Removing leaves throughout a plant’s life is the best way to encourage even growth and allow light to penetrate deeper into your plants. The more light you can shine on the lower branches, the fuller and bushier your plants will be. It’s often suggested that larger leaves are removed as harvest nears to allow for even ripening and light to reach the lower branches. But…why only remove leaves at the end stages of life?

Avoiding intentional stress is always recommended, but sometimes we shine our best during stressful conditions. Our plants are no different. Slight stress can be caused simply by moving air and the removal of leaves occurs naturally in the wild. As we transition ourselves into the indoor world of growing, control is the number one goal. We can control all aspects of our environment: temperature, humidity and lighting cycles, just to name a few. But with all this control, we need to also recognize that deviating too far from our roots can lead to weaker plants. Mimicking natural stressors is a great way to harness some of the benefits of the outdoors while remaining indoors.

When taking cuttings, it is important to limit the amount of transpiration that is occurring so your cuttings can slow down their metabolism and dedicate themselves to propagating roots. Reducing the amount of leaves is also a great way to limit transpiration. Remove any large leaves by cutting them close to the main stem and half all other leaves that are left.

This “de-leafing” will allow for better air flow, less transpiration and will reduce pest and mold infestations. Keeping foliage on freshly cut clones means that they have to support all that plant life. On top of that, they are photosynthesizing more and depleting all their nutrient reserves stored in the leaves. Have you ever experienced yellowing during your cloning cycle? The yellowing of leaves is an excellent indicator that your cuttings are running low on nitrogen and the rooting process is underway. But, if they are supporting a bunch of unneeded foliage, that yellowing can become a false indicator of rooting and only a sign that your cuttings are trying to grow foliage, instead of propagating roots. This is also why less light is better during propagation. More light equals more rapid photosynthesis and less concentration on root production.

In addition, if you remove the larger leaves you will be allowing even more light dispersement and better penetration making your low wattage bulbs go that much further.

Give it a try on your next EZ-CLONE cloning cycle. Remove all larger leaves and half all other leaves and see what happens. If you’re still skeptical, then do a simple 50/50 test. Remove the leaves on 50 percent of your cuttings and leave the others au naturel. Feel free to share your experiences below! Get Rooted. Get Growing!

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