Hello.. Love your magazine.. I was wondering if you could answer a few questions for me First. Do you suggest stripping off most of the leaves on the plants after a few weeks into bloom so that the flowers get the maximum light? People have varied opinions.. And should leaves with a reddish purple stem by trimmed off? Finally, do you recommend using Dr. Willards on a daily basis on the leafs? Thank you in advance and keep up the good work. Vic
Thanks for the compliments. A few factors will determine how and if any leaves and stems should be removed.
Firstly, the height of the plant and the amount of available light are a major consideration. For taller plants, greater than 3′ with about 50-65watts per square foot (for example, a 1000W H.I.D. lamp over a 4′ X 4′ area) about the bottom 1/3 of the plant can be pruned. If plants are widely spaced, with lots of room between them, you may not want to do this at all. The lower leaves have stored energy which the plant will transfer to the final bloom near harvest. However, if these leaves are receiving little light they will dwindle and die prematurely, at the expense of better air circulation through the plant canopy (if not removed) and stealing valuable nutrients and energy from the more active points in the plant canopy. If growing short day plants (requiring 12 hrs of darkness to flower), these trimmings can be rooted under 24 hrs of light and will revert to the vegetative stage producing a bushier, highly branched plant for your next crop. If growing shorter, single stemmed flowers 1-2.5′ in height with lighting as above, the lower leaves need not be removed because the plant should be receiving near equal light intensity from top to bottom, producing more uniform and consistent results. Make sure that there is good air circulation within the plant canopy with dense plantings. The lower leaves should never remain moist (often a problem in growing with uncovered peat based mediums in tables).
So far as spraying with catalyst altered water (Willard’s) every day, this could become a problem later in flowering. Sunscald can always be a issue, but mainly is that water sits on the dense flowers or dense canopy for long enough for pathogens, such as blights and mildews to enter. Pooled moisture on leaves or flowers for prolonged periods is a gateway for these pathogens (often observed with flowers touching walls).
Experiment with different types of pruning on a couple of your plants to best determine what works for you.