Pruning down below

Dear Ed,
My 3-month old plant is producing fat buds under a 400 watt HPS lamp. However, the top half is the only part that will produce anything worthwhile. The bottom half consists of slow growth, small leaves and even smaller flowers. Can I trim off those lower branches to promote upper bud growth, or will it have no effect?

San Diego, CA

The lower leaves and buds receive little energy because most of the light is absorbed by the canopy above. Both leaves and buds can be removed. This opens ups the bottom of the plant to air circulation, which helps prevent mold, as well as focusing the plant’s energy on the top growth.

If you remove the lower branches but don’t cut the large fan leaves, you will still open the lower portions to air circulation and stop unwanted growth. The remaining large fan leaves will still absorb the light they receive. Because there is no growing tip near it, any excess sugars it produces will be transported to the growing tips.

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