Harvest time is the most rewarding and exciting aspect of cultivating cannabis for many growers. After months of witnessing your plants slowly morph from seedlings into fully bloomed plants, it’s almost time to reach for the trimmers and proceed to dry and cure your bounty. However, it’s important to remain patient and not become too hasty. There are numerous signs you need to be aware of and look out for on both the macro and micro levels to make sure your flowers are truly ready.
Harvesting cannabis flowers at just the right time ensures optimal quality. Doing so too early can reduce both yields and potency, and doing so too late can result in THC degradation
WHEN DO YOU HARVEST YOUR CANNABIS?
Brief knowledge of cannabis anatomy is required to make an accurate assessment of ripeness and of when your cannabis flowers are ready to be gathered. This eventually called for series of debates among professionals, however, general guidelines for each cannabis subspecies in regards to the optimal is developed thus; Indica strains are set to be harvested after 8 weeks of flowering, and sativa strains after a 10-week period of flowering. Autoflowering strains often take approximately 10 weeks after the seedling stage. Although these guidelines can be helpful in estimating when harvest time may occur but more attention to detail is required to perfect your timing.
Here are signs displayed by several parts of the cannabis plant that its harvest time;
Fan Leaves Will Turn Yellow
It doesn’t take much anatomical knowledge to identify this change. Fan leaves are the large and wide leaves that serve as energy-forming solar panels for your plant. During the vegetative phase, yellow leaves aren’t a good thing and often point towards nutritional deficiencies. However, if your plant is loaded with flowers, fan leaves will begin to turn yellow and die as much of the resources are directed towards the buds. This is an easy to spot and perfect sign that harvest time is close.
Pistils Will Begin to Turn Red
Pistils are hair-like structures upon cannabis flowers that emerge from the calyx and can easily be identified with the naked eye. These structures are white early on in the flowering phase and turn to darker colours of red, brown, and orange as the flowers move closer to harvest.
If most of the pistils are still visibly white, then it’s too early to harvest and your plants should be left to mature for a little longer. Growers should wait until at least 50% of pistils have turned darker to ensure near maximal THC levels. Begin trimming flowers when 60–70% of pistils have turned dark for the highest levels of THC.
This is where a brief cannabis anatomy idea works. Becoming acquainted with cannabis pistils will help you to identify when it’s time to start snipping flowers.
Trichomes Will Turn Milky White in Appearance
Trichomes are anatomical parts that offer signs for harvest time on a micro level. Trichomes are minute mushroom-shaped glands that occupy the flowers and sugar leaves, and produce the valuable resin that contains cannabinoids and terpenes. Trichomes are too small to be properly assessed with the naked eye, therefore magnifying tools are required to get a closer look. A magnifying tool is the best way to see if your plants are ready for harvest. With the right magnifying tools you can clearly see these details.
There are a few magnifying options to choose from;
- Jewellers Loupe – perfect for those on a budget, this low-tech tool is the least helpful. However, it’s still good enough to provide somewhat of a gauge.
- Handheld Magnifier – this option steps it up, but it can be cumbersome to use. You’ll really need to get the focus right to view those trichomes.
- Digital Microscope – although expensive, this is the best option, as it will give you a clear answer as to rather your plants are ready to harvest. The main downside is that you’ll need a laptop to see the results. If you go this route, you’ll definitely need to read the instructions.