Unfortunately, knowing when to harvest your cannabis buds isn’t as clear-cut as a tomato or pepper plant. If you get them a bit too early or a bit too late, there’s a chance the whole strain won’t be any good.
Alright, so you don’t have to reap your weed growths at the exact second they’re ready, but you only have about a one-week window before and after to get them. Otherwise, the potency will go down significantly.
If you’re a novice to the world of pot cultivation, stick around because we’ll outline everything you need to know about when the best time to harvest marijuana is and how you can tell.
When is the Best Time to Harvest Marijuana?
Knowing when to harvest marijuana is determined by three primary factors:
- Trichome color
- Leaf color
- Leaf curling
Paying attention to these visual indicators is the most surefire way to cut down your cannabis at the right time. Here’s what to look for in each:
Perhaps the most reliable way to recognize fully mature marijuana plants is by the color of their trichomes.
A ready-to-harvest plant will have a roughly 50:50 ratio of milk-white colored trichomes and brownish-amber colored trichomes.
If most of the trichomes are clear, then it’s too early. If most of them are brown, you’ve likely waited too long, and your plants have begun to rot.
The second best way of telling when cannabis is ready is by the color of its leaves.
Because of the importance of nitrogen during the flowering process, there is an abundance of the element, causing the leaves to become bright green. These green leaves are somewhat of an icon for pot enthusiasts, but ironically isn’t an optimal time to harvest.
Instead, it would be best if you harvested when the leaves have started to become yellow. This change means the buds have fully flowered, and the abundance of nitrogen leaves the plant, causing the change in hue.
This is arguably an easier method of telling since trichomes are tiny and often hard to see, so it’s recommended to use a combination of both.
This is another result of the nitrogen leaving the plant and the yellowing of the leaves. Since there is much less moisture being retained once the flowering process is finished, the plant begins to dry out, and the leaves tend to curl up.
One key thing to note here is that you shouldn’t wait too long once you start to notice these signs. Not all the leaves have to turn yellow and curl up before you decide it’s time to harvest. Being too apprehensive can absolutely kill the plant’s vigor and lead to a weaker strain.
Other Signs to Watch Out For
While most strains are grown indoors, there are some photoperiod strains of cannabis that are grown outdoors. An excellent way to determine if these strains (which typically have a more extended flowering period than others) is by the coloration of their pistils.
The pistils are long, hairlike strands that stick out from the top of the buds and are responsible for taking in pollen. When a cannabis plant reaches maturity, these growths turn brown and indicate that they’re ready to be collected.
The final sign is the buds on the plants. If you start to see firm, tightly-knit buds on your marijuana, it could indicate that it’s time. Of course, this isn’t always the most reliable way to tell, so you should use this method in addition to the other ones listed.
Just as long as you pay close attention to all the visual criteria listed previously, you’ll know exactly when it’s time to harvest. The trick is to be attentive and diligent during the growing process.
What Happens if You Harvest Too Early or Too Late?
Put simply, harvesting early will significantly reduce how potent the strain is since it wouldn’t have time to develop fully.
On the other hand, waiting too late will cause the plant to lose potency and develop a bitter, undesirable aftertaste once processed.
Either way, the quality of the plant will go down drastically and have unpleasant results. It’s similar to harvesting a vegetable or fruit too early or too late: it’ll either be a mushy mess or harsh and bitter.
How Long Does Cannabis Take to Grow?
Most cannabis strains usually take about 9 – 12 weeks to reach maturation fully. Some may take as little as six weeks to bud, while others may take upwards of 16 or more weeks.
It all boils down to what type of strain you’re growing and a few other genetic factors.
What Season is Cannabis Harvested in?
While most marijuana is grown indoors, there are still a good number of strains that are grown outdoors.
In the northern hemisphere, cannabis is harvested during fall, specifically between September and November.
So, When Is the Best Time to Harvest Marijuana
Growing weed can be a long and complex journey, but worth it if done correctly.
Sure, you could have one of the best pot garden setups out there and the light exposure timings down to the tee, but without proper knowledge of when it’s time to harvest, it would all be a complete waste.
Are you looking for more pot content? Go to 420DC for more useful articles on marijuana and one of DC’s most prominent weed delivery services.
Related Questions on The Best Time to Harvest Marijuana
Here are some frequently asked questions around the web:
When should I stop watering before harvesting?
Should I leave plants in darkness before harvest?
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