A Schwazze is essentially an extreme defoliation. Where 100% of the fan leaves are removed from the plant during specific times of the flowering cycle.
How can trimming and pruning a cannabis plant possibly increase its yield? It’s kind of Yin and Yang if you think about it. On one hand we take away, and on the other, we receive!
Our favorite comparison is working out at the gym. When you break down your muscles through constant repetition and heavier weight, your muscles grow stronger and larger. By removing fan leaves from the plant, we are creating more space for airflow, light penetration, and most importantly, we are refocusing the plant’s energy where it matters most: flower development.
One word: Yield. We’ve found that we can dramatically increase our total yield with just 2 Schwazzes at key points in the flowering cycle. The industry standard yield without Schwazzing is around 1.5 to 2lbs per 1000 watt bulb. With Schwazzing, we’ve been able to consistently produce 3 pounds per light and are seeing results north of 4 pounds per light as we continue to optimize the process.
This leads to savings on all fronts, you can generate the same amount of cannabis from a smaller area, meaning you need less space to grow. Energy is saved as you’ll produce so much more per square foot.
If you’re looking for a corporate board room description: Schwazzing allows the plants’ resources to be more effectively allocated. Think of it this way, every single leaf and bud on the plant is pulling nutrients from the soil, using more water, and requiring more light. With a good Schwazze, you reallocate these resources to provide them where we want them most, in the buds.
Schwazzing works for multiple reasons. The more you think about why this is helping, the more it makes sense. It seems counter-intuitive and destructive at first, but it’s a process that naturally trains the plant to produce more.
A Schwazze will provide the optimum light penetration through the canopy. This increases airflow and light to the lower nodes on the plant. You are essentially eliminating all shade spots. Allowing the energy to focus on the tips instead, where it needs to be focused for more flowering.
The increased airflow provides the plant with a much stronger O2 and CO2 exchange. Basically, it lets it breathe!
In addition, Schwazzing eliminates homes for pests and mildew that can ruin your plants.
Although the idea is similar, defoliation is almost never taken to this extreme of a level. Defoliation is a process that has been used for centuries for many different plants and helps to achieve higher crop yields, it’s even used to produce cotton.
Schwazzing began in a home grow setup and can be used very effectively on a small scale. Schwazzing has also been scaled up to accommodate larger commercial grows as well.
The only tools you will need are a sharp pair of scissors and patience.
Before we go too deep here, let’s get a little disclaimer in. Schwazzing is a method that can either help you deliver your highest yield ever, or cause plant lock and hermaphroditic plants. Please proceed with caution! We offer consultation if you have any questions, check the links at the bottom of this article.
You probably have the basic idea now, trim away the fan leaves. Be advised timing, approach, quantity, and nutrients all play a huge part in this equation. If these exercises aren’t executed properly you can ruin your crop.
You can use this method if you have a hydroponic setup.
Choosing the right plant will help you avoid herming issues after Schwazzing. More stable genetics will be more tolerant of the stresses that we are presenting to the plants. While you are choosing phenotypes that work well for your grow. You can note which strains / phenotypes respond well to plant work projects such as Schwazzing and aggressive feedings, then clone from those plants.
We recommend that you perform the Schwazze twice during the plant's flowering cycle. The days we recommend are Day 1 and Day 20. These specific times are chosen based on root development and timing of the flowering cycle.
After day 20, a Schwazze will cause more harm than good as the plant has already refocused all of its energy from rooting and growing taller, to flowering and stacking weight. The plants at this point are ready to be netted or caged.
Your plants won’t necessarily require more nutrients when Schwazzing. It’s quantity vs. quality. Quality wins every time.
Your plants need specific nutrients delivered at the correct times and in the correct amounts. We developed our own line, Success Nutrients, that encompasses a proper blend of all the Macro and Micronutrients that your plants need to thrive and achieve the highest yields possible, especially when Schwazzing.
Macronutrients are those used in larger quantities such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Micronutrients are used in smaller quantities but are just as important to proper plant functions, especially when growing cannabis.
For more information about Success Nutrients, you can visit our website here.
While vegging we recommend an 18/6 photoperiod. The light cycle should switch to 12/12 as soon as the plants are loaded into the flower room. The same day the plants are loaded into the flower room, the Day 1 Schwazze occurs, and that night will be the first 12-hour night cycle.
Schwazzing is most effectively completed with 2-3 people per plant. Sharp, clean scissors are required to Schwazze. It is very important to finish Schwazzing your whole room the same day you want to keep the entire room on the same watering schedule.
The goal is to remove large fan leaves. By removing the fan leaves, light penetration and CO2 exchange increase while homes for mildews and pests are reduced.
Extra care needs to be taken not to damage the plant or bud sites, especially during the Day 20 Schwazze. Try developing a pattern to your Schwazze by starting at the base of the plant, choosing a stem, and work your way from the bottom to the top removing fan leaves along the way.
Schwazzing a plant is complete once you place your hand above the soil and light is reaching your hand.
As we continue to work on this process and experiment, we are finding new methods that drive even higher yields. We are passionate about growing and helping the community to master this process and would love to hear from you below about your results!
We’d be happy to talk with you more about the process and send you more information. There's also a chance we have the answer you're looking for on our frequently asked questions page here.
You can reach our Three A Light Cultivation Team for questions or more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
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