Topping is one way to improve yields. Every grower dreams of someday growing more cannabis and harvesting more yields. Topping involves cutting the topmost cola of your cannabis plants. Cutting this can multiply your yields fast, however, there are some disadvantages to this practice. So before you top your plants and before you purchase outdoor marijuana seeds for sale, find out how topping works and if this is a good technique to use.
The Weed Blog has a number of good reasons why growers should try topping. It says that a single growing shoot might produce a larger cola, but topping gives you 4 colas that can get the best lighting intensity because of its location. The entire plant is allowed to get more light and create bigger and better buds. Although individual colas may not be as large the combined yields can be much greater compared to just the yield of only one plant with only one cola.
The trick is to top the plants early so that your plants can have a good start. Expert growers have their own “best time” to top but usually, it is done when your clones have developed good roots and then start to grow out of the growth cube. The meristem is cut straight through horizontal and this divides the plant into two growing shoots.
Now taking care of seedlings is different. You must make sure that your precious seedlings develop and grow at least 4 to 5 internodes before you start topping. Topping too early will shock a plant, slow down its growth and waste you a lot of time. A plant that has developed from seeds should be given enough time to take root and produce a few sets of fan leaves. You should also wait until you see roots coming out of the grow cube or pot drain holes before topping.
The growth of the plant will become slow right after topping. But the plant will eventually become stronger and will start to grow more yields. If you cut too low, the plant will be able to create four growing shoots and these will grow into four colas.
Some foreseen disadvantages
Most strains take well to topping but some don’t like this at all. Usually, slowly-growing indicas simply take a long time to grow when these are topped. But right after topping, these plants can produce 5 ounces per plant. Therefore, all plants can improve yields through topping but some plants can take time to adjust to the topping. Slower strains will likely mature slower.
Therefore, most strains should be topped early at around 10 inches with small internodes. This lets the plant generate a low profile while providing the ideal amount of bud sites that get the best amount of light. Another thing to consider is that you might be restricted to the number of plants that you are allowed to grow at home. Medical limits make it more beneficial to grow only a few plants that can give you the best yields.
Topping your cannabis plants is crucial to getting quality yields in your indoor or outdoor yields. This technique is cutting the very top of the plant to create more lateral growth. Another similar training technique is “FIM” (short for “f**k I missed,” if you were wondering) or “fimming.” You might prefer to top or to fim, it depends on your level of experience. Both techniques are simple and easy and can make a big difference in your final yield.
Why top cannabis?
If you leave cannabis plants to grow on their own, these will usually focus all their energies to grow the topmost cola and the main stalk and this leaves all the other parts of the plants behind. The result is one long dominant cola with smaller stalks at the bottom. This is a waste of your time, effort and money in growing buds that are just immature. These stalks usually create small buds that can affect the overall size and quality of your harvest. And to make things worse, indoor growers usually need to adjust their lighting to avoid the topmost cola in the canopy. The lower stalks may or may not get enough light and this can completely stunt the growth of these buds and affect your overall yield.
Topping can fix these. Topping is done during the plants’ vegetative phase to redistribute growth hormones from the main stalk to new stalks further down the plant. Topping and Fimming will create an even canopy because the growth hormones are distributed to all the minor stalks and colas.
Topping vs. Fimming
Topping is known as the tried-and-tested method that most outdoor and large commercial farmers use. There are also outdoor growers will top plants a number of times to get a large bushy shape that is perfect for indoor stealth growing. Plants that are topped usually remain stable and need less support compared to plants that are fimmed.
When it comes to Fimming, this can work great for growers in small spaces and those who want maximum yields. Because of more and more stalks are created by fimming, you can easily complete a canopy in a sea of green (SOG) grow with plants that have short vegetative cycles. But as you fim or top and increase the number of colas, you need to provide physical support to your plants. You can use sticks, twine or trellises for your cannabis garden.
But no matter what technique you use to multiply your plant’s yields, you will see a substantial increase in yield. If you aren’t sure of the best method that will work for your needs, try both. This way, you will be able to personally see if your plants respond to topping or fimming and which one will work best for you. Growing is a continuous learning process and cannabis plants are indeed very resilient. Don’t worry about your plants because you need to do research and learn from any mistakes that you might encounter along the way.
How to Top (or FIM) Cannabis Plants
Take note that topping or fiming cannabis plants are a high-stress training (HST) method. Your plants will indeed increase yields but you are placing these in a situation that these will adjust no matter what happens.
Usually, topping and fimming are done when cannabis plants are stronger and healthier to survive these very difficult, stressful changes. Most gardeners and growers usually top or fim when the plant has grown about 4 to 5 nodes. The leaves are healthy and have a vibrant color. There shouldn’t be any falling leaves, pests, molds or discoloration of the leaves.
- Get your tools and disinfect.
Prepare the tools you need to top and Fim your plants. Usually, you only need a sharp razor blade or a sharp pair of scissors. Sterilize the tool using a handy disinfectant like rubbing alcohol. You may also sterilize using boiling water. Boil the blade or pair of scissors for about 15 minutes. Let this cool down before using.
- Locate the best spot where you can make the cut where to make your cut.
The difference between topping and fimming is the location of where you will cut the plant. With topping, you cut the newest growth along the main stem, but with Fimming, you cut off the upper half of the new growth. Cut straight through and make sure to wash your blade or pair of scissors afterwards.
- Notice new stalks that have developed
When you top your cannabis plants, you will see two new stalks from where you cut whereas when you FIM, you might see 3-8 new stalks emerge. These areas will soon be sites where flowers will grow.
- Monitor your plants
With topping and fimming, you will see more buds that will soon develop. You will see more energy directed to the lower branches on your plants. Soon, these will start to catch up with the newly trained stalk.
It can take a few weeks for your plants to completely recover. Afterwards, you can still top or fim these as you wish.
Expose your plants to good lighting. Make sure that you use the best lighting like LED or HPS lighting. LED is more preferred because aside from being effective, these are also cost-efficient and are available almost everywhere. When you monitor your plants, check for all other signs of poor development or signs that your plant needs help.
- Check for vertical and horizontal growth.
- Check for falling or discolored leaves
- Check for wilting leaves
- Check if the soil remains wet after being watered for quite a while
- Check for the overall disposition of the plant
Understanding all these can help you give your plants the right treatment. You will also be able to gauge if your plant has suffered stress or if it is ready to top or fim another time. Start by finding good, healthy outdoor marijuana seeds for sale from an online or local seed bank