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Dry Trimming vs. Wet Trimming: What’s Better?

Added 19 February 2022

trimming cannabids buds

When you grow cannabis, harvesting the buds isn’t the last stage though it seems like it. 

There’s more to it than just collecting the buds.

The final step is trimming and curing your buds, which is more important than anything else. 

How you dry, trim, and cure the buds will determine the quality. 

However, bud trimming is often confusing for novice cannabis growers. For example, do you trim off the leaves when the buds are wet? Or do you wait for them to dry?

If you are confused about trimming your cannabis harvest, read further to know all about it.

Trimming Process: Explained

cutting cannabis buds

It has taken your cannabis months to mature and bloom, and now it’s time to reap the rewards. This is the trimming stage, where you have to dry and cure your harvested yield.

During this process, you essentially remove all the unnecessary parts of the buds, like fan and sugar leaves, preparing them for storage and eventual use.

The fan leaves are cut during trimming because they have negligible THC content, making them essentially useless for the buds. Plus, they tend to hamper the smoking experience. 

On the other hand, sugar leaves are rich in trichomes and THC. But unfortunately, they make the smoking experience much harsher. So, they are also removed, but you can save them later to prepare hash, edibles, and cannabis oils.

This process takes a lot of time, patience, and effort, but it is crucial as it enables your buds to give a euphoric high and better smoking experience. In addition, trimming prepares your buds for use in various ways, such as the following:

  • It helps maintain the quality of the buds as you remove the unnecessary leaves with low THC content, making them more potent.
  • Trimming enhances buds’ smoothness as raw leaves tend to be harsh to smoke.
  • The process also helps make your buds look neat and clean, ideal if aesthetics matter to you or you want to sell them. 

The Most Important Question: Wet or Dry Trimming

Drying cannabis

Trimming is essential, but many novice growers have one question — which is better: dry trimming or wet trimming?

The answer isn’t so simple. For some growers, wet trimming works better than dry trimming, and for others, the case is vice versa. You must choose the one that suits you better based on your expectations, preferences, and location. Read further to know more.

About Wet Trimming

trimmed bud

Wet trimming is the process of trimming the branches immediately after you harvest the cannabis plant. Then, you cut off the surplus leaves when the buds are still moist and wet.

Pros of Wet Trimming

Growers choose wet trimming for various reasons, such as the following:

Easier Trimming Process

When the buds are wet, the fan and sugar leaves tend to stick out, making them easier to cut by hand or trimming scissors. 

Faster Drying Time

Due to dry trimming, the buds don’t have leaves that may retain moisture. So, they tend to dry out faster and have lower chances of mold development. This makes wet trimming an ideal choice for those living in humid regions.

Leaves a Lot of Space

Since the buds don’t have unnecessary leaves, you don’t need a lot of room to dry and cure them. Therefore, this is an ideal choice if you are low on space as it allows you to cure more buds in less space.

Cons of Wet Trimming

There are a few downsides to wet trimming, too, such as the following:

Less Bud Protection

Wet trimming removes the fan and sugar leaves that would otherwise protect the buds during the curing process. 

Premature Drying 

The fan and sugar leaves retain moisture, so if you live in a dry region, your buds may dry up prematurely, affecting the quality and potency. 

Too Much Work 

Wet trimming means you will have to trim the buds right after harvesting, which can be hectic for some people. In addition, it may take a lot of energy on your end.

Messy Process

When the buds are freshly harvested, the trichomes tend to be sticky. So, wet trimming the buds can be messy because the cut parts stick everywhere.

About Dry Trimming

dry trimming

Dry trimming is when you leave the branches to dry out entirely after harvesting. Once they are dry, you move on to cut the fan and sugar leaves. 

The drying process can be slower as the leaves retain moisture. Typically, buds take a couple of weeks to dry with this method. However, the same moisture-retaining capability ensures the terpenes stay moist for longer, making dry trimming ideal for arid, dry climates. 

The reward of dry trimming is better tasting buds, but the process is tedious if you do it with your hands. Therefore, we recommend using trimming machines if you have too many buds to handle. 

Pros of Dry Trimming

Many growers around the world choose dry trimming over wet trimming for the following reasons:

Ideal for Dry Conditions

As mentioned above, dry trimming ensures gradual drying of the buds. So, if you live in an arid region, you should choose dry trimming, so the buds don’t dry out prematurely.

Less Stressful Process

If you can’t dedicate time to your cannabis, you can choose dry trimming. Here, you get to enjoy a lot of time between harvesting and curing, unlike wet trimming, where you trim the buds right after harvest.

A Lot Cleaner

Since the trichomes dry out before you trim the buds, you don’t have to worry about cut leaves sticking everywhere. The process is a lot cleaner.

Better Flavour

Too much chlorophyll can make your buds harsher to smoke. So, the more you let the buds dry, the less chlorophyll it will contain. This enhances the buds’ flavor.

Cons of Dry Trimming

Like wet trimming, dry trimming also has a few downsides, which may make it unsuitable for you. The disadvantages of dry trimming include the following:

Takes a Lot of Space

Here, the buds still contain fan and sugar leaves, so they are bigger. Drying bigger buds can be an issue if you don’t have a lot of room for it.

Buds are Prone to Breakage

Dry trimming dries out the buds and leaves. So, if you handle them for trimming, the buds can become brittle and break apart. So, you must be gentle with dry trimming.

More Difficult to Trim

Dry trimming is comparatively more difficult as you have to be more meticulous when trimming the buds. In addition, once the buds are dried, the leaves tend to curl inwards, and you must carefully separate them from the buds and cut them.

Prone to Mold

The uncut leaves retain moisture, so the buds dry out slower. This slow dry-out time can make the buds more prone to mold growth and dampness, especially in humid climates.

Wet Trimming vs. Dry Trimming: Which is Better?

Wet trimming

We have discussed both wet and dry trimming in detail. Now it’s up to you to decide which suits you better. But it would help if you kept a couple of things in mind when making a choice.

Wet trimming is easier. So, if you are a new grower, we recommend using wet trimming. On the other hand, if you don’t want your grow room to be messy, choose dry trimming — it is the less messy of the two options.

You must choose your preferred method depending on where you live. For example, wet trimming reduces the chances of mold growth, so it is ideal for humid regions; on the other hand, wet trimming is perfect for arid conditions as it ensures a gradual dry-out process for the buds.

Lastly, the choice between wet and dry trimming is entirely up to you. It depends on your climate and skill levels. Remember, the purpose of both methods is to prepare your buds for curing and make them more presentable and flavourful. Choose the one that suits you best. 

Some Tips for Better Trimming

wet trimming cannabis

Whether you choose wet or dry trimming, some things remain the same. You want to get the best-looking, flavourful, potent buds. For that, be sure to follow the below tips:

  • Be comfortable. The trimming process can be tedious and tiring, so choose a chair and table setup that is comfortable for you.
  • Use latex gloves to keep your buds from contamination. Also, gloves help make wet trimming less messy as you can wipe off the stuck leaves from the gloves.
  • Always use a sharp pair of trimming scissors to ensure a high finish on your buds. While this may not hamper the flavor, it can make your buds look unfinished and messy.
  • Use two trays — one for the cut leaves and the other for the trimmed buds — this would also ensure your buds remain uncontaminated and clean from debris.
  • Trim your buds in a well-lit room so you can easily spot the sugar leaves. You don’t want to cut the buds, do you?
  • Many growers find listening to music helpful when trimming. It is time-consuming and monotonous, so listening to music, podcast, or audiobook can keep you engaged during that time.

Summary: Dry Trimming vs. Wet Trimming: What’s Better?

For new growers, the choice between dry and wet trimming can be confusing. This is because there’s just so much information available on the internet. But the choice becomes easier once you understand the logic behind both and which is better for you. 

If you don't mind the labor and want the best-looking buds, dry trimming is best for you

If you want to enjoy your buds to the fullest, choose the one that suits you and do it right.