Topping refers to trimming the canopy of your plants, or more specifically, removing the growing tip of your cannabis plants. This process is most often done to regulate the height of your plants for safety purposes, but if done in a controlled, moderate way, topping can also improve the health of your plants for an increased yield.
Before you begin, it is important to note the dangers of pruning your cannabis plants. If you don’t have the knowledge or the correct tools to trim your plants, it is better to leave them to grow naturally. Make sure to follow these guidelines if topping is something you’d like to try.
1. Trim your Plants in the Vegetation Stage
Cutting during pre-vegetation and its flowering stage could compromise the health of your plant. The very best time to cut your plants is early on in the vegetation stage, when 3-4 nodes are visible. Topping when there are more nodes can affect bud growth and quality needed during cannabis cultivation, as well as over stress your plants.
2. Choose an Apical Bud
An apical bud is what we would consider the ‘main stem’ of the plant. It will be the most prominent bud on the plant, and usually the tallest and thickest as well. The reason we trim the tip of this bud is so that the plants energy will go towards growing the lower bud sites, instead of putting energy towards seed growth. Before you trim, ensure the apical bud has three to four nodes, as well as selecting a site that is close to the light.
3. Cut the Apical Bud
Using a sterilize scissor or knife, trim the stem above the lower internode. This could be a few inches from the main stem and may vary from plant to plant.
4. Wait for another internode
If you desire to top your cannabis plant again, wait until at least one internode sprouts from the tip of the plant.