Wet Trim vs Dry Trim: Cannabis Trimming 101

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Right after harvest, your buds need to be trimmed. It’s a crucial step in producing great weed and comes with very important steps and thus, it needs to be discussed thoroughly. A part of trimming weed is deciding whether wet trim vs dry trim is better. Both methods will give you good results and it’s a matter of timing too. Let’s find out whether the wet trim is better. 

What is cannabis bud trimming?

There are many words to describe bud trimming: pruning your buds, manicuring cannabis, or trimming around the buds are just some of them. Bud trimming is removing all the excess parts or plant material that is not budding.

A lot of growers are unsure whether trimming is necessary because it removes a lot of the plant parts and leaving only a very small amount of usable parts. Also, it’s very hard to do. But experts say that trimming makes a lot of difference when it comes to the quality of your final product. 

Why cannabis trimming is important?

Here are the three most important reasons why bud trimming is done:

Bud Appearance

You’ve probably seen how Instagram-worthy weed photos are in websites, packages, and in posters in most weed dispensaries. These buds are well-manicured to entice customers and of course, to boost sales. In other words, trimming makes buds more desirable, more appealing. Also, if you plan to sell your buds, well-trimmed buds will fetch a higher price. 

Smoother Final Product

Buds that have been trimmed will be smoother when ingested. All the excess leaves surrounding the buds can make buds taste harsh, very unpleasant to consume. But when the excess is removed, you will get a product that’s easy to consume and something that your patrons will like if you want to market your buds.

Highest Amount of Trichomes

High trichome concentrations are located in the buds and are lesser on the leaves that are located around the flowers. Trichomes are minute, glass mushroom-like structures that are found all over the buds. Inside each trichome is liquid, fluid that contains the cannabinoids as well as terpenes and flavonoids. These are what make cannabis very potent and very effective. Trichomes may also be found along with the leaves but not as much as those that grow on the buds.  

Always save your trimmings

As you can see, the reason why cannabis growers want more buds, want larger buds per plant is to harvest more yields. When you trim cannabis plants, you’ll be discarding large portions of the plant to leave just the buds! 

Many cannabis growers remove the trim and save them. As mentioned before, trichomes and THC amounts are mostly concentrated on the buds BUT there is still THC found in all plant parts. Therefore, you can save these plant parts to use in making all kinds of cannabis products. 

  • Use excess trim to make joints, blunts, and spliffs.
  • Use trim to make concentrates like oil, rosin, honey, shatter and many more
  • Use trim to make edibles like brownies, cookies, chocolates, candies, and butter, to name a few
  • Use these to make teas and shakes. 

Wet trim vs dry trim

So which is better? Wet trim or dry trim? Let’s find out the meaning of each type of trim.

Wet trimming is trimming the buds before these are dried.  Meanwhile, dry trimming is done after the buds are dry. 

If you plan to take your finished product to market quickly or you want to sell them as quickly as possible, we recommend a wet trim. But if your customers can wait or you’re merely growing weed for your consumption, you may opt for a dry trim.

Wet trimming is faster but if you want to produce high-quality weed then you must wait till these are dry before trimming them.

Consider the following reasons why dry trimming is better than wet trimming

Dry trimming is preferred by many even if they lack time to dry their buds because they prefer to use dry trimming machines. These are efficient machines that replace humans in trimming cannabis buds. However, it only takes dry buds.

Dry trimming means you’ll be trimming buds to get consistent weights. If you have a large harvest and you plan to hire workers to help you trim your buds, you’re likely paying them for how much each person has trimmed in weight. If workers trim the buds wet then you’ll lose money. But if they dry trim, you’ll keep accurate track of their work and pay them consistently. 

Also, dry buds trimmed to develop a better shape, size, and overall appearance compared to those that are wet-trimmed. When you trim buds before they are tried and place these someplace to dry, the buds will dry out to an irregular shape. All plants are softer when they are wet and placing these on their sides to dry will only flatten them.

Some strains develop different colors when they are dried. Wet trimmed buds dry out fast because they are covered by less foliage. Experts recommend a slow but steady drying period and if you live in a place where there’s low humidity, you’ll surely go for a dry trim. 

And finally, if you dry and cure before you trim your buds, the extra leaves and foliage can help protect your buds during the drying and curing process.

Things you will need to trim your weed harvest

Although you can prune and trim your buds by your mere hands, using the following tools will make trimming more efficient. 

Pruning shears

Pruning shears are different from trimming scissors as these have larger and sharper ends to allow you to cut very tough stalks and dense branches. The ends of pruning shears have a hook shape to easily grip plant parts and cut them. Pruning shears are used by gardeners and you may have one in your garage. 

Very sharp trimming scissors

To cut smaller plant parts, use sharp trimmers. This pair of scissors come with fine tips suitable for cutting through delicate parts like precious sugar leaves. Removing sugar leaves can be harder than removing other parts of the plant as these are found very close to the buds. 

Work gloves

You need heavy-duty work gloves when you trim your buds. Gloves will protect your hands from hard branches and stems and from accumulating sticky resin. Also, wearing gloves ensure that your working area is clean and sanitary especially when you’re handling medical-grade cannabis. 

Alcohol

Use rubbing alcohol to remove resin from your hands. You may also clean your tools with alcohol as well as your working area. 

Remember to clean your tools each time you use them. If you overlook cleaning your scissors and shears, these will become blunt and you would have to sharpen them the next time you use them. 

Trimming trays

You need many trimming trays similar to baking trays where you will place different plant parts. It’s best to separate the different parts so you’ll know which ones to save, to use for teas and which ones to keep and cure. 

Storage containers

Use airtight jars to cure your buds. A good-sized mason jar would do.

How to wet trim?

Another way wet trimming is different from dry trimming is the way these are done. Here are the steps to wet trim your cannabis plants.

1. Harvest whole plants 

In these instructions, we’ll be using whole plants so you will harvest from the branches up. As a good rule, dry your buds and plants ASAP. A large basket or a large vat will safely transport your plants from the growing area to your trimming area.

2. Cut branches into small and manageable parts

Use the large garden shears to cut the thick branches. Cut in sizes that make them easy to manage. But make sure that when you’re cutting a branch that’s attached to buds, don’t cut these too long or too short. 

Place the cut plant parts in a separate tray.  Take note that the buds are still wet and are very soft and thus laying these down on any surface will flatten them. You must protect your buds to keep their shape by hanging them on a clothesline just like hanging wet articles of clothing.

3. Cut the fan leaves

To start wet trimming, remove the extra-large fan leaves. Also called water leaves these are leaves that are in brighter shades of green and do not contain any sugar. Use your large cutting shears to cut through fan leaves because in some plants these come with very hard stems. 

4. Closely manicure the sugar leaves

Now that the large fan leaves are out of the way, it’s time to remove the delicate sugar leaves. This is the most important part of trimming your buds and how you remove the fan leaves and how much you remove may be up to you. 

Some harvesters leave a large portion of the fan leaves because these are covered with trichomes but take note that the more sugar leaves you to remove, the less harsh your end product will be. Therefore, we recommend that you cut all the sugar leaves.  

Remove the sugar leaves over a separate empty container so you can gather the delicate leaves. You can still use these to make other cannabis products. 

Still, some harvesters leave a small portion of the stem right below the buds while the sugar leaves are removed completely. The small stem serves as a way to hang your buds from a clothesline to dry completely without crushing them.

5. Dry your buds and plant parts

As soon as your buds are trimmed and are the size and shape you want these to be, it’s time to dry them. As we mentioned in the previous steps, the best way to dry out wet buds is to hang them. 

Dry your buds and plant parts using the following conditions:

  • Days 1 to 3 – dry at 63 degrees Fahrenheit, maintain 50% humidity
  • Days 4 to 6 – dry at 70 degrees Fahrenheit, maintain 50% humidity
  • Days 7 to 10 – dry at 73 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, maintain 45% humidity 

You will know that your buds and plant parts are dry and ready to cure when the stems are easy to break in an even and audible manner. 

6. Cure your buds and plant parts

Curing is allowing dried buds to “burp” and thus, removing all moisture from the buds as possible. Curing takes a few more weeks and it involves placing the buds in a tight-lid jar and removing moisture from the jar at least once a day. 

Curing is also a very important part of manufacturing pleasant-tasting weed that can last a long time. If you don’t cure your buds well, these will smell and taste like newly-cut grass. Once the curing process is done, you may now smoke or consume your high-quality weed. 

Store your newly cured weed in large airtight and dark jars. You must keep these containers in a dark and dry area to prevent mold. 

How to dry trim?

The dry trim process is simply the opposite of wet trimming as you need to dry your buds first before start manicuring them. Here are the steps:

1. Harvest your whole plants

Just like wet trimming, remove the large plant parts like the tough branches and stems. Place these in large baskets or vats. 

2. Cut the branches into smaller and more manageable parts

Like wet trimming, you should cut your plants into smaller parts so it would be easier to move or manage them. Use your large trimming shears to cut through thick branches and stems. 

3. Cut the fan leaves

Time to remove these large sugarless leaves. These leaves will make your weed bitter if you add these to your trim. Also, these “water” leaves have the largest amount of water, and removing them makes the drying process faster and more efficient.

4. Dry your buds and plant parts

Leave your buds to dry on a clothesline using some pins. And just like wet trimming, consider the following important factors:

Dry your buds and plant parts using the following conditions:

  • Days 1 to 3 – dry at 63 degrees Fahrenheit, maintain 50% humidity
  • Days 4 to 6 – dry at 70 degrees Fahrenheit, maintain 50% humidity
  • Days 7 to 10 – dry at 73 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, maintain 45% humidity 

The stems are easy to break in an even and audible manner when the buds and plant parts are dry.  

5. Closely trim the sugar leaves post drying

Use sharp trimming scissors to closely trim the sugar leaves. Trim over a pan or container so you’ll catch all the sugar leaves trimmings.

6. Cure your buds and plant parts

And the final step is curing your newly trimmed buds. Keep the buds inside a mason jar. Open this once a day to remove moisture. Keep the container inside a dry and dark area

Some helpful tips when trimming your buds

Here are a few tips to improve bud quality when you trim

  • Avoid watering your plants a few days before harvest

Drying is the process of removing almost all the water or moisture in the buds and plant parts.           To facilitate easy drying, start days before harvest time as you stop watering your plants. Avoid giving nutrients as the plant does not need these nutrients anymore.

  • Dry your buds and plant parts inside a dry and dark place

For easy and even drying, keep your plants in a dark and dry place in your home. Use a spare room, your basement, or attic as long as the area is free from moisture and you can control humidity. Visit your plants regularly to check for readiness. Always perform the crispiness test to check if your plants are completely dry.

  • Protect your buds from pests and mold

Even during the drying period and curing process, your precious buds are still prone to developing mold. And to avoid mold especially inside the buds, use a dehumidifier. This equipment can maintain humidity levels accurately. You must also remove all sources of moisture like a leaking pipe, an open window, or a wet spot on the floor. Avoid pets inside the drying area and protect your plants using personal protective gear like a coat, gloves, and masks as you can bring mold or fungus spores inside your growing area.                                                                                                             

  • Store your well dried, manicured and cured buds in proper containers

After curing, place your buds in proper containers. Always inspect your buds for molds. Label your container and write important information like the strain of the cannabis, the date the buds were harvested, the date of curing, and whether you used a wet trim or dry trim to manicure your buds.

Wet trim vs dry trim is the same as both techniques trim the buds and preserve plant parts to be used for other products. Both techniques simply vary in the time the trimming was done. Overall, this is entirely your decision. Choose well. 

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