Growing cannabis: How to determine the right time to harvest cannabis plants?
The goal of a truly beneficial cannabis growing process heavily depends on the ability of the grower to achieve a good yield at the time of harvest. A good number of factors such as the amount of light, watering of the plant, grow medium, climatic conditions, temperature, pressure, wind, and cultivation techniques play a huge role in determining the quality of yield at the end of the growing process. One other crucial factor that must also be considered carefully if the aim is to get a sustainable yield from the growing process is the right time to harvest the plants.
The harvest stage
The harvest stage is a very special time in the cultivation process. It is very important and necessary that it is done at the right time. When cannabis plants are harvested at a time earlier than when they should be harvested, they give off low quality yield. The potency of the plant is affected because the plant has not been allowed adequate time to develop the concentration of cannabinoids to an optimal level. It is also not beneficial when cannabis plants are harvested too late because the added time degrades the level of THC and some of the other cannabinoids embedded in the plant matrix. So, to get the best the timing has to be perfect.
Time to harvest
When it comes to the question of the right time to harvest cannabis plants, different experienced cannabis growers have been known to apply regulated time intervals depending on the type of cannabis strain to show when they should be harvested. Indica cannabis strains are said to be fit for harvesting 8 weeks after the onset of the flowering stage while sativa cannabis strains are said to be fit for harvest 10 weeks after the flowering stage. Auto-flowering strains are also given the same 10 weeks period after seedling to become fit for harvest.
The method of using these stipulated time periods is largely based on estimation and is not precise enough because different factors can affect cannabis plants and in turn change the time that the plant is ready for harvest. If the precision of the time of harvest is to be reached, the cannabis grower must be well versed with the physical characteristics of the cannabis plant as these are the surest indicators to point the right time for harvest. Once the cannabis grower knows the cannabis plant very well and can identify the defining characteristics of the plants, he/she knows what to look out for. So once the signs starts to show you know the plant is ready for harvest.
Things to look out for
There are different characteristics that show that a cannabis plant is ready to be harvested. They include
Development of Yellow Fan leaves: Cannabis plants have large fan leaves that are used to facilitate the trapping of energy from the sun to energize and move the photosynthetic activities of the plant. These fan leaves are easy to identify in the cannabis plant as they are large and clearly seen as green leaves during the development of the plant. When the cannabis plant begins to develop with a yellow color after the flowering phase, it is a noteworthy sign that the plant is ready for harvest. However, it is worthy of note that the presence of yellow leaves during the vegetative phase is an indicator that the plant is suffering from nutritional deficiencies and too many fan leaves take away necessary resources from the cannabis plant and affect its ability to produce adequate potent buds.
Darkening of Pistils: This I one of the reasons why it is important for the grower to know the plants very well because the pistil is a hair-like structure protruding from calyxes. They begin as white wispy structures at the beginning of the flowering stage and are very visible to the eye characterizing the female cannabis plant. On the darkening of the pistil to either red, brown, or orange, the cannabis plant has accumulated enough amounts of cannabinoids and is said to be ready for harvest.
The appearance of milky trichomes: Trichomes are small glands that are found between flowers and their form and structure play a very big role in determining whether the plant is ready for harvest. These structures are too small to be seen by the naked eye hence a small magnifying tool is needed to enable the cannabis grower to see them properly because it is not only their presence that is indicative of the readiness of the plant for harvest but their structure as well signifying the potency of the cannabinoids accumulated. A cloudy and milky appearance of the trichomes is indicative of the fact that the plant has a very good level of THC embedded in the plant matrix signifying that it is the right time for harvest.