Topping Marijuana Plants: Why,When & How

Are you growing marijuana?

Well, if yes, then you must have come across this stage when you have to decide when and how to top the marijuana plant?

Don’t worry! You are not alone. Every grower out there has to face this situation. 

Either indoor growers or outdoors, every cultivator wants to get the most out of their garden, and topping plants helps to achieve that. 

Though topping weed plants is a deep topic in itself to be discussed and hence today in this guide we are going to cover almost every part so that you can be an expert on marijuana topping.

Ultimately, in the end, you will be able to get the answer by yourself on when to top marijuana? Even all the answers related to topping!

So, let’s get started:

Topping Marijuana Plants

What is topping? 

Starting from basic for the newbie growers and weed enthusiasts out there, topping is a kind of High-Stress Training. (If you know what topping is and its basics, you can skip this part)

Don’t worry, you don’t have to train your weed plants for the wars! 

Simply, topping is pruning the main stem tip of the cannabis plant so that your plant does not grow like a Christmas tree (A long middle stem and small side-by-side branches). 

As without topping the weed plant will grow like a Christmas tree structure, which is not beneficial from the yield perspective. 

That is why to increase the productivity of the garden, topping is applied. 

Is it necessary to top the marijuana plant? 

A huge yes! 

Topping is necessary if you want to have some good output from your plant. 

Even after investing some money and time, you don’t expect to get disappointment at harvest time. Therefore, top your weed plant so that they can give you be better productivity. 

Benefits of marijuana topping

Okay! Here are some lists of benefits that topping results. 

  1. Topping helps to redistribute the growth hormones from the main stem to the side branches. Therefore, it benefits the overall growth of the plant. 
  2. Topping helps to get you more buds from the weed plant by allowing every branch of the plant to grow to the full extent. 
  3. It is one of the easier training techniques. 
  4. You don’t need any extra equipment and money to invest in buying some accessories. You just need a sharp scissor and a sterilizer.

Cons of topping

So, let me be honest here, topping is not for every weed plant. Hence this is one of the cons of this technique. 

You have to choose a weed strain wisely that can tolerate the stress and can grow potentially later on that stage. The best way is to choose a weed strain is to choose a variety that has a better life cycle. As with more life cycles, the plant gets time to recover from the stress of topping. 

Overall, there are ultimate benefits of topping and that is why it is one of the worldwide popular techniques to increase the yield of a garden. 

When to top marijuana?

Before we move on to how to top weed plants, first get to know when is the right time to top marijuana plants.

You should top your marijuana plant when its roots have grown strong enough. Well, the best way to observe this is when your plant has developed at least 4-5 nodes. This will be the best time that you can top your marijuana plant. 

Although different weed plants have different grow speeds still, averagely the plant must reach this size after 30-40 days of vegetative phase. 

You can also do some research on your specific weed strain to know the grow time and pattern. 

Apart from this, do not top when you have baby plants. Means cannabis seedlings. During this stage, the plants are quite fragile and sensitive. Therefore, they are not capable at that time to handle the cutting stress. 

This can also make your plant completely unproductive. Hence, do not top marijuana plants in the earlier growth stage. Let them grow enough to handle the cutting stress and then you are good to go. 

How to top cannabis plants?

We are now at the final stage. It’s time to do some action. 

However, make sure you have prepared these things before heading to the garden for topping:

  1. Sharp scissors
  2. Sterilizers (Alcohol-based will be better)
  3. And, a weed plant!

Now, after preparing your scissors and sterilizing them cut the main stem tip cleanly. Completely cut down the top growth of the main stem of your weed plant. This is the first step of topping the marijuana plant. Keep at least 5mm of space between the lateral branches and the point where you cut. 

This will help you avoid mistakes. 

Depending upon the growth of the plant and your need you can also perform this step down the line. 

It will help the other two branches to take over the growth hormones. As the main stem has now been cut down. 

You can also top your plant twice depending upon your need and satisfaction. However, make sure to keep a gap of certain weeks so that the plant can recover from the previous cutting. 

Limitations of topping

Although topping helps to get the most out of weed plants still it has some limitations. 

  1. First of all, auto flower weed strains generally are not capable of topping technique as they have a short life cycle. Hence, you have to choose a marijuana strain accordingly which can suit this technique. 
  2. For those growers who want to top twice thrice or even more, they have to do it according to their strain capability and life cycle. As you have to keep a gap of certain weeks so that the plant can recover from the previous stress. Hence, if the plant has a long life cycle, then probably you will be able to top your weed plant twice and can make a marijuana canopy according to your need.
  3. With topping, you cannot expect large marijuana colas at one spot because of the redistribution of the growth hormones. Hence, you will be able to get the size of weed buds accordingly to the branch growth. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some mostly asked queries:

#1. Which is better: topping or firming?

The main difference between topping and firming is about the cutting spot on the plant. Though for limited space growers, the firm is expected to be a better choice to enhance the yield. However, topping makes the plant stable and has a stronger branch structure. Therefore, depending upon your requirement both plant training is better on their own. 

#2. How many times can I top my weed plant?

There is no specific topping limitation. It all depends upon your plant that how many times it can tolerate the cutting stress. Also, if you are not satisfied with your marijuana canopy you can top again. However, if your plant is not capable then you might have to be satisfied with it once only. 

#3. Can I provide extra nutrients to my plant to help it recover faster from topping stress?

Yes! You can provide nutrients to your plant, as usual, other growers do. However, we recommend you follow the organic way for better and secure results. Apart from this, before putting any nutrient into your plant make sure you have observed the plant health and growth time so that it does not get nutrient burn. 

#4. How much time should I wait for topping my weed plant again?

At least 2-3 weeks, you should wait for topping your weed plant again. As within this time, your plant should recover from the previous cutting. Though different weed strains have different growth patterns and recovery times, hence, you should follow and observe accordingly. 

#5. Can I combine topping with other techniques to improve the yield of my garden?

Of course, you can. However, make sure the training technique you are combining along with topping can be tolerated by your plant. Sometimes, two stress training can harm the overall health of the plant, and therefore, you should train your plant after observing the growth and health accordingly. 

#6. What if I do not top my weed plants?

Then most probably your weed plant will grow unevenly. As the ultimate goal of weed gardening is to get the weed buds and to increase the yield to some extent, topping helps. Even it also gives an even structure to your plant and does not let it grow like a Christmas tree. 

#7. Do I need some extra skills to top weed plants beautifully?

Well, the whole gardening is a skill, and specifically topping is a technique and it does not require any special skills or training. Even if you mistook somewhere then it does not harm the plant as much. However, you can follow the guide carefully and attentively to avoid all mistakes and get the most out of your garden. 

Now, it’s your turn to the top!

Yes! Now, it’s your turn to top in weed gardening. As of here, you must be aware of almost everything related to topping. Well, if you still got some questions then we are here to help you out. 

Though if you don’t have any and learned something from here then perform this technique with your garden and also tell us the outcome you got. 

Happy Gardening!

About Ben Stokes

We are into Marijuana growing for a decade. The Editorial team is headed by Ben Stokes for Top10SeedBanks.

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