September 26, 2023 12:00 pm ETEstimated Read Time: 4 Minutes
Cannabis legalization has allowed more individuals than ever to grow the herb at home. As the number of home cultivators increases, so too do the debates about best practices for growing the plant–and specifically, how to top cannabis plants.
Despite the debate, there’s one technique that almost all growers can agree on — “topping”. Today’s blogs will teach you what topping is, some of its benefits, and how you can get to topping today.
Why Cultivators Choose to Top Cannabis Plants
Topping indoor cannabis plants is essential for optimizing yield and harvest quality. This process stimulates the growth of new branches and bud points. Initiate topping when plants are in the vegetative stage — doing it multiple times in various locations to maximize bud points before flowering.
Though early topping is increasing in popularity, topping should start after the plant has developed three to five nodes, with a preferred range of five to seven nodes to avoid potential stress or shock. Indoors, focus on achieving a robust canopy with large colas, as the lower parts of the plants tend to yield less. Topping cannabis plants becomes particularly beneficial in this context.
Topping cannabis plants can be scary, especially for new growers, but the process itself is quite simple. Before proceeding, there are a few key considerations to ensure a successful outcome. First and foremost, it is essential to gather the minimal tools required for topping a cannabis plant.
What is Needed to Top a Cannabis Plant?
At Least 3-5 Nodes on a cannabis plant in veg cycle.
A Pair of Sanitized Pruning Snips
Isopropyl Alcohol and a Clean Cloth or Alcohol Wipes
Tips for Greater Success
Wash Your Hands and/or Wear a New Pair of Gloves While Topping
Sanitize Your Snips and Allow Them to Dry Before Topping
Wipe Down Your Snips with Isopropyl Alcohol Between Snips if Topping in Multiple Places or Multiple Plants
Locate the Main Stem of Your Plant
Locate the Top Node (Where the Leaves Branch Off)
Cut the Main Stem Just Above the Top Node
Clean Your Snips with Alcohol and Repeat
Topping a cannabis plant allows for the integration of various techniques like defoliation, low-stress training (LST), cropping, etc. When combined with the appropriate conditions and nutrients, these methods increase the cannabis plants’ chances of thriving.
What Does it Mean to Defoliate or Defol a Cannabis Plant?
Defoliation plays a crucial role in indoor cannabis growth, particularly when it comes to the development of colas and dense canopies. To achieve this, defoliation is often combined with topping. This process involves the gradual removal of lower leaves and bud points, redirecting nutrients toward the top of the plant for optimal cola growth.
It’s essential to conduct defoliation in multiple phases rather than all at once to prevent plant shock or stress. The last thing you want to do is have a plant die from stress or turn into a male. Initial defoliation should focus on removing larger fan leaves and sucker leaves when the plants are in their teenage stage.
Apply For Your Medical Marijuana Card Today
Veriheal has satisfied hundreds of thousands of patients nationwide
Get approved or your money back
Appointments available on-demand
Customer support available 24/7
You may think you’re killing your plants, but you’re not. You’ll be surprised how fast they bounce back.
A second defoliation is recommended just before transitioning the plant’s light cycle from vegetative to flowering. During this phase, it’s advisable to strip the lower part of the plant of leaves, creating an open space devoid of growth.
By the time you switch to the flowering stage, you should have a healthy canopy with numerous bud points. Ensure that leaves obstructing bud sites from receiving light and those impeding airflow are removed. However, it’s important to note that defoliation alone may not suffice; other techniques such as training should also be incorporated.
The most common plant training method is low-stress training (LST).
LST involves gently bending, sometimes even lightly breaking stems to encourage stronger growth in desired directions. This technique often utilizes bread ties or LST clips and is essential for mainlining, which can transform one plant into multiple colas, such as 8, 10, 12, or 16. While mainlining requires a longer vegetative phase, many growers find the resulting rewards well worth the wait.
Now that you know what it means to top a cannabis plant, how to do it, and why you should do it, all that’s left is for you to do it.
Cannabis cultivation can be both enjoyable and rewarding as you acquire knowledge and discover what methods work best for your specific needs. Like all aspects of cannabis cultivation, experience will be your best teacher.
Ashley Priest is a patient, mother, entrepreneur, and activist that fights to end prohibition globally for a better future for all. Ashley has a passion for sharing education pertaining to the goddess plant known as cannabis. She believes that a single seed can tip the scales and that together through education we can end the stigma that is preventing cannabis from flowering to its full potential globally.
Blunts: What are they exactly, and how do they affect your body? If you’re interested in smoking blunts—or already smoke them—this guide is for you. We’ll cover everything you need to know about this popular cannabis intake method, including how they’re made, how they differ from spliffs and joints, risks of use, and alternative intake…
People have been smoking joints for a long time. The first rolling papers surfaced around the early 1500s in Alcoy, Spain. These weren’t like the rolling papers we know today though. To start, these papers were intended for tobacco, not cannabis. They were made of hemp along with other textiles and lacked an adhesive gum…
“Stoned,” “high,” “tripping,” and “baked,” are all terms engrained in the cannabis community. These metaphorical descriptions contribute to how we perceive, interpret, and learn from the experiences produced by cannabis consumption. Cannabis experiences, of course, are unique and highly variable. Specific plant strains, the presence of other cannabinoids, different delivery methods, and a user’s individual…
Cannabis seeds, aka beans, come in a lot of different varieties. On top of countless different strains to choose from, there are regular cannabis seeds, feminized cannabis seeds, auto-flowering cannabis seeds, and ruderalis cannabis seeds. Ruderalis cannabis seeds are the least common out of the group, generally only used by breeders. Regular cannabis seeds produce…
With fall well underway, many growers are getting ready to harvest their cannabis cards. When it comes to harvests, you better have a plan ready, or things will get really hectic real quick. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be. With a little due diligence and some planning, you can make harvesting your outdoor cannabis plants…
The statements made regarding cannabis products on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Cannabis is not an FDA-approved substance and is still illegal under federal law. The information provided on this website is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It is not intended as medical advice and should not be considered as a substitute for advice from a healthcare professional. We strongly recommend that you consult with a physician or other qualified healthcare provider before using any cannabis products. The use of any information provided on this website is solely at your own risk.