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Pruning your plants
Clipping or pruning plants during the different stages of their lives is a controversial subject. Some people advocate not pruning at all
while others have suggested severe trimming of the plants is beneficial.
While outdoor plants don't need as much pruning due to the abundance of sunlight, I think indoor plants will do better if they are pruned and trained according to your particular growing situation.
Three types of pruning you should know about are leaf cutting, pinching or topping, and branch removal.
Leaf cutting is done for two main purposes. The most common reason is that the plants are so lush that light is prevented from
penetrating below the uppermost layers. This is called the canopy effect.
To thin out this layer, you selectively cut off sun leaves to allow more light to filter down. Be careful not to cut an excessive amount off because your plants need leaves to carry on their basic growth processes.
Another technique used by some growers involves selective removal of sun leaves below new branch lets. This encourages alternate growing tips to develop outwards and shortens internodal length. The result will be a shorter, more bushy plant.
Cutting a sun leaf
Topping is probably still the most popular pruning method. One method
practiced by a successful grower is topping the plants once at about two feet
high and once again at all branch tips about two weeks before flowering is
induced. This last topping doubles the amount of growing tips and seems to work
well for his conditions.
As with leaf cutting, too much topping can be detrimental because any time a plant is cut back, it slows the vegetative growth until the plant recovers.
Branch removal is the third type of pruning that is commonly done.
Many growers cut off lower branches because they don't yield much, if anything, in the way of fruit or flowers.
This encourages your plant to concentrate more energy on the remaining upper branches.
This concept can also be taken a step further by removing many branches to allow growth and flowering to be concentrated on a few or even the single leader. You will end up with one big flower because everything the plant has got is pumped into that single growing tip.
A grower who takes cuttings, roots them and then immediately sends them into flowering is creating this type of effect. The cutting has only a few weeks to establish itself so it doesn't have much of a chance to develop lateral branching.
All of these pruning techniques might be used alone or in combination, depending on your objectives. Understanding the basics of these methods will help you employ them to your advantage.
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