Pruning for bud

I have two plants that are near the end of the vegetative stage. Should I prune them? One friend told me not to cut any leaves as my plants would lose energy and it would stunt their growth. Another told me to cut all the leaves and just let the buds grow. What is the proper amount to prune a plant after the vegetative cycle and which leaves should I prune?
Pasadena, California

The only leaves that need to be removed from the plants are those that are blocking light to the buds. The shade from these leaves thwarts the buds’ growth. Leaves that are not blocking the light contribute to the plant’s growth. They are sugar factories using the energy from the light to turn CO2 and water into sugars. The plant uses sugar to fuel its metabolism and for tissue building. With more leaves the plants produce more sugar and have more material to use for tissue building.

Leaves beneath the canopy that are shaded and get little light contribute little energy to the plant. They can be removed to increase air circulation and prevent stagnant air. This helps protect against molds.

If the plant has grown many small shoots in addition to its main branches, these can be trimmed off the plant to allow more light to reach the large buds. If they are not trimmed off they will use energy growing grade B buds instead of concentrating energy for producing the large grade A buds.

Readers with grow questions (or answers) should send them to Ed at: Ask Ed, PMB 147, 530 Divisadero St., San Francisco, California 94117, USA. You can also email Ed at [email protected], and send queries via his websites at All featured questions will be rewarded with a copy of Ed’s new book, Best of Ask Ed: Your Marijuana Questions Answered. Sorry, Ed cannot send personal replies to your questions.