The Secret to Perfect Dry Trimming

The #1 Secret to Using a Dry Trimmer for a Perfect Trim

If you want to grow cup-winning cannabis at a commercial scale, there’s probably a dry trimmer in your future. Dry trimming preserves the terpenes and cannabinoids of smokable flower and often yields a better-looking — and better-tasting — final product.

Yet an automated dry trimmer is fundamentally different from a wet trimmer. Operating a dry trimmer can be a little tricky if you’ve only used wet trimmers in the past. Fortunately, dry trimming becomes easy when you know one simple secret (hint: it’s moisture content).

If you just bought a dry trimmer, keep reading. And if you’re struggling to get the results you want with your current dry trimmer, you’ll definitely want to know… 

The Secret to a Perfect Dry Trim

Dry trimmers should trim dry cannabis or hemp flower. When the input material has the right moisture content — around 9-10% —  you’ll get well-manicured buds without the need for lots of cleaning or maintenance. But trouble starts when operators misunderstand what “dry” really means.

The old ways of assessing dryness might lead you astray if you’re not careful. That’s why you should use an inexpensive moisture meter. The moisture meter can tell you much more than a broken stem.

If it’s too wet to crumble and smoke, it’s too wet for a dry trimmer.

A lot of the time, hemp flower and smokable cannabis flowers will remain moist in the center while appearing dry on the outside — even if the broken-stem technique tells you they’re ready to trim and cure. A quick check with a moisture meter solves the problem — and it also prevents molding. And if it read 9-10%, you’re good to go.

Troubleshooting a Dry Trimmer

Dry trimmers run into trouble when loaded with wet or not-dry-enough material. Your machine will struggle to give a close trim. And it’ll need cleaning much sooner than you’d expect because the sticky wet material will buildup on the cutting surface.

The answer to a malfunctioning dry trimmer lies in your drying room (and/or the amount of time your product dried before trim day). To reach the 9-10% level, your harvest needs to dry for two weeks at the right temperature and humidity conditions. Shoot for 40% humidity at 60℉ for best results. But if it’s too hot to maintain 60℉, raise the humidity to slow the drying process. Levels as high as 60% are acceptable if the temperature climbs into the 70s.

Slower is always better when drying your cannabis and hemp flower. If you can stretch your drying time to three weeks, that’s better than two. Look for a 1% moisture drop per day, and use your moisture meter to check. But expect more moisture loss in the first two days after your harvest — about 2-3% per day.

How to Start Dry Trimming Cannabis and Hemp Flower

If you’re new to dry trimmers, expect a learning curve. Your first run won’t be your best, but if you follow these suggestions, you’ll be churning out prize-quality product within a few runs.

Start with a Small Batch

A large harvest isn’t the time to implement new technology at full scale. This method of trialing a new technology is the same everywhere — whether you’re rolling out LED lights or a new irrigation system. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, and start with small tasks for your dry trimmer.

Don’t Start with Top-Quality Flowers

Also, don’t begin your learning curve with your best material. Material that’s headed to extraction makes a better guinea pig than your top flowers. Start with the less desirable parts of your harvest and work your way up — literally — to the better flowers. Try trimming your lower and mid buds first.

Pay Special Attention

Triminator Dry machines are designed to run autonomously. Your operator won’t need a lot of involvement and can generally turn their attention to other tasks while the machine runs. But, at first, you’ll want to attend to your machine to make sure you’re getting good results and have the right run time dialed in.

Time is the key variable for Triminator batch dry trimmers, and it varies from strain to strain. Every strain has a slightly different flower structure. So start with a shorter run time (about three minutes) and work your way up to the ideal trim. Most runs will take between three and seven minutes.

Dry Means Dry

Once again — and we really can’t say this enough — dry your crop properly before beginning the trimming process. Get a moisture meter and shoot for 9-10% levels.

Why You Should Dry Trim

In one sense, dry trimming hemp flower and smokable cannabis flower isn’t very different from wet trimming. Both processes remove the fan leaves and most of the sugar leaves — hopefully without affecting the calyxes and oil-rich trichomes.

But many growers consider dry trimming superior because it preserves secondary metabolites (cannabinoids, terpenes). That’s because the buds dry more slowly, while still attached to the plant. With wet trimming, the buds are separated from the plant immediately and dry more quickly.

The Dry Trim Process

  • Take down the plants.
  • Hang the plants upside-down to dry.
  • Monitor the drying over a 10- to 21-day period until the moisture content is 10%.
  • Buck the buds from the stalks.
  • Trim the buds using a trimmer or by hand.

The Wet Trim Process

  • Take down the plants.
  • Buck the buds from the stalk immediately.
  • Trim the buds using a trimmer or by hand (immediately).
  • Spread the loose buds on a drying screen for 10 to 21 days.

Wet trimming is great for high-volume speed. And for some growers, it’s the only way to go. Yet trimming wet can cause two issues in the final product: the buds may develop flat spots from lying on the drying rack, and the terpene/cannabinoid content may be slightly lower.

The Triminator Difference

The Triminator Difference

You’ll find plenty of machines on the market that claim to trim wet and dry, but it’s just about impossible to do both well. That’s why we design our machines specifically for dry or wet trimming. 

The Triminator Dry trimmer is specially designed to reduce friction and preserve trichomes. The trimmer’s polymer shear band reduces the heat caused by metal-on-metal friction and gives the closest, cleanest cut possible.

And, if you’re trimming wet, we have a custom-tailored machine for that too. The Triminator Wet is designed for high throughput on harvest day and easy, continuous operation.

Is dry or wet trimming right for you?

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