While some stress can be beneficial for boosting trichomes, too much will bring your plants past the point of no return. For the best yields, it’s crucial that you know how to identify when it’s time to harvest by the colour of the trichomes. This is something you should start doing in the last couple weeks of the flowering stage. Since trichomes cannot be seen by the naked eye, they must be looked at with a magnifying glass or jewelers loupe.
If the trichomes are still translucent, they are not ready. At this point, they’re still producing cannabinoids, something you don’t want to interrupt. Buds will grow exponentially in the last 2 weeks, so be patient. When trichomes start turning milky white, it’s an indication they’re close. The buds still won’t be ready, but this is the time to be most attentive. Around half of the pistils should’ve darkened to an amber-brown colour by now. The trichomes will transition from a milky white to a cloudy white tonality. Harvesting during this stage will give the most psychedelic/mental effects, but it will yield less hash than if you wait. When trichomes finally start to turn amber, there’s no more time to waste. Harvesting during this stage will create more of a body high associated with indica strains.
There is a short, yet manageable window to achieve a good mental and physical high combination. When the trichomes still display a cloudy white colour, but are already turning slightly amber, harvesting will result in a nice mix of effects. A good time to chop is when ¼ of the trichomes have turned amber, while the others remain cloudy. Humidity and temperature can also alter the trichome yield of a cannabis plant. With the right combination of these, you can simulate a more stressful environment where the plant believes it should increase trichome production. In the last 2-3 weeks of flowering (around the same time you should increase UV-B exposure), toggling humidity and temperature will be key. Try decreasing the relative humidity (RH) levels to around 30%. Some very resinous plants grow in the Middle East where the weather is quite dry and arid. Although, this being the case, your temperature should not surpass 26°C (80°F). Having higher temperatures won’t affect your trichome yield, but it will ruin their potency. To verify that temperatures are correct, give your buds a good smell. If you encounter a very pungent aroma, it might be an indication the temperature is too high. This will gradually degrade your trichomes, so be careful. Routine checks are necessary for growers of all experience levels. Always monitor your plants for any nutrient deficiencies. Nutrient uptake will seriously contribute to your frosty buds and the overall health of the plant. Even factors like airflow and proper watering practices are essential concerns for proper trichome development. You’ll have to put in the work if you want a healthy, resinous, and potent plant. It’s not going to be easy, but hopefully this is something you truly love and take pride in doing. Be sure to show your care when harvest season comes along. Take all of the above into consideration when you plant your next seed. Just remember, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Good luck with your next crop! When growers say they want to make cannabis buds “sparkle” with trichomes, what are they talking about? The answer is: that ‘frosty’ quality that makes bud look like it might be too potent. As cannabis plants mature in the flowering stage, their buds become covered with what looks almost like a dusting of glitter or frost, which can improve their overall appearance.
When you look really closely at cannabis buds, you can see what looks like thousands of tiny translucent mushrooms. In nature, these glandular stalked trichomes are believed to be used by the plant to repel insects, protect the buds from UV damage and produce essential oils that have various effects. The “glitter” that grows on buds is called trichomes and they contain THC and other cannabinoids. They give cannabis its unique mental and body effects. Trichomes that are long and thin without a “head” are actually cystolithic hairs and do not contain significant levels of cannabinoids. Many other types of plants besides cannabis produce trichomes, including many aromatic herbs like mint and rosemary.
These plants produce essential oils in their trichomes which are used to deter insects and protect the plants from other stressors, just like cannabis plants!