feel quicker, but standard Chikamasa scissors might be even better, as they offer better speed and precision than spring-loaded options.


Get a comfortable, ergonomic chair to sit in while you are working on your trim. You will want to be seated in a place that is cool with plenty of light, ideally one that is clean and free of any airborne particulates. This will make for a trimming experience that is uncomfortable for you and also somewhat stressful, as you will have to worry about contaminating your final product. 

Look for a chair that will provide you with support and potentially has reclining abilities. Comfort is key. Avoid chairs that require you to hunch or compress your lower back. 

Trimming Trays

Make sure you have a clean surface as you are getting started. You might also want to add a trimming tray. Trimming trays are easy to transport and are perfect for settling on your lap. Look for one that has a screen specifically designed for collecting the kief. You don’t need anything fancy, but you should look for a product that is easy to clean and made out durable materials like pyrex glass or stainless steel. 

Cleaning Supplies

Remember, your day of trimming doesn’t end as soon as the buds are trimmed. You also need to clean up afterwards. You will want to have some cleaning supplies on hand to make the job easier. These don’t need to be fancy or expensive – a cleaning rag and some rubbing alcohol are really all you need. 

Trimming Attire

Whatever you do, don’t wear your fanciest attire when it’s time to trim! At the very least, change into some clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. Better yet, consider wearing an apron, ideally one made out of silk. Resin does not adhere to silk, which will make your trimming job much easier. You might also want to invest in a pair of gloves. 

And don’t forget – you are going to be trimming your marijuana for along time. It might be worth it to invest in some good music, audiobooks, or even podcasts to listen to – you’re in this for the long haul!

How to Trim Buds the Best Way: Dry Method of Marijuana Trim

Without a doubt, when you are learning how to trim marijuana, you are going to want to go with the method that is easiest for you to learn and to follow repeatedly. The dry method of trimming marijuana is one of the simplest. 

Here’s how it works. 

Remove Fan Leaves

When you first harvest your cannabis plants, the branches will be covered in long, thick leaves known as fan leaves. These do not have trichomes, so you need to remove them before the drying process. This is the best time to use a machine as it will allow you to remove a great deal of fan leaves before you hang the branches. It doesn’t require a lot of precision. 

Cut Buds

Once you dry your cannabis, you need to start trimming. Snip buds back from your dried branches, cutting them to the desired size. This method is known as “bucking down” and it’s important as it will prepare you for the steps ahead.

Fill Your Tray 

Once you have all of your buds within arm’s reach, it’s time to sit down and start loading your tray. You don’t want to totally fill your tray, as it will make it harder to stay organized and on task. A handful is all you need. 

Begin to Trim!

Trim your bud to the desired size. The goal is not to expose the stem anywhere except at the bottom. You should trim as close to the bottom as possible without causing your bud to break down. Once you have trimmed, go ahead and remove crow’s feet. These are the small branches that poke up from the bottom of the nugget – as the name implies, they look like birds’ feet. 

Once you have remove crow’s feet, you need to remove any extra plant matter and start manicuring buds. Try to angle your scissors toward the bud and keep them moving, all the while making precise, accurate snips. 

As your scissors become dirty and coated in resin, you will want to swap them out for a new pair. Try to avoid removing large sections of the nug all at once, as this can ruin your bud and diminish your yields. 

You may need to rotate the bud once or twice, shifting it 360 degrees, while you are trimming. Try to set a standard so that you don’t have to keep rechecking your work. 

Whatever you do, don’t sample the product as you work! This will cause you to become hyper-focused on the trim and to waste time. Instead, separate it and save it for later – you will get much more done.

Tips You Need to Know When Learning How to Manicure Bud

If you’re still dying to learn more when it comes to understanding how to trim cannabis, don’t worry – we get it. This process is one that likely has you feeling an insatiable thirst for knowledge! Here are a few tips. 

Remove anything that isn’t completely covered in trichomes. Try to create an area around the buds that is uniformly clean. This might include all the red pistils down to the foliage, which have next to no trichome content and are only valuable for aesthetics. 

Swap your scissors out regularly to avoid contamination, stickiness, and frustration. 

Use the tips of your scissors to trim – try to avoid trimming with the sides. This will help keep your scissors cleaner and fresher for longer. 

Don’t discard your trim. Instead, consider saving it for edibles, tinctures, and budders. The trim may not have as many trichomes as the rest of the plant, but it still has a fair amount of cannabinoid content that you can use later on. It might seem like it’s just excess foliage, but if you are a discerning, frugal gardener, you might be able to make more out of it later on. 

Remember that finger hash is a great treat. Finger hash, or scissor hash, is best saved for after trimming. It can be rolled into a joint and savored for a delicious treat after you have finished your harvest. 

Finally, don’t neglect the storage. Knowing how to store your marijuana buds is essential to a great harvest. After all, what’s the point of all this hard work if you just let it spoil later on? Consider storing your trimmed buds in mason jars, which are not only airtight but will allow you to put your finished product out on display. 

Now that you know how to trim weeds, you have all the knowledge you need for a successful harvest. Trim on!

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