It is crucial to know when to harvest autoflower cannabis plants since if you miss the right moment, this will be a huge waste of your efforts as a grower.
The difficulty for determining precisely your autoflowering beauties’ harvesting point comes with the fact that autos differ much than any regular weed varieties, such as Indica, Sativa, and hybrids.
However, it is all a matter of embracing an eye to the detail.
Happily, once you finish this article, you will be all ready to understand when your precious green princesses are good to harvest!
Honestly, I had to learn my lessons with autoflowering cannabis the hard way (yep, that was a bit painful!).
Anyway, I truly believe that to share = to care, so below I am listing the most important steps that will save you some trouble when you are THAT close to finally curing and drying your delicious buds.
#1 –What Differentiates the Autoflowering Weed Harvesting Point from the rest of Marijuana Varieties?
All cannabis plants will develop in a unique way, depending on the strain and growing conditions, such as light, soil, nutrients, etc.
However, each marijuana variety will end up doing one thing that we are all craving for – to nurture and produce those succulent, THC-coated buds.
And talking about THC-coated buds, the tiny sparkling and sticky substance that we are looking for is related to the trichomes production.
The exact shape and change of color in trichomes are barely visible to the naked eye but they become very easy to distinguish with the help of simple magnifying glass.
Moreover, the most precise way to tell that your green goddesses are already ripe is by checking the color of the trichomes.
Meanwhile, it is exactly the trichomes’ development that separates autoflowering marijuana varieties from all the rest in terms of harvesting.
Since autos lack the need of a particular photoperiod (that 12-12 dark-light cycle), their trichomes typically don’t change in color as fast as when it comes to Indica, Sativa, and hybrid strains.
That’s because autoflowering cannabis plants are simply much less photosensitive.
All of this might sound a bit perplexing, bearing in mind that autos grow so much quicker than other weed varieties.
So as a rule of thumbs, remember that in order to know when your autoflowering green beauties are ready to harvest, you will need to take into consideration a few more factors, as compared to checking regular marijuana varieties.
But cheers up because we are listing the complete signs you want to look for when you want to make sure it’s the right time to collect the precious buds!
1 – Monitor the Leaves
As we mentioned above, examining the trichomes of your cannabeauties is definitely not the best way to tell that you have reached the time to cut your green ladies.
But with leaves, you can be much more confident in getting to know when to harvest autoflowering cannabis.
As soon as the harvesting point is just around the corner, the leaves will rapidly start to turn yellow.
Typically, as soon as the bigger fan leaves become yellowish, you can proceed with flushing the soil.
Next, you want to stay on the watch for those larger leaves falling down all by themselves.
That is a natural reaction your plants embrace in order to make sure they put all their care and tenderness into protecting their babies – the buds.
If those large leaves don’t fall, your autos won’t have that much energy to spend on nurturing the buds.
But since growing and protecting those buds is all that your marijuana plants want, they naturally get rid of anything that requires too much energy to be spent in vain.
Of course, your autoflowering plants won’t need to let fan leaves fall off during vegetation and until the last stages of flowering since those leaves are crucial for the process of photosynthesis.
Pro Bonus Tip: Be extra careful with feeding your green beauties with nutrients close to the end of flowering because excessive nitrogen will block the natural yellowing of the leaves!
2 –Ah, Those Trichomes!
Okay, so we already made a deal that you can’t rely solely on the appearance of your autos’ trichomes as to tell with accuracy you are ready to proceed with harvesting.
But still, taking into consideration the color of the leaves in combination with examining the trichomes can take you a long way!
You can use a digital camera, your phone, or better yet – a 60-120m magnifying glass.
For best results, you want to start monitoring the trichomes as soon as your plants enter the flowering stage. This is the best way to become aware of the changes that happen gradually in time!
Otherwise, you can simply look but not be able to tell at all if the trichomes have ripened or not.
At first, trichomes are transparent in color but then they gradually become more creamy/cloudy, until they finally turn amber.
As a rule of thumbs, you want to see about 50% of the trichomes turning amber as to know that you are ready to harvest.
But beware that if you let the amber trichomes become too many, you risk exposing the THC to degradation!
And then again, autos can send off mixed signals when it comes to the trichomes, and even though ½ of those can appear amber in color, you need to check all the buds thoroughly.
With autos, the top buds typically reach maturation a tiny bit earlier than the rest.
The Bottom Line
Above all, remember that knowing when to harvest autoflowering cannabis varieties is simply a matter of careful planning and examination.
As long as you start paying attention to the growth patterns of your green beauties timely, I bet you will rock (and roll) with cutting the ladies in the most suitable moment!
Just take a deep breath and feel your plants. Freaking out only makes things worse.
The breeders’ schedule that your seeds come with can also be useful but above all – use your senses and you will make it, buddies!