trimming weed

The Importance of Trimming Weed – Manicuring Bud

Growing your own cannabis is by no means an easy endeavor, especially if you’re starting off with your first crop. From planting to maintenance to harvesting, there’s a lot that needs to happen before you can get your hands on some home-grown bud. One of these steps includes trimming weed – manicuring the bud so its appearance is as pleasing to the eye as it is pleasing to the palate.

You might be wondering, “why should I bother trimming weed when I’m just going to end up smoking it anyways?” Manicuring your bud goes beyond making it look pretty. A successful trim can impact the flavour, potency and overall quality of your bud. 

In this growers guide, we’ll help you hone your weed trimming skills and break down when, why, and how to properly trim your buds. 

The Basics of Bud Manicure 

There are a few elements of bud anatomy that we’ll have to familiarize ourselves with before we can get started.

trimming weed guide

First, are the fan leaves. These are the largest set of leaves on the cannabis plant and are responsible for providing energy to the plant through photosynthesis. They don’t have any cannabinoids in them (such as THC) so these are the leaves we’ll be looking to remove.

Secondly are the sugar leaves. These appear on the top of the cannabis plant where the buds. Unlike fan leaves, sugar leaves actually contain small amounts of cannabinoids. They’re typically removed and saved for use in edibles and tincture since they contain high amounts of chlorophyll, which can make the smoking experience bitter and herbaceous. 

Trimming Weed – Why You Need It

trimming weed diy

There are 4 primary reasons why you should spend some time manicuring your buds before consuming them.

Increased Potency

Remember the fan and sugar leaves we talked about earlier? Without removing those, the potency of your bud will take a serious hit.

Improved Smoke Quality:

Improved potency undoubtedly makes for a better smoking experience, but manicuring bud also removes the parts of the cannabis plant that are bitter and unsavoury to consume. 


We’ve all been to a dispensary and seen bud on display. Have you ever seen bud just look irregularly shaped with long stems and excessive foliage still left on the bud? Us neither. Sure, making the bud look prettier won’t do much for the overall experience but it does mean that the cultivator/grower has gone the extra mile in making their final product look more presentable. 

Improved Curing

The curing process is the drying of cannabis buds to improve potency, flavour and remove excessive moisture from the plant. Properly manicured bud will cure more efficiently due to the improved airflow. 

Wet vs Dry and Hand vs Machine

Like growing bud, you have a lot of options when it comes to trimming. 

Wet Trimming:

This method begins by trimming all fan and sugar leaves 1-2 days before harvest time. This helps prevent mold when your humidity levels are at 60% or more. This method tends to be the easiest and fastest. 

Dry Trimming: 

With this method, only the fan leaves are removed before harvest. The sugar leaves are then removed as well once the buds have been dried. This process tends to be a bit more thorough and slow.

Hand vs Machine Trim

Machine trimmers will undoubtedly be faster than hand trimming, but it does come with a sacrifice. Machine trimmers tend to perform a much lower-quality manicure than experienced hand trimmers but the savings in time and back ache could more than make up for the difference. 

Step-By-Step Manicuring Bud

trimming weed how to

Before you begin your manicuring journey, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Trimming Room Setup

Keep your trimming room environment controlled and clean. The humidity levels should be kept between 45-50% and the temperature between 20°C and 22°C. Install a few fans or a HEPA filter to regulate the odour and find a few comfortable chairs to sit on as you get down to business. You’ll also want to lay out a tarp over your work area in case any trimmings fall to the wayside. 

Trimming Cannabis Tools

Below is a list of must-haves you’ll need for a successful trim job:

Cannabis specialty trimming scissors

Sharp scissors are ideal. Don’t get dollar store scissors; try to find spring-loaded scissors which can cut through vegetation with ease. 

Use stainless steel or glass containers

Kief and cannabis have more difficulty sticking to stainless steel and glass than other materials such as plastic. This will help the clean-up process once you’re done.

Comfortable Equipment

A comfortable chair, your favourite tunes and the right PPE are essential. Apron, gloves and if you prefer, a face mask to shield any inadvertent coughs from getting on your bud are advised as well. 

With everything we need out of the way, we can now begin manicuring our bud. One note of warning: depending on your yield, it can be a long process. Each pound of bud (16 ounces) will take you 6-8 hours depending on your experience and comfort in trimming. Of course, if you’re only manicuring a home grow yield or even less, the process will be much quicker. 

Here’s how to do it:

1. Trim fan leaves

These are the largest leaves on the plant, so be sure to trim these first.

2.Trim buds from branches

Cut at the base of the bud, taking care to not cut the actual bud itself.

3. Trim buds

Taking your scissors and moving up from the stem of a nug, snip away at any excessive foliage while you rotate the bud around in your hands. You’re going to want to go for a conical, sphere-like without any leaves or hairs sticking out of the bud. 

4. Store buds 

Once manicured, store your nugs in an opaque, airtight glass container in a cool dry place to maximize its shelf life. 

5. Clean up

If you followed our advice on gloves, then you should have an abundance of kief on your hands that you can easily collect and use later. If you’re having difficulty removing it, try popping the gloves into the fridge to make it come off easier. 

Trimming Weed – Final Thoughts

Trimming weed isn’t a one-step process, as you should know by now. To properly prepare a potent and pleasing product, you need to prepare the right environment as well as the proper equipment to successfully process your flower. 

Manicuring your nugs will make the final bud more potent, more flavourful and more pleasing to the eye, not to mention improving the overall experience of the smoking session!

Beyond all of the tools and equipment, the most important thing to have is patience. It takes time to learn a new skill, but don’t give up and your hardwork will pay dividends! 

Good luck!

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