If you’re trying to maximize your grow op and get the most out of your cannabis crop, you may have heard of the term lollipopping. But what does it mean exactly?

Lollipopping is a pruning (or trimming) technique that requires a keen eye for plant growth. To do it properly, you remove the bottom branches and longer leaves growing near the root (the bottom 20 to 30 percent of the plant, actually) that don’t receive adequate light penetration, and that won’t grow as much as parts with greater light exposure.

The trimmed scraps can then be discarded and destroyed, since they won’t really be of use to you. Be sure to clear them from your grow op and always keep your workspace clean to prevent pests from spreading and mold from growing.

As you trim and cut, keep in mind you should retain a horizontal, canopy-like shape to your plants. All of your buds should be around the same height and evened out all around for optimal growing.

When Should You Be Lollipopping Your Cannabis, If At All?

So, when should you start trimming, exactly? Experts disagree as to the best timing for lollipopping. However, some suggest this process is the most efficient during the final two weeks of the grow phase, weeks following the bloom phase, since some branches and leaves may be unwieldy due to their length.

Other growers believe that intense trimming — also known as schwazzing, which involves stripping your cannabis crop of almost every leaf as soon as bloom phase begins — should be done during the start of the bloom phase. These schwazze advocates also recommend following up with the same process three weeks later.

And some growers don’t suggest lollipopping at all, since it can remove too much from the plant, especially if you’re growing outdoors. It can come down to how small or large your crop is and how much or how little your cannabis has already grown.

However, as a cannabis cultivator, you know what is best for your grow op. Trust your instincts on this, considering all your options and reading up on the process from multiple sources. If it’s your first time trying lollipopping, understand that it could be a matter of trial and error. Have a backup plan if you do end up cutting too much and damaging your plant.

If Not Lollipopping, Then What Are My Cannabis Trimming Options?

It’s also helpful to tap into your cannabis community as a valuable resource and to see how other growers approach the lollipopping technique. What do they think? They might offer some crucial advice and some pointers on what to do and what not to do. Plus, there are tons of other cannabis trimming techniques to try to experiment with. These include:

  • Topping: Cutting off the tip of the cannabis, between the nodes.
  • Fimming: A step beyond topping, fimming is an acronym for “Fuck I Missed” and is a pruning-for-yield method in which you remove a portion of the main stem.
  • Low stress training: A manual method in which you manipulate your plants to grow laterally along a trellis, without pruning or cutting.
  • Super cropping: Also known as high stress training, this method encourages lateral growth and bud production by stressing branches by way of gentle applied pressure.
  • Monster cropping: Works best with sea of green or screen of green growing, this pruning technique aims to create multiple heads on each plant

You may find out that other growers will suggest trying out other techniques first, depending on the size of your grow op.

And whenever you do decide — if you decide — to initiate the lollipopping process, keep in mind that your plants will need some time to recover. Additionally, if you’re growing indoors, ensure your garden or farm has good ventilation and humidity to go around.