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Removing Big Leaves from Marijuana Plants

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  • Escrito por : Ciara
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Removing big leaves from marijuana plants is something that many novice growers tend to do; once their plants are in the flowering stage, they think that the bigger leaves shade the buds on the bottom so they cut all of the leaves off thinking they’ll get more buds.

Depending on who you ask, some would say that those leaves aren’t taking up more energy, they’re actually where the plant absorbs the energy. Cannabis plants evolve and develop at the growers will and by choice of the grower, they adapt to their growers to make sure that they survive. THC content in strains goes up as years go by, going from 10% to up to 30% in the last 15 years; they know that the more THC they produce, the higher their chances of reproducing.

If your plant didn’t need those leaves, then it would use that energy to do something more efficient rather than grow the leaves. The leaves on a marijuana plant are extremely important. The buds are simply the flowers that the plant produces, but the leaves are involved in almost every process.

A plant without leaves is a weak plant indeed, like the one in the picture; hardly any yield and to be honest it looks quite sickly.

Leaves serve an important purpose; they absorb sunlight or light from your grow lamps and turn it into sugars or energy so that your plant can keep growing. If you remove them your plants might not get enough energy to keep developing and they might stop growing or even die if you take too many. If you want to test it out for yourself, just take off one of the two big leaves that sprout at the bottom of the branches. You’ll notice that the branch will immediately stop growing, but those that still have leaves will grow much bigger and heavier.

Another function that the leaves are in charge of is storing water, both inside and out. These plants already have a hefty weight; most of which is due to water and most of that water is actually in the leaves. The leaves are actually made mostly out of water, helping the plant to stay cool. The area underneath the leaves actually stores water, little micro-drops of water that keep the Oxygen or Co1 that the plants absorb nice and cool, especially when it’s extremely hot. If you remove the leaves it then makes it harder for the plant to absorb the CO2 that it would be absorbing if it had those little micro-drops. Your plants will be receiving light on unprotected zones, which will largely affect the level of heat of your crop. When there’s a drought, your plant can use that extra water, but without those important leaves your plant will end up without any sort of back up reserves.

The also act as nutrient reserves that can be used up in case of emergency like overwatering or rotting of the roots, or also when you water without fertilizers so that they can use up the reserves.

We’re of the opinion that green, healthy leaves should not be removed at all, neither big or small, as long as the plant is alive, although in some cases you might be forced to do so. Some infestations can be vicious and destroy the leaves on your plant with bites and eggs.

I’ve checked this with my own crop; buds that grow under big leaves are just as fat and heavy and somewhat better developed than those that have the leaf out of the way so the sun can get to them, so we can guarantee that the leaf you remove will directly affect the growth of the buds around it. If you remove the small leaves the stem that they’re on will have no energy to grow, and if you remove a big leaf the stem above it will stop growing completely.

Once the plant has developed enough and some of the leaves end up shaded, the plants will get rid of them themselves by absorbing the nutrients and drying it up. They should practically fall off on their own.

Once they’ve reached the end of the flowering they tend to be so leafy that they don’t actually need most of the old leaves, so they’ll either fall off or go yellow. You need to let them fall of themselves, like the plant in the picture. A properly grown plant has had absolutely no leaves forcibly removed.

Either way, if you’re reading this because you have a question or query, don’t hesitate to send us an email to [email protected] with a picture of your plant and why you want to remove its leaves. Of course, if you send it after removing the leaves then we won’t be able to help you out.

There are growers that swear by leaf removal on cannabis plants, and if you’re one of them and have found that the practice works out for you and your strains, nobody is stopping you. This post is for beginners who hear about leaf removal and decide to completely destroy their plants.

Author: Javier Chinesta
Translation: Ciara Murphy

Removing big Leaves from marijuana plants is a mistake that many growers make, especially novice growers. We're here to tell you why it's a bad idea.

What Are Cannabis Fan Leaves?

Published : Oct 15, 2020

Keep reading to find out what fan leaves are, and the crucial role they play in growing healthy, resilient cannabis plants. Even better, we have put together five ways you can use fan leaves once plants have been harvested!

CANNABIS PLANT ANATOMY: THE BASICS

Fan leaves are an essential component of the cannabis plant’s anatomy, but they aren’t the only. To help understand their function, we need to know where on the cannabis plant they exist, and what other structures exist alongside them.

Starting from the bottom of the cannabis plant, we have the roots, followed by the main stem, fan leaves, branches, and sugar leaves. Toward the top of the cannabis plant, among the smaller sugar leaves, will be your trichome loaded flowers. Usually, it is the flowers or colas we’d be most interested in, but that doesn’t mean the remaining parts of the cannabis plant are useless. Head back down to the bottom, and we find the much larger fan leaves, an often forgotten part of the cannabis plant.

WHAT ARE CANNABIS FAN LEAVES?

Don’t be fooled into thinking fan leaves are just for show. Their large, multi-fingered shape is an essential tool for collecting as much sunlight as possible. The primary purpose of fan leaves is to support photosynthesis. The leaves themselves are also packed with phytonutrients and, to a much lesser degree than sugar leaves and buds, cannabinoids.

Fan leaves are also incredibly useful for understanding your plant’s overall health. Given that the majority of fan leaves are located near the bottom of the plant, any issues with nutrients or water will show on fan leaves first. After all, they are the closest to the root system.

Carefully observing fan leaves throughout the vegetative stage can give you an early indication of problems and deficiencies. Powdery mildew, infestations, nutrient burn, and a lack of water—all of these aliments will show in the fan leaves first, so take note!

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that it’s beneficial to retain fan leaves during the vegetative growth phase to encourage healthy development. However, many growers will trim excess leaves during the flowering stage to improve airflow and strengthen bud development.

5 ALTERNATIVE USES FOR CANNABIS FAN LEAVES

Whether you have a few fan leaves left over after pruning or a huge selection of foliage lying around, below are five ways you can put them to good use.

1. CREATE NATURAL ROLLING PAPERS

This may take some practice, but many cannabis connoisseurs swear by the authentic experience of rolling fan leaf joints. The key is to dry them flat so they’re easier to roll. You could also try creating Thai sticks using hemp string to keep your bundle of fan leaves, flower, and hash oil together. Either way, there’s plenty of ways you can utilise fan leaves in your daily smoking rituals. Plus, imagine the look on people’s faces when you arrive with a giant fan leaf joint in hand—priceless.

2. BREW CANNABIS-INFUSED TEA

A symbol of sophistication, tea has been consumed around the globe for over 5,000 years. With the help of fan leaves, you can bring the same level of class and wisdom to your favourite herb. Although the resin, and therefore the cannabinoid content, is much lower in fan leaves than other parts of the cannabis plant, brewing the leaves will help extract every last drop.

For an organic experience, leave dried fan leaves to steep in hot water with a teaspoon of coconut oil, creating a homemade herbal tea. Don’t expect intense waves of euphoria, but there should be enough cannabinoid content to provide a very mild, relaxing buzz.

3. MAKE RAW CANNABIS JUICE

Juicing raw cannabis leaves has become increasingly popular in recent years. Not only is there nutritional value in the leaves, stalks, and seeds, but fresh juice contains a diverse spectrum of cannabinoids/cannabinoid acids. However, cannabinoid acids in raw leaves (like THCA and CBDA) haven’t been activated by heat, and therefore interact with the body differently. You won’t get high, but there is research to suggest that raw cannabinoids may have several health benefits of their own. While studies are ongoing, juicing is a simple, effective, and tasty way of putting unwanted plants and leaves to good use.

4. COMBINE FAN LEAVES WITH EDIBLES

Remember watching cooking shows as a kid and seeing the chef use basil leaves as a garnish? Bring a touch of stoner innovation to your culinary skills by using fan leaves instead. You can use the entire leaf for dramatic impact, or flatten, dry, and crush them before sprinkling on a range of dishes.

The flavour can be pretty overpowering, so we advise using your fan leaf garnish sparingly. And don’t worry about intoxicating your guests, THC levels will be minuscule at best.

5. CREATE FAN LEAF TINCTURE OR HASH

Think of tinctures as a more advanced, and more potent, cannabis-infused tea. Rather than steeping the fan leaves in water with a touch of fat, we use exclusively alcohol or coconut oil. These bind with cannabinoids more effectively, ensuring you capture all of the available THC, CBD, etc. Either heat the leaves gently in coconut oil or let them steep in vodka for several weeks. Once you’re happy with the mixture, sieve out the remaining plant matter and store in a glass dropper bottle.

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What Are Cannabis Fan Leaves?

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Follow the link to find out why fan leaves are an essential part of the cannabis plant. They can be used as rolling papers, to make tea, and much more.