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How To Trim Buds After Harvest: Hand-Trimmed vs Trimmers

How To Trim Buds After Harvest: Hand-Trimmed vs Trimmers

Posted by Tom's Tumbler on Mar 30th 2023

Have you ever wondered “how do bud trimmers work?” Or maybe whether bladeless bud trimmers could make your crop more profitable? Or maybe you’ve just wondered what the differences are between flower trimmed by hand and flower trimmed by a bladeless trimmer.

You might be surprised to learn that most experts agree there is no difference. To understand why, let’s take a look at how buds are trimmed in typical post-harvest environments.

How To Trim Buds After Harvest 

After being delivered from the field, flower is trimmed to aid in curing and marketing. But trim quality can have a big impact on sales. Poorly trimmed bud is less likely to be bought, and if it is, it’s bought for lower prices.

Large hemp flower

So Why Trim?

Trimming removes excess vegetable matter that exists to protect the plant from environmental damage. This material takes the form of sugar leaves and spiky projections. These parts can be removed and used in other products, including infused products.

Removing the spiky leaves, sugar leaves, and unsightly bits increases the aesthetic appeal of the flower. This makes it more appealing to customers. It creates buds with a higher concentration of active compounds and fewer inert ingredients and prepares the flower for sale.

An important quality to look for when you’re learning how to trim buds after harvest is inner beauty. This is one area where professional bud trimmers rule. Identifying exceptional flowers and manicuring them for marketing purposes like photography requires experience and artistic skill.

How Do Bud Trimmers Work?

There are two ways to trim cannabis flower: manually and with a machine. One important thing to remember about machines is that they do about 80% of the work. Some crow’s feet, for example, may remain. Their increased processing speed more than makes up for this limitation.

How To Manually Trim Buds After Harvest

Professional trimmers give buds what is essentially a flattering haircut. The usual technique is to hold the bud by the main stem with one hand and slowly rotate it while clipping with the other hand. Speed and accuracy come with experience.

Many professional trimmers use electric clippers and similar devices.

Because it is the slowest and most labor-intensive way to trim flower, hand trimming is not suitable for industrial-scale post-harvest processing.

Green buds on a distressed wooden tablet

How A Bladed Trimmer Trims Buds

Bladed machines are a common method of how to trim buds after harvest. They utilize a small diameter metal tumble chamber with a very loud dust collector pulling the sugar leaves and parts of flower (including trichomes and crystals) through the metal mesh as the flowers tumble and travel down the cylinder. Spinning rotary blades on the outside cut anything that gets sucked past the mesh, which gives the flower a rounded machined bald look with minimal trichomes left. No one wants that!

How Do Bladeless Bud Trimmers Work?

Mesh tumbler trimmers operate by tumbling buds against a mesh surface and into each other. This motion gently rubs the excess biomatter off of the underlying flower while preserving surface crystal content and collecting pollen at the same time.

Mesh bladeless tumblers can process hundreds of pounds of flower a day.

For the most efficient operation, flower should be dried to the right moisture content. Research done on how to trim buds after harvest with bladeless tumbler trimmers shows that the perfect moisture content is around 10-12%. This way, the sugar leaves are flaky and simply break off with minimal loss of trichomes or crystals.

Trimmed flower ready for sale

How Do Bud Trimmers Work With Different Strains?

Flower grown in different conditions may have different structures, and the colas may have different shapes.

Different strains present little problem to manual trimmers. They merely adjust their process.

Learning how to trim buds after special harvests with a bladed trimmer is usually a matter of adjusting the grid or cutting surface. It can be a trial-and-error process.

The bladeless tumbler trimming process depends on moisture content, so an adjustment to the drying room should be all that is required.

Post-Harvest Processing Solutions

When searching for a solution to the problem of how to trim buds after big harvests, turn to Tom’s Tumblers. We have a proven record of supplying quality post-harvest industrial-scale processing equipment in the hemp industry. See what other industrial-strength solutions we have for your processing needs, and how we can improve your bottom line. Contact us for a demonstration today.