…In the same amount of vertical space as a plant like this. All plant training techniques are designed to help growers get a more desirable plant shape and bigger yields without changing other aspects of their grow. For example, cannabis plants don’t naturally grow in a way that takes full advantage of indoor grow lights – a lot of light is wasted when cannabis plants are allowed to grow naturally without training.
Because of this, cannabis plant training techniques like topping are especially effective at increasing yields in indoor grow setups by creating a bushier plant with extra colas. Notice how these plants have many colas instead of just one – this is due to using plant training techniques like topping. Learn about FIMing, a very similar plant training technique that removes slightly “less off the top” but still results in multiple colas. In the above example, the plant on the left was allowed to grow naturally, which resulted in the classic “Christmas tree” shape that’s not very efficient under indoor grow lights. This broke the dominance of the main cola, and the plant started putting out multiple colas. With topping, the growth tips that become new colas are already present. They just get bigger and become colas because topping breaks the symmetry of the plant and exposes these growth tips to light and air. Instead of focusing on just one cola, the plant starts focusing on many growth tips until they become colas. Topping Involves Removing or Damaging Top Growth – This Reveals Hidden Growth Tips and Signals Plants to Start Putting Energy Into Them.
By damaging the main stem, topping encourages the plant to spend energy growing many colas instead of focusing on just one. Lower growth nodes will become new colas once they’re exposed to light and air, but they develop much faster when the main cola’s dominance is broken by topping. Notice how these growth tips have started developing and rising up after plant is topped (the fan leaves have been removed so you can see the new colas more easily) Here’s an example of a plant that was topped at a late age, after it had already grown 8 nodes. Although you might not get quite as good results as if you had topped it earlier, it still definitely increased the total number of colas and improved the yields! Cut off top of plant at stem in between nodes Creates 2 main colas at the top of the plant, and LST can be used to create more New colas are evenly spaced (attached to the stem in the same place) Can be used to reduce the height of plant in vegetative page Can slow down growth for a day or two. This video shows the whole cannabis topping process, in timelapse format. The lower growth tips begin to rise up, and each of these can produce even more main colas. Here’s a video showing what a plant looks like after being topped (time-lapse of about 2 weeks) You will end up with a wider, bushier plant that doesn’t grow just one main cola in a Christmas tree shape. Some growers will use several phases of topping to produce cannabis plants with dozens of colas. Some techniques take this to the extreme, for example manifolding (also sometimes called “main-lining”) is a technique that uses topping several times to make a cannabis “manifold.” Important: Don’t Top Too Early! With both topping, you remove some of the growth on the end of a cola of a young marijuana plant, which causes the plant to stop focusing on one cola (like a Christmas tree) and instead to create many bud-laden colas (grow more bushy). If you top the plant too early, it will have a hard time recovering. It may seem like a good idea, but you will get the best results and fastest recover if you wait until the plant has 4-5 nodes. Wait Until Plant Has At Least 4-5+ Nodes – Topping a Too-Young Seedling Can Slow Down Growth. Waiting a Few More Days to Cut Can Result in a Much Faster Recovery. Growers use the plant’s natural response to topping to produce short bushy plants with many colas. After the plant has been switched to the flowering stage, the widespread of colas allows the plant to efficiently use indoor grow lights to produce the biggest yields possible. If you choose to use either of these methods, you will get the best results by doing it when the plant is young, usually when it has around 4-5 total nodes formed. These young cannabis plants are almost ready to be topped. You get great results by breaking the tendency of the plant to grow one main cola while the plant is still short, because you can arrange your multiple colas however you want as the plant develops, instead of dealing with a Christmas tree shaped plant. You can also top your plant later in the vegetative stage, but you will have a longer main stalk, giving you less ability to arrange the colas the way you want. After being topped, your plant will need some time spent recovering in the vegetative stage, though generally this just causes the plant to ‘fill out’ more instead of growing taller, which is often desirable for indoor growers. Important: Don’t Top in the Flowering Stage; It’s Too Late! Topping should only be used in the vegetative stage! In fact, any training technique that involves cutting or damaging your plant should only be done in the vegetative stage of cannabis growth, and never during the flowering/budding stage.
In the flowering stage, only gentle training techniques such as LST or bending should ever be used to change the shape of the plant. A plant with many colas can only be achieved by training a plant from early in the vegetative stage. Cannabis plants are much less tough in the flowering stage, and they no longer are growing vegetatively (producing new stems or colas). If you watch a plant in the flowering stage, you’ll see that it doesn’t get taller or develop growth nodes. Damaging your plant during the budding stage will usually cause a reduction in your final yields. By the time your plants are in the flowering stage, much of the growth structure has already been created, and you generally need to try to manage as best you can if your plant has grown into a shape you don’t like.
What if my plant is already too tall in the flowering stage? If your plant is already too tall in the flowering stage for your grow setup, you’ve got to take immediate action to prevent the plant from getting any taller.