Topping is the method of choice for pro growers to increase yields. It is also favoured by home growers that want to fill out their grow space with a handful of plants, rather than pack in as many as possible. Removing the terminal bud will encourage the development of two new main colas and promote growth of the lower, secondary branches.
The aim is to invert the Christmas tree shape to allow more light penetration. Growth hormone is diffused to all of the shoots once the apical bud’s dominance is removed. Branchy, low-profile plants are more desirable to every grower. Indoors, vertical space is often at a premium and outdoors, bushes are stealthier than tall trees. Topping is a great technique to take control of the cannabis canopy. Top your plants after they’ve developed between 3–5 nodes, as this is when their roots and stems are strong enough to recover from the stress of the process. Plants typically reach this size after around 30 days of vegetative phase. Be mindful that different varieties grow at different speeds. Plants can’t handle topping during the seedling stage.
If you try topping during this time, you risk killing or stunting your seedlings. Similarly, topping during the flowering phase is sure to cause damage to your precious plants. Your plants will require this time to recover from the stress and readjust to the new growth pattern. To top a plant, make a clean cut to the tip of the main stem using sterile scissors and fully remove the top growth. Be sure to leave about 5cm of space between where you cut and the lateral branches. This will give you slight room for error and help you avoid accidentally severing these important structures. Instead of forming a solitary central cola, the plant will now grow two separate branches—the main cola will not continue to grow and the two side nodes will take over as colas. You can repeat this process later on down the line. Eventually, the two branches you just created will be ready to top. This will further divide what was a single terminal flower into four distinct bud sites. Continue the process until you’re satisfied with your plant’s canopy. Topping cannabis requires accuracy, precision, and cleanliness. Snipping your plant with a blunt tool can cause the stem to break and it can leave a much larger wound than intended. Office and kitchen scissors work, but they’re not as efficient as tools specifically designed for the job, so consider using pruning scissors. Try out these Curved Trimming Scissors made for taming and topping cannabis plants. The sharp blades and robust handle make them perfect for your needs. Their curved design makes them perfect for pruning deep within canopies and trimming off sugar leaves during harvest. You can also use this handy tool to obtain clean cuttings for cloning. Top and FIM your plants with accuracy and ease using these Curved Trimming Scissors. The sharp blades slice through cannabis stems without leaving a mess behind—allowing plants to recover swiftly. Top and FIM your plants with accuracy and ease using these Curved Trimming Scissors. The sharp blades slice through cannabis stems without leaving a mess behind—allowing plants to recover swiftly.
Fimming is another HST technique used to increase yield that is similar to topping, but not quite the same. The objective is still to increase the number of main colas. But instead of doubling down, fimming can give rise to 4+ new top colas.
This technique is highly recommended for micro-growers with perhaps just 1-2 plants. Secondary shoots are juiced with the growth hormone that previously would have been used to develop the main stem. However, most growers report that fimming is slightly less effective at reducing stretching than topping. A fimmed cannabis plant can still grow rather tall, albeit with far more top colas.