Topping is the removal of the latest shoot from the plant. This creates two main buds instead of one.
The plant gets wider and lower than if you don’t top it.
How to top marijuana plants: Step by step
- Select the latest shoot
- Cut it off
- Give the plant some rest
A shoot grows into 2 new petioles with leave on them. The middle of the shoot contains a new shoot, and new shoots will be formed in the axils.
A shoot therefore consists of 2×2 leaves, crosswise against each other. By removing this, the two shoots in the axils will grow to become the main buds.
Make sure you only cut the latest shoot, so you only inflict minimal damage to the plant.
The plant is damaged, so it will use its energy to heal the wound, so it won’t grow much for a couple of days.
You can top multiple times if you want to, but leave some time in between sessions, because the plant has to recover.
Topping is always done during the growing phase, and possibly in the first week of flowering at the very latest.
Otherwise the plant has no time to grow wider, and it wont have any use.
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Since they don’t get very wide, you have to place many plants close to each other, so no light is lost.
Light that doesn’t hit the leaves and falls on the ground is considered lost energy.
By topping the plants, they will stop growing lengthwise for a bit, but they’ll mainly grow in width.
You can then leave some more room between plants and still have a nice green blanket.
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This can significantly increase your yield. Especially outdoors, great results can be achieved.
I’m sure you’ve seen those pictures of gigantic outdoor plants.
This advantage also applies to indoor plants, but I prefer to just place some more plants to make sure no light is lost.
Lastly, topping spreads your risks. You get more main buds, and because they’re not as big, they’re not as sensitive to bud rot and/or other nasty diseases.
Once again, this is a major advantage for outdoor plants. Especially because you can’t control the climate and your plants become sensitive to bud rot in the moist fall.
Indoor growers could place some more plants without topping them to spread the risks.
Be careful when you have a really big plant that’s very heavy, because there’s a chance that the plant will split in half under its own weight.
It’s best to start strengthening the plant with some tape, just under the topping, to prevent splitting.
This only applies to outdoor plants, because they get much bigger and heavier than indoor plants.