Cannabis Questions Answered: Topping Cannabis How Is It Done?


One of the most confusing factors related to growing cannabis indoors is “topping”. The term is utilized to describe a technique utilized to promote lateral – from side to side – growth. If utilized properly, topping can help prevent the cannabis plant from growing upward. Is topping always a good idea? Does topping really work? Is it recommended for both indoor and outdoor cannabis plants? To find the answers to those questions, continue reading the article below.

What Is Topping?

As mentioned above, topping is a process utilized to push for bigger yields in cannabis plants. Not everyone tops their cannabis plants but most do because they believe it really works. Topping is the removal of the top part of the marijuana plant. There are several ways to ensure bigger yields, one as you already know as topping and the other is a process known as “fimming”. Some avid growers refer to fimming as “FIMing”. The term was accidentally created by someone who had a mishap when topping their plants. If you delve into the term, you will get the jest of what the FIM represents.

It is recommended to cut just above the fifth node on the first topping and just above the second or third node hereafter.

What Is Fimming?

Fimming is very similar to topping but it does not remove the entire top part of the cannabis plant. Instead, it only removes a portion between ½ to ¾. There is really no way to determine which technique works best unless you conduct a comparison. You would need to have two cannabis plants that were started on the same day. One plant would need to be topped and the other fimmed.

When To Top Your Cannabis Plants?

Experts recommend topping during the vegetative phase, which is between three and 16 weeks of age. The purpose of fimming and topping is to ensure better redistribution of the growth hormones, beginning at the main stalk and ending near the top of the dirt. If you perform the techniques appropriately, your cannabis plants will take on a “canopy” appearance.

Natural Shape Of Marijuana Plant?

If you have never seen a marijuana plant that has not been topped or fimmed, you would be surprised by its height. An untouched cannabis plant can grow up to 18 feet in height, which is why many indoor growers opt to top and FIM.

The natural shape of a cannabis plant is tall and slightly bushy. It is possible to change the shape of a cannabis plant by topping and fimming. Other factors that determine the shape are health, location, and type of strain.

The naturally-grown cannabis plant features a dominant cola, which is surrounded by smaller stalks. The dominant cola is fairly long but unlike the smaller, surrounding stalks, it will not produce larfy buds. When you top the cannabis plant, you cut off the main stalk, resulting in the redistribution of growth hormones to the side branches.

Is It Safe To Top The Side Branches?

Growing cannabis plants indoors and outdoors is a long trial and error process. Your first go-round and maybe second go-round will come with mishaps. Hopefully, those mishaps will not cause the death of your plants. If you stick to the common-sense recommendations, your cannabis plants will produce a decent yield, regardless if they are topped, fimmed, or naturally grown.

Yes, you can safely top the side branches on your cannabis plants. In fact, a lot of indoor and outdoor growers do just that because they believe it can help make their plants bushier. When the side branches are topped, it will result in the generation of more bud sites on the branches. The idea to top or FIM and prune to achieve the best yields possible.

How Many Times Can One Cannabis Plant Get Topped?

It really depends on the grower. However, most believe that the more the plant is topped, the bushier it will get. You can top your cannabis plants as often as you see fit. With each topping, the plants will generate new branches causing it to become bushier. The end result will be a better yield.

How Does Topping Help With Lighting?

Plants grown indoors in a grow tent with artificial lighting do not need to worry about lighting as much as those grown outdoors. With that said, topping can help ensure the lighting is thoroughly distributed all over the plant. The lighting for a bushy cannabis plant is guaranteed to be better than those that are not topped or fimmed.

Since the plant is short and busy, the light will reach all of the bud sites equally. Normally, cannabis plants have a single vertical stalk and main cola, which will block the light from reaching the lower branches. The end result in that case would be less potent larfy buds.

Do Commercial Farmers Use Topping?

Yes, they swear by it. Farmers rely on the proceeds from their cannabis crops to pay their bills and feed their families. So, they are going to do whatever is necessary to achieve the best yields possible. They do that by topping or fimming their outdoor cannabis plants.

Which Is Best – Topping Or Fimming?

Again, a lot of information about cannabis topping and fimming is subjective. One grower may swear by fimming while the other swears by topping. Just think of it like this, it is your decision and both techniques are effective. With that said, cannabis plants grown outdoors are exposed to more elements, pollution, and unsavory weather. So, they must be healthy and stable to survive.

It is believed that topping is more suitable for outdoor plants because it creates a stronger branch structure than fimming. If you want to maximize the yield of your indoor cannabis plants, fimming will work just fine. However, you must be very careful because fimmed cannabis plants still need a lot of structural support. If your plants look like they need more support, you may need to enclose them in a trellis.

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