To defoliate or not to defoliate? That is the question

Ive been growing a long time Ive never really had a discussion on this subject.
I do defoliate my plants when budding, especially the big palm leaves, and the little leaves and little buds down the stem. I just feel the plant should be using its energy for the buds.
Im really curious to hear anyone especially if you have real knowledge one way or the other.

Just through my own experience, I do trim after flowering starts the lower parts of each branch so that I save myself from having to trim little buds that don’t really add up to anything. I try to save the leaves, pulling off what is either dying or affected by insects outdoors.
No real science behind my method, just what I’ve learned through my own experiences.

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so you leave the large leaves? I have about 20 lbs of leaves not sure what to do with them.

Come harvest time I cut them off and throw them away. I was only talking about while the plant is still flowering. I do save the Bud trim after drying for edibles.

I was asking this question last week. I’ve always taken off a little but I went pretty hard last night cuz I’m in week 3 and the girls I’m running have the pedal to the metal. My concern has always been about stressing the girls into hermaphrodites but I’m just going with it, especially since my rH was running at about 65% with the lights on and I was getting moisture on overlapping leaves. All in all, I’m hoping that I do it right cuz I keep planning to do it so long as I keep getting these thick canopies.

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Hey Alchey keep us posted on your girls

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I Started in the middle of April, under lights, Then transplanted outside, they were two feet tall, now I can’t keep up with 5 plants. That are 12 feet tall and I just keep trimming, Is that what I should keep doing? They are starting to bud.

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I’ve typically left most of the leaves on, unless growing scrog style.

I do plan on removing a few of the bigger fan leaves on my outdoor grow this fall. Just to try and minimize the mold/mildew.

I’m always willing to try something new.

I used to strip all big fan leaves, but last couple years I’ve left them on. I’m not sure what’s better, but the notion that all the different kinds of leaves have different jobs and it’s better to leave them if they are healthy makes sense to me. I generally remove leaves once they lose about 50% of their color.

I think we need to ask how a plant makes energy to grow? The food it requires is in the water and soil. To get that food up the plant requires transpiration. Transpiration occurs when the leaves open the stomata and exchange gasses. The sun or light causes the leaf to sweat, not unlike our skin. If you have ever wondered how that water between 2 leaves got there, thats how. Since the water carries the needed food for growth, removing healthy leaves needs justification. What would justify sacrificing transpiration for leaf removal? Better air movement? Yes maybe. Better light penetration? Possibly, but leaves normally are sacrificed by the plant when in the dark. Dead, dying material? Yes absolutely! When using crappy or weak lights or when a plant is far too large? Yes possibly. In all of these instances we have to ask what benefit will we gain by removing material?


So the energy used tol create leaves bigger, stronger, etc is used in making buds, bigger stronger, etc.
Thats why I presented the question. If youve ever seen a hot house of tomatoes they are, the plants, stripped at the bottom so the energy is spent making bigger better fruit. Right?

Thats what Ive been doing too crossfire, for years andd this year I wanted to hear from others on this matter. I think I did a bit to much, some of the plants arent rebounding like they should.'Thanks all for your in put

What is scrog style?


Dropping a net over the plants, bending/tucking them through the net to achieve a large canopy at the same level.

Like this (Not a perfect example).


Good points and I agree. I strive to keep my girls as naturally growing as possible. This run was so bushy with a 77% rH in lights out I’m like nope…gotta start stripping cuz buds haven’t even fully formed yet. After defoliating my RH is down to 55% and the girls didn’t even notice. Still gonna wind up with the dehumidifier running this grow but still. I cringe every time I take leaves but cringing from mold mildew or bud rot is even worse to me.


My grow this run is also a scrog in a 3x2 setup under the es180. 3 gal wedding cake, 3 gal peyote wifi, and a 2 gal lemon cheese that fell out of its pod yet still grew. This my first time scrogging and I have mixed feelings about it. I like how I can maximize light coverage by spreading the plants out. What I dont like is committing them to the scrog. I typically grow in coco or supersoil and I like taking my girls out the tent to examine them but u cant really do that with a scrog. The other big thing is making sure you get a decent stretch in veg so you can water and work under them. Those are my only gripes.

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Thats not really the reason. The main reason is because tomatoes, can live a long time. Unlike cannabis, tomatoes do not have a flowering period, they have a maturity period. Once that is reached they produce flowers until they die, which can be years for an indeterminate variety. Knowing this, many greenhousers use a yoyo system, the plants are matured, they grow heavy, the lower leaves below the fruit are removed because the vines will be progressively lowered and layed on the soil to continue to harvest vertically. If they dont do this the vines will be 20 feet tall, super heavy and very hard to pick. In addition older tomato leaves become brittle and useless fairly fast. In some regards, cannabis is similar in that we dont want to keep older crappy leaves on our plants, they are prone to mold and mildew, also they arent as efficient as newer healthy leaves.


OK thanks but how did they come up with scrog? scrog sounds like something on tp
So where is your grow, Im in Norcal, in 15 gal pots Ive had to top my girls 4 times this year, top them that is if I didnt they would be 12 feet tall. My neighbor right next door is a cop. It is legal for 6 plants but I have 22.I think hes ok I give him tomatoes to feel him out and hes real friendly.
Nice look grow by the way Setiva? I have 2 Indicas for the first time. They are different.I hope to get some seeds out them.


I believe it’s a derivative of Sog”, which is short for Sea Of Green. So, “Scrog” would be SCreen Of Green”.

I’m in Vt. 6 plants allowed, 2 in flower per “domicile”. I own and live in a multi family so technically… :grin:

That pic was a few seasons ago. You can see my current outdoor grow here. My Penthouse Girls. (No, not that Penthouse) - #45 by Drinkslinger

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Thanks I get it. Very cool to talk to someone on the other side of the country doing the same thing.
What time or when will you harvest. Here its around 6 weeks. About end of Sept. I started mine first week of March. So Im anxious to get this over. Thats about 6-7 months.