Trimming helps concentrate the terpenes on a bud by removing the plant material that lacks them. These are the signature 5-point leaves that poke out which, while having some trichomes on them, do not nearly have the concentration as that of the bud itself. The result is a tighter, more uniform look that is presentable and aesthetically pleasing. This uniformity lends itself to consistent moisture content for curing, creating an even and flavorful smoking experience. While the process is mostly the same, there are several methods you can use the get the result you want.
Wet and Dry Trimming
Before you trim your buds, decide whether you will be drying your hemp plants. When wet trimming, you perform all of the steps in one sitting; cutting down your plant, bucking the buds off their branches, and placing them on a drying rack after trimming. This method gives you easier access to sugar and fan leaves, which shrivel and dry up in dry trimming. Drying the buds will be quicker with less moisture-filled foliage attached, and because buds are stickier when being handled, their trichomes remain intact so they retain their terpenes and flavors.
When dry trimming, you go through the entire process, with the added step of hang drying your plant before bucking off your buds to trim. By keeping the leaves on at the start, you increase the humidity around the buds to slow down the drying. This is ideal in arid climates in which quick drying can cause terpene loss. The trimming process is less messy as well since the trichomes will harden as the buds dry.
A few things to note is dry trimming will add up to a week to the trimming process. And while the trichomes are less sticky, there are also more brittle so handle your buds with care. Buds that undergo wet trimming will be very sticky; their trichomes can get on your fingers, trimming shears, etc. Keep these notes in mind when deciding whether to wet or dry trim.
While you are likely a home grower, it is worth mentioning the existence of machine trimmers that are more suited for large-scale growing. The most efficient machine trimmers can process up to 19 pounds of buds an hour but can also run up to $12,000. You won’t have to spend five figures though, and more affordable options are available that are less sophisticated but cost as little as $120.
Such machines include bud bowl trimmers that trim many buds with a few cranks of their handle. This method runs the buds through the inner apparatus to quickly groom them for consumption. You will still need to remove the fan leaves before placing them inside the bowl trimmer.
If machine trimming, exercise caution so that you don’t over-trim your buds and remove too many trichomes, which will diminish their potency and flavor.