How to Top a Weed Plant
Topping is the marijuana plant training technique which entails cutting off the main stem’s top part. This technique will give you the freeway to produce more colas and spread out the shrub, allowing it to make the most of the lighting. Therefore, your plant can yield more if you top it. A plant usually has one main stem, so topping is not a time-consuming process. All you need to do is to split the main steam into two.
The Importance of Topping a Weed Plant
When left untouched, a marijuana plant will spend its energy on one stalk known as the cola. The outcome will be a long and dominant cola surrounded by smaller stalks. These smaller stalks will produce tiny buds that may affect the yield’s overall quality and size.
To make this issue worse, when you plant the marijuana plant indoors, you need to continuously adjust the lights to keep them apart from the tallest cola within the canopy. The smaller and shorter stalks will be too far from the light, which may harm the yield. Topping can resolve these problems.
Topping is important throughout the plant’s vegetative cycle. It can help redistribute the growth hormones of the plant from its main stalk to the other stalks and new offshoots. Topping creates a canopy that allows distribution of the growing colas and stalks.
Video By: Lex Blazer
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How Topping Works
Cannabis plants put most of their energy in the main kola, also called the terminal or top bud. They do it because the major kola grows larger. It is closer to the light and represents the greatest possibility for the plant to pollinate and reproduce. To make sure the plant is putting its energy to the leading terminal bud, this depends on the strategy called apical dominance. With apical dominance, the highest bud on a plant sends hormones that suppress growth. It will keep the secondary buds smaller so that the plant’s energy will go directly to the major kola.
If you cut the growing tip of the marijuana, there will be two new tips that will appear on every side of the node underneath the cut part. These tips will be the apical dominance and apex buds. Though these colas are smaller than a single kola, their combination can provide a higher yield.
When Should You Top a Cannabis Plant?
A plant is ready for topping once it gets 3 to 4 nodes. But, when you want until it gets 5 to 6 nodes, the plant can recover faster because of the bigger photosynthesis region. Some growers like to wait until the roots appear at the pot’s bottom part before topping begins. It will ensure the plant’s condition and its ability to recover faster.
The distance between the early topping period and recovery phase varies from one plant to another. Strains such as Power Plant can manage early topping when you have time to allow them. When you top the main steam, it may top new shoots again and again while they develop. Just let an internode to develop with leaves and cut the top part.
When the lateral branches grow, you can also top these, promoting the overall shaggy structure. It is important when you set up big canopy techniques like the SCROG setup. You can top the large SCROG upward twenty times. This will force the plant to develop a wide canopy with most growing tips.
When Should You Avoid Topping a Cannabis Plant?
Don’t top your plants throughout the flowering phase. If the plant enters the flowering phase, it will change the way it thrives and operates. Their needs for nutrients change, and the plant focuses its strength and energy in the production of flowers. When you switch to 12/12 topping can trigger stress to the shrub which may lead to smaller production.
When you top the plant while it’s under the flowering phase, it will force the plant to use its energy in repairing the affected structure. Throughout this phase, the plant will keep on repairing itself that can lead to low yields.
Steps to Follow When Topping a Marijuana Plant
Topping your cannabis plant is an HST or high-stress training method that is good when the plant is young and prepared for radical changes. Most gardeners wait until the plant gains 4 to 5 nodes with vibrant and healthy coloration. Here’s how you can get started:
- Get the Tools and Clean Them – For this job, you will need a sharp razor and a pair of scissors. Make sure you sterilize them by using rubbing alcohol. This will help prevent infections in your plant.
- Choose a Good Site for Cutting the Plant – You can cut the plant on the upper half of the new growth. When topping a cannabis plant, you’ll see two new stalks that will emerge from the part you cut.
- Monitor the Results – When topping a plant, you will see the lower branches taking more of the energy available. They will start catching up with the dominant stalk. The plant will take a few weeks to recover in full. When the plant is ready then you can train it once again if you like.
Topping a Cannabis Plant Increases Your Yield
Most growers usually misunderstand why they should top their cannabis plant. A single thriving shoot may yield a bigger single cola, but topping the plant provides you four colas that soak up the greatest light intensity. In general, the whole plant will be able to get more lighting and yield bigger buds. Though single colas may not be as huge, the cumulative yield is bigger than the untrained plant.
When you topped a cannabis plant, its growth will be slow in the beginning, but the shrub will become stronger and able to yield more. The cannabis plant will form four growing shoots. Though most strains are okay with topping, some do not. You can expect five ounces for each plant if you top your cannabis plant. But, some slow-growing strains take time to grow further.