Yes you should – but with the correct technique. A proper thinning will remove 20-40% of the mid to upper foliage every 5-7 days. Removing these fan leaves opens up light and produces better air exchange to the lower canopy. Healthy leaves at the bottom of the canopy should be kept to trap valuable light from being lost and wasted.
The more quality light a flowering site receives, the larger it will grow and the faster it will mature. Careful thinning should start in mid to late veg and continue all the way into late flowering. Any time you thin or prune a plant, growth will temporarily slow and nutrients can be left behind in the substrate. Keep a close eye on the runoff after a thinning has been done and reduce the EC of the next feeding if root zone needs it.
Tips for removing fan leaves:
- When learning new techniques or working with new genetics, it’s always a good idea to start small and be conservative. Pluck a few leaves, wait for recovery and then pluck a few more. The heavier you prune in a single session, the more stress that plant will undergo. Some genetics can take a lot of stress without too many negative consequences. Other genetics can be quite sensitive, causing stunting or self- pollination.
- By removing leaves more regularly, you are touching each plant in the growing environment more often. Use this time to inspect your canopy and leaves for any signs of leaf discoloration, pests or diseases.