Topping, in the context of cannabis cultivation, is a pruning technique used to encourage bushier growth and increase the number of main colas (flowering sites) on a cannabis plant. It involves removing the tip of the main stem, typically by cutting off the newest growth, which is referred to as the apical meristem.
Here are some key aspects and considerations related to topping cannabis plants:
- Purpose of Topping: The main purpose of topping is to promote lateral growth and create a more even and compact canopy. By removing the apical meristem, the plant’s growth hormones are redirected to the lower branches, stimulating them to grow and develop more vigorously. This technique can help prevent the plant from growing too tall and create a more balanced structure.
- Timing of Topping: Topping is typically performed during the vegetative stage when the plant has developed several sets of leaves but has not yet entered the flowering stage. It is important to choose the right time to top the plant, ensuring that it has enough energy and resources to recover and redirect growth to the lower branches.
- Topping Technique: a. Identify the Main stem: Locate the main stem of the plant, usually the central stem that is growing vertically.b. Choose the Topping Point: Select a spot just above the node where the newest growth has emerged. This is usually the topmost point of the plant.c. Make the Cut: Using clean and sharp pruning shears or scissors, make a clean horizontal cut just above the chosen node, removing the top portion of the stem. It is important to make a clean cut to minimize damage and promote faster healing.
- Post-Topping Care: After topping the plant, it may experience some temporary shock or stress as it redirects energy and resources to the lower branches. Provide the plant with proper care, including regular watering, appropriate lighting, and nutrient supplementation, to support its recovery and encourage new growth.
- Training and Support: Topping can be combined with other training techniques such as low-stress training (LST) or scrogging (screen of green) to further enhance the plant’s structure and maximize yields. These techniques involve bending, tying, or spreading the branches to create an even canopy and promote better light penetration.
- Multiple Toppings: In some cases, growers may choose to perform multiple topping sessions to further increase the number of main colas and create an even more bushy and productive plant. This can be done by repeating the topping process on the newly formed branches after the initial topping.
Topping cannabis plants requires careful consideration of the plant’s growth stage, health, and overall structure. It is advisable to research and understand the specific needs of the cannabis strain being cultivated and to practice proper techniques to minimize stress and damage to the plant. When done correctly, topping can help achieve more productive and aesthetically appealing cannabis plants with increased yields.