First i want to said i am just copy and pasteing this from another forum...
This subject is bound to raise a lot of disagreement. Please relate experience and photos.
Lets start by defining "defoliation" in the context of this technique. The term has negative connotations as Cannabis has been the target of defoliation by the Feds using Paraquat chemical defoliants. This is not what this is about.
This technique is about leaf removal by hand. It is employed to relieve shading in crowded conditions. It is a substitute to the popular technique of removing lower branches.
Defoliation encourages branching in vegging plants in the same way as nipping the leader. The benefit of this technique is that the leader is retained to continue to create branches. It also shortens nodal length creating a more compact specimen.
This is how the following plants are capable of yielding as much as 12 oz. in an allotted space measuring 32" cubed.
Leaves are removed starting in veg stage when they are about 6" tall with a couple of sets of fans. Leaves are removed again every 2-3 weeks or whenever things get a little shady.
3 decades of experience with this technique reveal that bud growth benefits more from light exposure than whether the corresponding fan leaf is present.
The idea with this method is to not remove any bud sites like in the aforementioned technique of lower branch removal. Bud sites produce bud. Do not remove. This method allows light to penetrate to all bud sites, not just the top buds.
This technique should not be done on plants that have not been prepared by defoliation from the beginning.
Observers will be shocked at the nakedness of a fully plucked skeleton of a barely flowering shrub. They will be even more shocked at the results after a few weeks. These results will debunk any insistence that big shading leaves are necessary for good bud production. Besides are we producing buds or leaf.