Harvesting Guide

When to harvest your Cannabis?

If your new to the world of cannabis cultivation, you are probably eager to taste the fruits of your labor at harvest time. This beginner guide will help you to identify key indicator to tell you your cannabis plants are ready to harvest.

As a grower you’ll know that your cannabis plants are ready to harvest when you observe these visual cues:

Trichome Color -  The appearance of the Trichomes, the small resin glands on flowers, is one of the surest ways to tell if it’s time to harvest. Ideally, half of the trichomes should appear milky white and others should be vivid amber. Clear trichomes, on the other hand, indicate that’s it’s a good idea to wait a little longer before harvest. Of all the signs to look for, trichomes color is the most reliable. This color change might be hard to see with the naked eye, so make sure you have a magnifying glass / microscope / jewelers loupe handy.

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Clear Trichomes

Not yet ready to harvest

Hasn't gained enough potency & harvesting now will hurt final yields.

Cloudy Trichomes

Buds are still growing in size, strain odor has not developed fully yet, buds harvested at this stage tend to produce a more energetic or "speedy" high.

Mixed Trichomes

Highest Levels of THC

50-70% of white "hairs have darkened. When most Trichomes are

milky/cloudy.

Amber Trichomes

0-70% of white "hairs have darkened. When most Trichomes are milky / cloudy

Lower levels of THC: a mellow smoke.

Effect: relaxing, body high

40x Loupe Microscope

WE-MICRO/40

The Loupe 40x Lighted Loupe helps target pests or disease issues by allowing you to see 40x closer than regular eyesight. Additional LED light allows you to get a good look even in low light. Great tool to help identify plant problems and get a closer look at cannabis trichomes to help determine when to harvest.

Leaf Color -  Another reliable indictor of when a marijuana plant is ready to harvest is the changing shades of fan leaves. During the flowering stages, nitrogen gives the leaves their green color. When it’s time to harvest, fan leaves will turn yellow and start to fall off as nitrogen decreases.

Curling Leaves -  As the fan leaves turn from Green to Yellow, they may also curl and dry. The lack of moisture is a natural occurrence as cannabis plants take in less water when harvest time draws near.

Brown Pistils -   For photoperiod cannabis plants, the pistils will turn brown at maturity. The optimal time to harvest is when about half the pistils are shaded brown. Like checking trichome colors, you’ll want to have your magnifier handy.

 

 

 

Bud Shape -   Though not as surefire a way to know when it’s time to Harvest as the Trichome test, the shape of the buds can still offer a few hints about the plant’s maturity. Look for firm, tight buds on marijuana plants as a sign that it’s ready to harvest.

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How can you tell if it’s too early to harvest your Cannabis?

Trichomes will signal if your crop is not yet ready for harvest, just as they let you know when it’s the best time to start harvesting. If the majority of the Trichomes are clear, then the cannabis plants are not ready to harvest. Clear Trichomes indicate that resin production has not reached its peak resulting weed is likely to be less potent, flavorful, and aromatic.

How can you tell if its too late to harvest your Cannabis?

Check the Trichomes again and note the color. If you observe mostly amber trichomes, the cannabis flowers are overripe. At this stage of development, the harvested weed will have an unpleasant taste. In addition, cannabinoids such as THC begin to degrade when amber trichomes take over the milky white ones. In rare cases, Trichomes can even turn black if grower didn’t harvest their plants in time. Besides the amber color, Trichomes can become noticeably brittle. Trichomes on overripe buds may even crumble in your hands.

Should I be flushing my Cannabis plants before harvest?

When the plant starts showing signs that it is close to harvest, it is important to flush the plant of any unused nutrients. Ideally flushing 10-14 days before harvest. To Flush your plants, flood your grow medium with water/Final Flush. Wait a few minutes for the water to dissolve nutrient buildup, then add more water/Final Flush to flush it all out. Without added nutrients, the pant will begin to feed on what’s available in the grow medium leading up to harvest. Once you’ve flushed your plants, you will likely see the fan leave change color as a sign of nitrogen deficiency. Finally, give your plants one last flush the day before harvest.

 

Final Flush 

1L - WE-FINAL/1L   

4L - WE-FINAL/4L

Final Flush is formulated to remove excess salt from growing media to ensure a cleaner tasting harvest. Plants tend to absorb excess nutrients and store them in plant tissues. By purging nutrients from the root zone, plants are forced to convert accumulated salts into secondary metabolites that improve harvest quality. The result is a top quality harvest with the flavour and aroma you expect.  

Wet vs Dry Trimming

If you never trimmed cannabis before, then you probably don’t know much about the process. Ultimately, they are two different types of methods of trimming your marijuana plant. While some people choose to trim their buds before drying them, others wait until the buds have dried to trim the trees.

If you choose to trim your cannabis before drying it out, it is referred to as a wet trim. This is because leaves are still wet during the trimming process.

Wet Trimming Should Be Done If:

  • You’re concerned about mold

  • There are many buds drying in a small area

  • You have high humidity

  • You want buds to dry quickly

Trimming your buds after they have dried out is referred to as a dry trim because the buds have dried out before trimming off the sugar leaves. In most cases, growers will remove the big fan leaves with their fingers before drying.

Dry Trimming Should Be Done When Or If :

  • You’re not concerned about mold

  • You have low humidity

  • You want your buds to be more dense or tighter

  • You want your buds to dry slowly

  • You don’t mind buds losing their vibrant color

 
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Wet Trimming Process

  1. Cut the plant, either at the base or into larger branches.

  2. Work your way from the bottom to the top of the branch, removing any larger fan leaves/sugar leaves around the buds with pruning scissors. Being careful of the buds themselves.

  3. Once most of the leaves are removed, “buck” or cut the buds from the stems and place in separate bin/tray.

  4. Once all your buds are removes from the stems…

    1. Process bud through an electric trimmer. (CenturionPro, High Class Stand)

    2. Process buds b placing in a Bowl Trimmer and hand cranking until done. (16”, 19”)

    3. Process buds by hand with pruners

  5. Once you are happy with the quality of the trim, spread your buds evenly in a drying rack or trays in a temperate, moisture controlled, dark room

  6. Toss and rotate buds every 2 days to ensure an even drying process.

Properly and evenly drying your bud will help preserve its potency, vibrancy and color. When dried improperly or unevenly, buds can develop mold, burn unevenly and lose fragrance and flavor.​

Some things you may need...

 

Precision Pruner Stainless Steel Straight/Curved

WE-PRUSH/ST

WE-PRUNE/CV

Super sharp surgical blades tapered for ultimate precision and coated with titanium to hold sharp edge longer. The lightweight, ergonomically correct design reduces hand stress and can be used with both hands.

Isopropyl Alcohol 99% 3.78L

SKU: WE-ALCOH/99

Isopropyl alcohol dissolves a wide range of compounds and is ideal for cleaning trays, reservoirs or scissors. It evaporates quickly, leaves nearly zero traces of oil and is relatively non-toxic when compared to alternative solvents like butane and bleach. It is used widely as a solvent, especially for dissolving oils and natural resins.

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Bowl Trimmer

WE-TRIMS/IL

These trimmers will cut twigs and remove leaves from a multitude of different plants for projects like making essential oils, aromatherapy products, and potpourris. They harness the power of 30 scissors in 1 unit and includes (1) straight blade, made of high quality stainless steel.

 

Dry Trimming Process

Hang drying

  1. Cut the plant, either at the base or into larger branches.

  2. Hang the plant upside down in a room with the temperature set at 70 degrees Fahrenheit, or 21 degrees Celsius, and a dehumidifier set at 50%. Check and maintain temperature and humidity every daily.

  3. Once the stems are dry enough to snap slightly when bent, remove them from the lines and cut them into smaller sections.

  4. Place those sections inside of a large tote/jar and close it with a lid. It isn’t necessary for the lid to be completely closed or sealed.

  5. For the first couple of days turn over and rotate the cannabis in the totes/jars to ensure even drying.

  6. Also “burp” the totes/jars by opening it and allowing fresh air to filter out the damp air inside.

Some things you may need...

8 Layer Drying Rack

WE-DRYER/8L

These easy to hang mesh nets are designed for maximum air flow for optimum drying. 8 Sections allows you to separate plants and different strains. Side hole for easy access for daily flipping. 

Airtight Strongbox

WE-STRON/G1

Private Reserve’s Airtight Strongboxes were designed to keep your plant-based products sealed and safe.  These Strongboxes are made of food-safe stainless steel, and conceal odors.  The food-safe silicone seal helps prevent leaks, and the rounded square shape makes these great for stacking large quantities.  Keep your prized harvest safe and secure with the Private Reserve Airtight Strongbox!

Trim Tray

WE-TRIMT/RA

You don’t need tables and a whole trim room… transform any chair into a high-quality trimming station with the Happy Hydro Kief Collector tray! Ideal for both smaller residential spaces and large commercial operations.

It’s important to avoid losing trichomes during the drying process by not letting your branches hit and surface while hang-drying. Contact with a surface can damage trichomes and break them off the plant. Depending on environmental conditions, the initial drying process usually take three to seven days.

Once your bud has been properly dried, it’s time for trimming and curing. The goal with trimming is to remove excess sugar leaves that, while consumable and excellent for making edible and concentrates, have a lower trichomes concentration the flower and typically make for harsher smoke.

To trim your buds, hold them by the stem and gently cut away any sugar leaves and steams surrounding them. Trim over a screen to collect trichomes that break off the plant and handle your buds with extreme care. Try to trim the “crow’s feet” the leave around the bottom of the bud, closely as possible without damage. All contact with the bus can cause trichomes loss or damage. Hold your plants and branches by the stem whenever possible.

What is Curing? And should I be doing it?

Curing is the final stage in the drying process, allowing for a controlled breakdown of residual chlorophyll in the colas so they are neither too moist nor too dry.

To cure your bus, place it in glass jars or a tot for about 4-8 weeks. During the first two weeks, open the containers daily and allow for fresh oxygen to filter through the air in the container. Open the containers every 2-3 days in the last two weeks of curing. The curing process should be gradual to ensure a proper balance of air and moisture that will preserve fragrance and flavor.

 
 

How should I store my Cannabis?

In order to maintain the chemical profile of cannabis, the buds must be kept as close to their final condition as possible improper storage can lead to…

  • Cannabinoid degradation

  • Loss of terpene profile

  • A harsh smoke

  • Loss of trichome when flower is brittle.

  • Development of mold or fungus if cured flower is exposed to moisture.

Proper storage after trimming, drying, and curing process is crucial is maintaining the chemical integrity of your final product. Temperature, moisture, oxygen and ultraviolet (UV) light can all have a negative effect on a bud’s chemical profile.