Harvesting marijuana can be one of the most tricky parts of the growing process. Harvesting too early can make marijuana less potent, while harvesting it too late could make it too narcotic with a very strong taste.
There are numerous signs to determine whether marijuana buds are ready for harvest. It could be the color-changing of pistils, the darkening of resins, the yellowing of leaves, and much more. The proper way to identify the right time for harvesting involves fundamental guidelines. In this article, we will tackle these guidelines and examples of pictures of buds ready for harvest.
The Longer, the Better?
The longer you wait to harvest will not give any assurance of a better harvest. Waiting past the point of peak production will weaken the more essential components of THC and CBD. It could even cause a more pungent, foul smell and unpleasant experience when smoking.
Fundamental Guidelines in Harvesting
It is said that leaving grapes on the vine an extra day or two can result in stronger taste and higher alcohol content in a bottle of wine. Marijuana is similar. The longer you wait to harvest, there is more production of cannabinoids, making a more robust taste and effect on the smoker.
In this article, we will explain harvesting and how to know when it’s time to harvest your cannabis plant.
Each strain of marijuana has a specific flowering period. Typically, they are ready once they reach the end of their particular flowering period. It may vary slightly depending on the environmental condition of the growing area and the climate. Nonetheless, each strain has its own flowering time frame.
For indica strains, you may need to wait around eight weeks before it is ready for harvest. For outdoor cultivation, anticipate a good harvest by the verge of September.
Typically, sativa strains have more extended flowering periods than indica. They take around nine to twelve weeks to bloom. When growing outdoors, sativa is prepared for harvesting time at the end of October.
Automatic flowering marijuana does not depend on light alterations for its flowering period to end. Hence, they are highly predictable in terms of harvesting. About ten weeks after the seedling period they will be ready to harvest.
Identifying the pistils of marijuana is the simplest way to determine the readiness of marijuana for harvesting. The changes in its color should be easily identified. White pistils mean it might be very early for harvest time to occur. However, if the pistils turned into a red or brown color, the marijuana plant is ready to harvest and should be done to avoid fluctuations in its quality.
If you observe that 50-70% of your plant’s pistils are almost turning brown or red, it means that harvesting time is almost here. Have patience and you’ll be harvesting in no time.
When 70-90% of the pistils have changed into a brown color, then your plant is ready to harvest.
If all of the pistils on your plant have turned brown, you have waited too long to harvest.
Despite any guidelines, harvesting times can come down to personal preference. Some growers harvest their plants at an early stage to experience a lighter potency. Meanwhile, other growers tend to gather late to indulge in a more potent effect.
You can also observe your plant’s trichomes to determine harvesting times. Many growers consider this as the most precise way of determining whether or not to harvest the buds.
Trichomes appear to have a mushroom shape structure, and a frosty or crystal-like appearance. If you feel a stickiness when you touch marijuana, this is the doings of trichomes. Trichomes are responsible for THC, so using this as your method of determining harvest time involves identifying the THC level of marijuana at its peak.
Since trichomes cannot be observed using the naked eye, you will need a magnifying glass or any other tools that enhance microscopic objects. If trichomes appear to be completely clear, this means your plant is not ready for harvest.
As seen above, these buds are ready for harvest. At this point, the trichomes are loaded with the highest THC level possible. The whiteness of the hair is not visible but will cover about 50-70% of it. The effects of marijuana at this stage will provide a nice euphoria and it can be used for therapeutic remedies.
If you wait longer to harvest, you will see that 70-90% of the trichomes have turned amber-hued. At this point, the THC level of marijuana is slightly reduced, but the CBN level is favorable. The potency of marijuana has reached its peak but with more effective therapeutic capacity, especially for anxiety and insomnia.
The pictures of buds in various stages of growth are only for reference and guidelines. The true determinants of harvesting time will solely rely on yourself and your preference for taste, aroma, and potency.
It is common for beginner growers to harvest marijuana plants earlier than they should be, which leads to less potent and aromatic buds. When in doubt, use all the methods suggested in this article and the pictures to determine when to harvest your marijuana buds. The more experience you gain as a grower, the more you develop a personal preference for harvesting time.