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Boost Your Cannabis Cultivation: Unleash the Power of Topping!


Attention, beginner and intermediate cannabis cultivators! If you're seeking ways to enhance your yields and promote the overall health of your plants, it's time to discover the transformative technique of topping.


Topping involves cutting off the upper portions of the main stem of your plants once they have established themselves. While it may initially appear counterintuitive to remove healthy parts of your plants, the numerous benefits of topping are worth exploring, and we will delve into them in this article.


Topping is just one of the many plant training techniques employed by cultivators to optimize the growth and productivity of their marijuana plants. These techniques involve gently stressing healthy plants to stimulate their development. As you embark on your plant training journey, you'll often come across topping in conjunction with other methods such as stress training, supercropping, fimming, defoliation, and more. It's a valuable tool to have in your cultivation arsenal.


The Benefits of Topping Your Plants


When it comes to plant training, the primary goal is to maximize light exposure for your cannabis plants. It may seem like a no-brainer, but understanding the anatomy of cannabis plants sheds light on the importance of topping. Take a closer look, and you'll notice that bud sites on the lower branches and within the canopy receive less light compared to those in the top growth. As a consequence, these underexposed sites may produce flowers that are less dense and of lower quality.


Plant training techniques, including topping, aim to address this light deficiency. By making strategic cuts, the stems below the cut will experience vigorous growth. Once the plant recovers, you'll witness the emergence of at least two "main stems" where there was previously only one. Topping effectively breaks the plant's natural inclination for apical dominance, where it tends to grow a single dominant cola.


By topping your plants, you not only promote more balanced growth but also encourage the development of multiple main stems, effectively distributing light more evenly throughout the plant. This results in enhanced bud development, leading to higher-quality and denser flowers. Get ready to witness your plants thrive under the bountiful embrace of abundant light!

Apical Dominance and Auxins

Apical dominance is the plant's tendency for the main stalk to dominate side shoots, driving upward growth towards essential light for photosynthesis. In cannabis, this results in dominant central colas overshadowing smaller, less dense buds.


Auxins, plant hormones, restrict growth in side branches and lower buds. When the highest growth tip is removed through topping, the suppression is lifted, stimulating unhindered lateral shoot growth below.


By breaking apical dominance, new shoots flourish and reach their full potential. Untopped plants yield smaller, lower-quality buds with limited light exposure, affecting overall quality and yield.


Stay Discreet

For indoor cultivators with limited grow space, topping offers a discreet solution. The natural "Christmas tree shape" of cannabis plants can easily overwhelm small grow rooms. By promoting bushier and branchier growth through topping, cultivators can expand their plants horizontally, maximizing space utilization and achieving comparable or even improved yields. Keep your cultivation discreet and productive with the art of topping.

Importance of Good Practice

Topping promotes bushier plants with increased branching and more bud sites, resulting in improved yields. It's also a good practice to have backup colas in case of damage or issues like bud rot or mold.


By allowing new growth to flourish, topping ensures genetics reach their full potential. Cultivators gain valuable insights into strain performance, aiding decisions on future cultivation.


Anticipating plant needs is crucial. With bushier plants producing multiple heavy colas, precautions like staking or providing a supportive frame are essential to prevent breakage.

Topping benefits cultivators too, as they gain hands-on experience observing and manipulating plants, fostering a keen eye for growth patterns, health, and robust recovery. Develop this valuable practice for a successful season.

When to Top Cannabis Plants – During Veg

During the vegetative stage, often referred to as "veg," cannabis plants prioritize upward growth, harnessing photosynthesis products like sugars and energy for maximum growth before flowering. It is at this stage that topping cannabis plants is most advantageous.


Delaying the topping process squanders the plant's invested energy and resources in vertical growth, which could have been utilized for lateral expansion. This can lead to issues like a weaker or delayed flowering phase. To ensure optimal results, timely topping during the vegetative stage is key.

Counting Nodes

It's natural to feel apprehensive about cutting down a thriving, vegetating plant. To confidently execute the topping process, understanding the concept of nodes is essential.

Nodes are the points on the stem where leaves emerge. In cannabis plants, they form at the junction of the stem and the fan leaf petiole (the stalk connecting the leaf to the stem).


To ensure plant survival, it's vital to allow the development of multiple nodes before topping. Depending on your cultivation schedule, topping can be safely performed above the third node. While some growers opt for the sixth or seventh nodes, going higher may result in uneven growth. Mastering the art of proper node selection is key.

Where to Cut and Plant Recovery

Internodes represent the spaces between nodes on the stem. Once you've identified the appropriate node, it's the internodal space above it where your cut should be made. It is advisable to leave a significant length of internodal "stump" (the remaining part of the main stem) to facilitate the plant's recovery and minimize the risk of infection or breakage. Since topping induces stress on the plant (as it loses its primary growth and photosynthesizing shoot), it requires time to recuperate. Therefore, it's crucial to minimize other stress factors like underwatering or erratic environmental conditions.

Depending on the plant's genetics, recovery can be expected within one to two weeks. Afterward, vigorous growth can be anticipated as lateral branching develops, increasing the plant's light-exposed surface area.

Second and Third Topping

After a period of growth, it may be time to consider topping the plant once again, including the option to top side branches. This practice creates additional bud sites and enhances overall yields. Indoor cultivators with limited light coverage can benefit from this technique to maximize light exposure for their plants. Keeping a record of the days between toppings can be useful for future reference.


When topping multiple plants, it's important to disinfect pruning scissors between each plant to minimize the risk of spreading viruses or diseases. Using 70% isopropyl alcohol is more than sufficient for effective sterilization. Stay proactive in maintaining clean tools for a healthy cultivation environment.

Plant Training Synergies

To unlock the full potential of their crops, cultivators can integrate the topping method with various low-stress training strategies. Pairing the vigorous growth of lateral branches with the screen of green (SCrOG) method is a great choice. SCrOG aims to optimize light exposure for cannabis plants, and the increased branching resulting from topping complements this technique.


In addition, cultivators can enhance yields and plant health by combining topping with the mainlining method. Mainlining is an advanced plant training technique that involves multiple rounds of topping to stimulate lateral branching. The lateral branches are carefully tied down horizontally, exposing their nodes to light. As the branches grow, topping can be applied as needed to achieve the desired "manifold" shape. This combination ensures optimal growth and maximizes the potential of your plants.

Big Yields and Maximising Genetics

Topping is a valuable tool for cannabis growers, regardless of their experience level. While it may initially appear daunting, understanding the process makes it accessible to all cultivators. When combined with other cultivation techniques, topping can result in robust growth and high yields.

By topping cannabis plants, you unlock the true potential of your genetics. Begin your journey on the right path by visiting the Marijuana Grow Shop (MGS). Explore their exceptional collection of cannabis seeds, including strong feminized seeds, reliable autoflowers, and unique regular seeds sourced from passionate seed banks and cultivators worldwide. MGS is your destination for quality cannabis seeds and supplies.


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