It is essential for every successful grow operation to know the ins and outs of how to trim marijuana plants. 

To all Cannabis Growers looking to up their trimming game, you have come to the right place! It doesn’t matter if you’re trimming by hand, or your interested in knowing what the best bud trimmers are. We have the best advice for trimming marijuana plants right here for you.

Our team of marijuana experts has helped over 1200 grow operations master the art of trimming, so we’re sure we can also help you. 

The current cannabis market is evolving. Trimming costs are going up while the price per pound is decreasing. You can get ahead of the game by cutting trimming costs without cutting quality. Our goal is to increase your bottom line and one of the best ways to do this, is by using a machine.

This is where we come in. This article is packed with gold-standard trimming advice that will keep your grow operation thriving. We cover concepts from wet and dry trimming, to when to trim, to finding the perfect tools for the job, and so much more. 


Why You Need to Know How to Trim Marijuana Plants

Before we get into the details of how to trim cannabis buds correctly, it is necessary to understand why trimming weed is so important. 

Trimming your cannabis involves getting rid of everything except the actual buds, including the stems, plant branches, fan leaves, and sugar leaves. The idea is to smoke clean bud, as untrimmed cannabis with a lot of excess plant matter creates a harsher smoking experience without adding potency, and nobody wants that.

Decide how you want to trim your weed based on factors like climate, resources, and time. 

Trimming at the correct times throughout the growing process can also make your plants stronger. It’s not just about trimming cannabis buds during the harvest. The strongest plants are the ones you’ve maintained throughout their growth.

These elements add to the quality and attractiveness of your cannabis flower, making it easier to sell.

Get the Right Weed Trimming Tools

Knowing how to trim marijuana plants begins with acquiring the right tools for the job. Begin the process by coming prepared to set yourself up for success. Here are all the tools you need to trim your buds to perfection and create a positive and enjoyable trimming experience. 

Trimming Shears or Scissors

First, get yourself a few pairs of scissors and shears specially made for trimming. You’ll need small scissors for intricate, close-to-the-bud trimming and larger shears for branches. 

Both your scissors and shears should be sharp. If your scissors are not sharp enough, you won’t be able to get close enough to the buds. If your shears are not sharp enough, it will be harder to trim the branches. 

Keep spare scissors and shears around, as after hours of trimming, the resin from the cannabis buds will coat your scissors and make them less effective. The spare shears around mean you can swap for a new pair at your leisure.

Your scissors should be comfortable, as the trimming process takes hours. If they are not comfortable and designed to conform to your grip, you will end up with hand cramps.

Comfortable Chair

Anytime you work sitting down, whether at a computer or to trim buds, you’ll need a comfortable, supportive chair to prevent back and butt pain. To manicure bud and bud to perfection takes hours, so don’t skimp on your chair. 

Trimming Tray

Trimming trays make proper trimming much more seamless. For one, they provide a great place to store buds you are about to trim as well as newly trimmed buds. You should have one for each. It would be wise to invest in a try with a screen for the post-trimmed flower to collect kief. 

Cleaning Supplies

Speaking of cleaning, you’ll need to buy the right supplies for removing the resin from your scissors and trays. Rubbing alcohol and a clean rag or cloth works great for removing the stickiness.

You also have to option to remove the resin with your fingers to make finger hash. However, because this is a time-consuming process, many people stick to using rubbing alcohol.

If you’re a trimmer who prefers not to use gloves, keep some coconut oil nearby. It’s an effective and pleasant way to clean your sticky hands.

Trimming Clothes

You might not think you need special trimming clothes, but we beg to differ. Considering how sticky and messy the trimming process can be, you’ll want to be wearing something you don’t mind getting mucked up. And since you’ll likely be trimming hours and hours, put on something comfortable.

Many trimmers use disposable gloves to prevent their hands from getting sticky. Durable, non-stick, food-safe gloves are best. These keep your hands clean and maintain the integrity of the buds at the same time. Low-quality gloves can often have chemicals that could be passed on to whatever they touch.

Get yourself a silk apron if you truly want to improve your trimming experience. It protects your clothes and is resistant to stickiness. If you’re an anti-glove trimmer, it also provides an excellent place to wipe your hands. 

Automatic Tools

If you’re tired of trimming by hand, check out some of these automated solutions.

Check out the Twister BatchOne GO for dry trim


As mentioned earlier, the price of a pound has dropped so low it’s almost not worth hiring a bunch of trimmers. It’s getting rough out here. If you like to dry trim, then we suggest taking a look at the Twister BatchOne GO. This machine will increase your bottom line for sure! It trims up-to 5 pounds dry per hour and has one of the tightest trims in the industry. A good trimmer will get 5 lbs. done in about 30 hours. If you use the machine it only takes 1 hour.


If you’re trimming wet check out the Twister T4

twister t4

The Twister T4 trimmer is one of the most versatile trimmers on the market today. It does both wet and dry. When trimming wet you can expect to trim up-to 23 pounds an hour. The only downside to this machine is it’s loud.


Head on over to our shop page and check out all the other automated solutions we sell.

Wet Trimming

There are two ways to trim weed. You can wet trim, or you can dry trim.

For wet trimming, you trim while the plant is still wet.

Wet trimming has many benefits:

  • You can cut off the fan leaves and sugar leaves more easily while they are still wet.
  • It’s quicker and easier to dry after wet trimming since the moisture content in the foliage around the buds has been removed.
  • Because all that moist foliage is gone, it prevents mold, which can be especially beneficial in humid climates.
  • It takes up less space, as you only have to dry out the buds, not the whole plant.
  • It leads to a more attractive final product.

It also has some drawbacks:

  • It is more time-consuming.
  • It’s messier, as all that fresh resin will get on your hands, clothes, and surrounding surfaces.
  • It must be done immediately after the harvest, while the plants are still wet.

Dry Trimming

It’s more common for large-scale growers to opt for dry trimming. The process involves cutting down the plant and then hanging it upside down for a few days. You begin the actual trimming process when the weed is dry. 

Here are the benefits of dry trimming:

  • It’s much less messy than wet trimming.
  • The slower drying process allows the buds to maintain a higher terpene content.
  • You can use the dried sugar leaves for edibles.
  • You don’t have to worry about trimming immediately after harvesting.

Now here are some of the cons:

  • Dry trimming takes up much more space, as you have to hang the whole plant to dry.
  • Because the plant’s foliage traps excess moisture, you run a higher risk for mold, especially in humid climates.
  • The final product is less attractive.

Trimming Wet or Trimming Dry: Which Is Better?

Wet trimming vs dry trimming is a matter of personal preference. The cannabis grower can decide on their preferred method based on their individual circumstances.

Small-scale growers often choose wet trimming because they don’t have the space for dry trimming and have more to lose if their buds end up moldy. However, most growers go with dry as it creates a better end product.

When to Harvest Cannabis and Start Trimming

It’s crucial you don’t begin the trimming process too soon or too late. If you do it too early, your buds may not be fully developed. If you do it too late, your buds could begin to rot. 

Whether you are growing weed indoors or outdoors, the best way to tell if they are ready to harvest is by looking at the stigma and trichomes. 

The stigma are the little hair-looking strands all over your buds. Before they are ripe, they are white. Ripe buds will have orange “hairs” and turn orange and begin curling. 

Trichomes appear after the flowering stage. They look crystalline and cover buds like a blanket. They are sticky and clear. When a marijuana plant is ripe and ready to harvest, its trichomes will turn white or opaque and be sticky.

If you’re growing outdoors in the Northern Hemisphere, the time to start harvesting and trimming is between September and November. When exactly to begin depends on how close you are to the equator and the weather during the growing season. 

Prune Your Cannabis Plants as They Grow

Taking care of your cannabis plants also involves lightly pruning them as they grow. If you see dead or dying leaves, get rid of them, and you’ll be left with a stronger plant. Those dead and dying leaves can take nutrients away from the living ones. 

The timing of the serious pruning matters. It’s unwise to prune fan leaves too early in the growing process. This could stifle your plant’s growth. Most growers wait until about a week before harvesting to remove the largest of the fan leaves.

How to Correctly Trim Your Weed, Step by Step

The actual procedure for trimming your cannabis is almost the same whether you opt for a dry or wet trim. The only difference is when certain steps are completed. 

1. Begin by cutting off branches of the weed plant with pruning shears. The point is to break down the blank into more manageable pieces until you reach its stalk. You can cut the stalk off close to the soil.

If you’re dry trimming, hang the pieces of your plant upside down. The plants will be ready for step two in anywhere from three days to a week. If you’re wet trimming, go to step two immediately. 

2. Cut off the fan leaves and sugar leaves. They don’t contain trichomes, so you can toss them. If you’re trimming wet, you might be able to pull the fan leaves off by hand. If you’re trimming dry, you’ll need to cut them.

3. It’s time to buck buds or remove the individual buds from the branches. Place them on your trimming tray.

4. Now to the actual trimming, the most intricate part of the process.

If your buds are really big, break them down into smaller buds so they will dry more evenly.

Begin trimming the stem at the bottom of the bud. Cut as close as you can to the stem without breaking the bud. Remove the little leaves at the bottom—called crow’s feet. 

Trim away any excess plant material for a perfectly manicured bud with a uniform surface. Adjust your scissors to the correct angle and cut in a continuous motion. 

Your goal is to remove everything but the bud, as the bud is the only part of the plant covered in trichomes. 

Place the buds on a tray as you finish trimming them. If you’re wet trimming, take all the buds and place them on a drying rack for a few days. If you’re dry trimming, seal the buds in a jar to begin the curing process. 

Trimming by Hand vs Trimming by Machine

To trim weed by hand or to use trimming machines, which is the question. Most small-scale growers opt for hand trimming, and most large-scale operations choose machine trimming. The final decision depends on your preferences and resources, though. To find out which option is right for you, consider the pros and cons of hand trimming vs machine trimming.

Hand Trimming Pros:

  • It’s cheaper upfront, as you don’t have to invest in a trimming machine.
  • The result is often more attractive buds.
  • It’s easier to spot issues and insects of mold.

Hand Trimming Cons:

  • It’s messy and time-consuming.
  • You usually have to hire trimmers to help you.

Machine Trimming Pros:

  • It’s easier, quicker, and more efficient.
  • It’s more cost-effective in the long run, as you don’t have to consistently hire trimmers.
  • It’s not nearly as messy.

Machine Trimming Cons:

  • Machines have a tendency to over trim, and quality product is lost.
  • They remove some trichomes, negatively impacting potency and flavor.
  • Some stems and seeds may be left over in the finished product.


As you now know, properly trimming your weed is an essential skill for cannabis growers. Untrimmed buds or trimming buds sloppily can cost you quality, time, and sales. Make things as easy as possible for yourself by acquiring the right tools for the job and choosing a trimming method that makes sense for your operation.

Now that you’re set up for success to trim marijuana plants like a pro, it’s time to get to it.

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