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David Rhodes

David has been working in the cannabis industry for the past 17 years with experience working overseas in Amsterdam as a budtender for 5 years! Learn More About David!

As of the last update on December 21st, 2022: Every leaf on a cannabis plant plays an essential role in the photosynthesis process. The larger leaves, known as fan leaves, extend out from the plant and are instrumental in collecting sunlight to support plant growth.

removing fan leaves during flowering

Should You Remove Cannabis Leaves During Flowers?

Yes, there are certain circumstances where you should remove leaves during flowering! Although these leaves play an essential role in the growth of the plant, sometimes you need to remove them during flowering if they’re too many and they can end up cluttering the plant and restricting growth.

Too many leaves can cover important structures of the plant thus preventing light penetration from passing through as needed as well as overshadowing bud sites which leads to smaller buds. In addition to preventing a plant from absorbing light, huge fan leaves can compromise proper airflow leading to bugs such as spider mites and mold. By having the right balance of a few leaves allows for proper circulation and drying to occur.

Removing the cannabis plant’s leaves allows light to pass through and improves air circulation for healthy leaves and larger plants and bigger buds.

Moreover, plants mature faster. As a grower, it is prudent to understand the required balance of fan leaves necessary for a plant and when to cut them off.

The right technique, known as proper thinning, removes between 20-40% mid-upper foliage after 5 – 7 days which is a good ratio of fan leaves during flowering.

Benefits of Fan Leaves On Your Cannabis Plant

Fan leaves are important because they trap the light needed to process sugars. They help the plant breathe through their openings, taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. 

These leaves transport hormones necessary for flowering. Fan leaves also serve as storage granaries where plants keep extra supplies.

Pros and Cons of Removing Fan Leaves During Flowering Stage

When your plant grows a thick grouping of large fan leaves during flowering, it is wise to remove them to allow light and air to circulate effectively. If you remove the excess fan leaves, the plant gets better exposure and energy required for growth.

You should remove fan leaves to help maintain optimum growth and increase yields during the flowering cycle. It redirects the plant’s energy to the buds, leading to quality buds.

On the negative side, removing these leaves either too early or too late can cause adverse effects on the yield. This technique is only appropriate for healthy plants. If you remove the leaves from weak plants, you might kill the plant.

Cutting too many fan leaves can slow the process of photosynthesis down hence negatively affecting the growth of your plants.

How to Remove Fan Leaves Safely and Effectively

Removing fan leaves is not a complicated process, but you should be careful to ensure you aren’t harming the upper bud sites or lower buds. Once you know the individual leaves you want to cut, get quality trimming scissors. Ensure they are sharp enough and comfortable on your hands. Minimal effort is necessary to remove fan leaves, so you shouldn’t be forcing it.

remove fan leaves

Pay close attention when removing fan leaves to avoid cutting the branches. Target 45 degrees angled cuts closer to the stem for a neat cut, and the plant takes less time to heal. You want to focus first on obviously dying fan leaves first, and then move on to questionable dying leaves.

Tips On How to Remove Fan Leaves During Flowering

While there are many benefits of removing fan leaves, the whole process can also be risky if you do it wrong. The stress you put the plant through should be as little as possible. If it is too much, you’ll not get the desired results, and can actually harm your plant and the bud sites in the process. You want to focus on a few leaves at a time, to ensure you’re limiting the stress you up on your plant.

removing cannabis fan leaves

The first thing you should do is to remove the drying/yellowing leaves to improve air circulation. Get rid of the fan leaves that the plant doesn’t require. When you’re removing a fan leaf, ensure you’re doing it as gently as possible, and carefully tweezing the leaf off at the base to safely remove fan leaves.

After that, open the plant by removing bigger fan leaves beneath that attach to the main branches. You don’t have to remove all of them at once because the plant is sensitive during the flowering phase. Remove several leaves in cycles to allow the plant to heal faster.

Do not remove excess leaves and leave the plant with stalks. Remember, the aim is to create room for light exposure and air circulation.

You need to remove the leaves regularly, which means you’ll often come into contact with the plant. Use this time to check the leaves and canopy for diseases, pests, and leaf discoloration.

Do Buds Need Fan Leaves to Grow?

Buds need fan leaves to grow. Fan leaves are essential in marijuana plants because of their big size. In addition to trapping enough light needed for photosynthesis, they also help to reverse food; thus giving the plant the required energy to grow the buds.

Fan leaves have small holes that allow the plant to breathe. The plant releases oxygen and takes carbon dioxide from the environment for photosynthesis. 

The leaves are significant during the flowering phase because they provide the plant with more energy to grow the buds.

At this stage, removing excess fan leaves can stagnate the growth of buds and reduce yield. Cannabis plants should have enough fan leaves for sustainable growth. 

If the plant doesn’t have fan leaves, the food supply is compromised.

Do Fan Leaves Grow Back After Cutting?

Fan leaves grow back after cutting, especially if you removed them at the early stages of growth. They grow back during the vegging phase because the plant needs enough light for photosynthesis. 

If you cut them during the flowering stage, they can take time to grow again.

Even without cutting them, some fan leaves can drop during the flowering stage. This is normal for the plant since its main focus at that stage is to nurture healthy buds. 

The resources the plant would have used to nourish the leaves are now used to develop buds.

However, the plant only loses the fan leaves it can do without.

Should You Remove ALL Fan Leaves During Flowering:

Yes, you should remove fan leaves during flowering. This allows more light to reach the plant and it also allows your plant to focus on growing buds rather than fan leaves.

Final Thoughts On Fan Leaves During Your Cannabis Grow

Growing healthy cannabis plants is important. Fan leaves play a huge role in the development of a plant. However, if they are overcrowded, this can prevent healthy bud development. 

That is why growers should cut the excess fan leaves to give room for light to pass through and promote better air circulation. Give a couple of weeks for each pruning session to encourage more growth.

Take a look at our other cannabis growing guides!

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About David Rhodes

David has been working in the cannabis industry for the past 17 years with experience working overseas in Amsterdam as a budtender for 5 years! His goal is to help you with your cannabis grow! Learn More About David!

David Rhodes