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. Wait until your plant has developed 3–5 nodes before you FIM it. Like with topping, performing the procedure too early will shock the plant and slow down the growth of your seedling. You should only FIM plants during the vegetative phase to allow plants to focus all of their energy on bud production during the flowering stage. If you want to train your plant during this time, try gentle techniques such as low-stress training (LST). Fimming involves pinching or cutting off around 75% of the tip of a plant. The very word FIM stands for “f*ck I missed”, and hints at how sloppy the technique appears. It looks as though the grower messed up their topping attempt! Looks aside, it’s an extremely simple and effective technique. Grab the tip of your plant and gently elongate the growth with one hand. Use a pair of clean scissors to snip about 75% of the top. You'll be left with a small turf of growth that will eventually give life to four colas.
Topping and fimming will prolong the amount of time cannabis plants will need to spend in the 18/6 vegetative growth stage. Expect a 4-6 week vegetative growth phase if you plan on applying these techniques. Another oft-overlooked and obvious problem with encouraging the formation of multiple fat colas is that marijuana plants tend to become really top heavy. In the absence of a ScrOG, plants may require staking with bamboo for support. If you do, then you must be prepared to blend a few techniques. Topping or fimming cannabis plants alone is not really going far enough.
By adding the following two methods to the mix, you might hit upon the recipe for a scale-tipping harvest. In brief, lollipopping is the removal of fluffy, lower bud sites from cannabis plants. The idea is to focus plant energy on developing big, fat nugs, rather than popcorn buds. Most growers like to strip away lower growth during week 3 of flowering.