The basics of plant care
by Greg Green
Cannabis plants will grow like most other plants and will eventually fill out into a Christmas tree shape toward the end of their flowering cycle.
From its vegetative cycle to its flowering cycle the cannabis plant develops in three most noticeable sections. The top cola, the mid-section and the base. The top cola will develop a large amount of bud and generally is a very flower-full part of the plant. The mid-section contains bud and stems along with old and new leaves. This section will fill with buds that grow in between the nodes near the stem. Although these buds will generally be smaller in size to the main cola they should be just as potent. The bottom section of your plant will contain the large fan leaves and a small amount of bud. Also towards the bottom of the plant you will see some dead leaves that are about to fall away and may look yellow.
Once a grower knows about the plant’s different sections they can treat each section to get the most out of their plant. The bottom fan leaves are generally not smoked and are used only to gather light for your plant. If your plant is growing under an artificial light source and you do not think that these fan leaves are receiving much light then you may think about cutting them away. This is NOT a good idea. Fan leaves produce sugar that is used in bud production. If you cut away the fan leaves you may cause your bud growth to stunt causing you to finish up with a smaller harvest. Leave fan leaves alone where and when you can.
The only times when you should remove a fan leave is when it is either dying, badly burnt or covering a large bud mass. In a SOG or a ScrOG set-up you may want to remove a fan leaf or two because it is covering the bud mass of another plant. Light is the probably the most important factor in bud development and if the fan leaf is preventing light from reaching the bud, then you may want to remove it.
You should remove any dead leaves from the bottom of your plant and throw them away. Never leave the dead leaves on your soil as a fertilizer. These dead leaves tend to attract unwanted pests.