Yes, it is okay to trim them. When the branches are trimmed, the plant focuses its energy on the remaining colas. As a result, the colas grow larger and produce a higher yield of grade A material with only a moderate sacrifice of grade B material. The plant quickly recovers from the cuts and remains vigorous. Flowering time remains the same. The higher quality material is much easier to process.
With big budded varieties, figure the canopy can support about four buds per square foot. A plant in a 12-inch diameter container has canopy space for four big buds. A 24-inch square container, four square feet, provides space for 16 buds and a 36-square-inch container, nine square feet, has enough space for 36 buds.
Before forcing flowering, remove all shaded buds and branches and those below the canopy. If these are left uncut, they won’t get enough light energy to grow but they still use nutrients that would go upstairs if they weren’t there. If there are too many branches, choose the strongest branches and remove the weakest.
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