Learning how to trim marijuana plants with the intent of producing quality marijuana is not an easy process. Of the many steps involved, one of the most important is trimming. Marijuana trimming or trimming cannabis is where you harvest the flower and prepare it for use.
As straightforward as this might seem, there are two trimming methods used by cannabis growers, wet trimming, and dry trimming. Both methods, wet or dry trim, have their pros and cons. At this point, cannabis experts and our customers here at The Trimmer Store, can’t seem to agree on wet trim vs dry trim, and which is better. So, we wrote a little guide to explain the basics.
Let’s learn about the basics when it comes to the topic of Wet Trimming vs Dry Trimming
Deciding between wet trim vs dry trim is critical because how you trim your cannabis plant can affect potency, smoothness for smoking, looks, and potential for mold. Ultimately, the best trimming process depends upon the individual grower, their level of experience, and their personal preference.
To determine which will be more beneficial to you, you’ll first need to understand the difference between dry trimming vs wet trimming.
Wet trimming is when the cannabis harvest is trimmed before drying it. This means you cut the leaves off right away after you harvest the buds. Dry trimming is when you cut the plant down and hang it to dry for a few days, leaves and all, before you begin trimming.
Benefits of Wet Trimming
In general, cannabis industry experts find that wet trimming is the more efficient trimming method. Here are some of the pros of trimming wet.
- Wet trimming is easier. It is easier to remove the fan and sugar leaves while they are wet. When those leaves are left to dry, they shrivel up.
- Easier trimming means it takes less time to trim.
- Cannabis buds dry faster without all the leaves attached, as the leaves retain moisture.
- Because of the faster drying, there is less chance for mold to form between the stalk and the flower. This is more of a concern in humid climates. Remember that mold ruins the harvest and makes it unviable.
- Wet trimming takes up less space, as you remove all the foliage off the buds before drying instead of hanging up the entire plants to dry.
- Wet trimming allows the buds to puff up, making them more visibly attractive. For growers selling flower, this is important, as consumers often buy based on how the buds look.
- Some growers have pointed out that wet trimming allows the trichomes to stay intact thanks to the stickiness of the plant. This can preserve the terpenes (flavor) of the final product.
Disadvantages of Wet Trimming
Trimming wet also has some notable downsides. It’s best to take them into consideration before deciding between wet trim vs dry trim.
- Wet trimming can reduce the quality of the product. The sugar and fan leaves protect the buds while they dry and can help to create an ideal moisture level. When they are removed before drying, it can cause the buds to dry up more quickly than they should and negatively impact quality.
- Shorter drying time means retention of chlorophyll. More chlorophyll adds a harsh flavor to marijuana, making it less smooth for smoking.
- The work of trimming must be done immediately after harvest, all at once. This can be stressful due to all the time and energy it takes in a short period of time.
- Wet trimming is messy. The plants are still sticky, so they get stuck to everything: your fingers, your trimming shears, your clothes, etc. Sticky trimming shears have to be cleaned up often during the process. Using gloves is usually necessary. Coconut oil or rubbing alcohol can help with the clean-up.
Benefits of Dry Trimming
The dry trimming process also has a lot of advantages, which is why there isn’t an easy answer to the dry trim vs wet trim debate. While it is generally thought to be less efficient than wet trimming, many view it to be more effective. Here are the benefits of dry trimming.
- Dry trimming allows cannabis growers more control over the drying speed, as the exterior foliage retains moisture. This ensures the buds won’t dry too quickly.
- Dry trimming typically means better quality marijuana in the end, as retaining the moisture while drying allows the buds to dry at the correct speed. This can preserve potency and terpenes.
- Dry-trimmed cannabis provides a smoother, more pleasant smoke. The longer the buds take to dry, the more chlorophyll they lose, and less chlorophyll means better flavor.
- You can take your time when you go the route of dry trimming, making for a less stressful trimming experience.
- It is less messy to dry trim, as the buds are less sticky. This reduces the level to which the buds attach to everything they touch.
Disadvantages of Dry Trimming
Dry trimming comes with some cons that are worth considering as well.
- It is noticeably more difficult to trim dry cannabis plants. This is because the dry sugar and fan leaves curl up and attach to the bud. Thus, they become more difficult to cut off. This is especially true of the sugar leaves, which may end up nearly impossible to remove.
- More difficulty means dry trimming is a more time-consuming process. It takes many additional hours to get through the same amount of trimming when going the dry-trim route.
- Dry trimming comes with a higher risk of mold, particularly in humid climates. In some cases, dry trimming may not be possible if the climate is too humid.
- You need a lot of space to dry trim, as you hang large chunks of the plant, leaves included, to dry before you trim. Some growers do not have room for this.
Which Trimming Process Should You Choose?
Understanding the pros and cons of the different trimming methods can help you decide which is better for you as a grower. Trimming style is a personal preference, however, for those in doubt, here’s some advice.
Wet trimming is easier, faster, and takes up less space. As such, it is generally a better choice for novice trimmers. A novice grower is more likely to succeed absent of mold worries and inexperience with trimming off sugar leaves.
Because dry trimming is not as easy and requires more room, it is better for experienced growers with adequate drying space for large harvests. The benefits of dry trimming, including better quality weed with a smoother smoke, are generally worth the extra effort. With experience comes wisdom, which is needed to properly handle some of the issues that accompany dry trimming.
If you’re still not sure if a wet trim vs dry trim method is best for you, consider your climate. A less experienced trimmer could get away with dry trimming a small harvest in a dry climate, as they won’t have to worry about mold or space. Conversely, even the most experienced trimmer might not be able to control mold in a very humid climate.
While there is not a simple answer to the debate on wet trim vs dry trim, this information should help you make an informed decision about the technique best-suited to your situation. Good luck and happy growing!
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If you’d like to learn more about trimming, check out our article about hand trimming vs machine trimming.