Does Topping Increase Yield For Cannabis?

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    A Report On Topping and Fimming For Cannabis

    Topping and Fimming are similar, but different types, of High-Stress Training Methods (“HST”). Both, if done correctly though can significantly increase your cannabis crop yields. Topping is the most well-known and popular form of HST. Fim is less well known. But, if used correctly, it can even result in better yields than topping. This article will give you the reasons why you would choose to do either or perhaps no HST at all, and tell you how to do both of these procedures.

    Why Is Topping Cannabis Recommended?

    Topping when done correctly, allows for two colas instead of one. This means that a topped-off cannabis plant can result in nearly twice the yield than if it was left in its natural, unpruned, state.

    Cola-Is the main flower or bud cluster that is located on the upper part of the main stalk of a cannabis plant. The cola is made up of flowers that, in ideal settings can grow up to two feet. The cola is where the best buds are located on a typical cannabis plant.

    With topping the main bud site or cola is cut off of a weed plant. At first glance, this seems both idiotic and horrifying. To the novice grower, it is almost as if you are like Morticia and Gomez on Adam’s Family cutting off the bloom of a rose bouquet and leaving the thorny stems in the vase.

    When done properly, topping cannabis plants results in a bigger yield, better light distribution, and a bushier plant; each of which will be explained below.

    Bigger Yield

    Cannabis grows upward, like a Christmas tree with a single dominant, central COLA, accompanied by several sets of outward, side branches. The top area, and not the outer branches are where the energy is focused. What this means that a non-pruned cannabis plant has one dominant area for flowering and a few smaller stocks that are mostly substandard of larfy buds.

    This is known as apical dominance. With apical dominance the vertical growth of plants is prioritized and its lateral growth is inhibited. For cannabis, with apical dominance their is only one main bud site (AKA apex) that is at the top of the plant.

    A topped-off plant though has at least two bud sites. (AKA-COLA”) in contrast, a natural cannabis plant with only one main bud site.

    Main reason for Topping is that it can turn single cola  plants into a multiple cola plant.

    Perfect For Indoor, Grow Light, Cannabis Cultivation

    The cannabis Christmas tree structure works perfectly fine in nature because as the sun moves, during the day, it hits all areas of the plant. An indoor grower that uses a stationary grow light does not get this same effect. When topped off though the grow light rays will, as the branches are spread out more, hit the lower leaves more evenly, and air will also flow better.

    Bushier Plant

    Multi Cola Plant
    The Product Of Fimming

    Topping a plant results in the outward branches and new shoots spreading out, and the plant being shorter. A shorter plant, especially for an indoor grower is highly valued as they are better able to fit in a grow tent, attic, or other tight places.

    What Is The Science Behind Topping a Plant?

    Removing the top cola of your plant, shocks or stresses your plant, which then sends out growth hormones throughout the entire plant. As a result, the growth hormone is more focused on the side branches than the main cola at the top of the plant. The end result is that two instead of one buds site is developed.

    How Do You Top Off A Cannabis Plant?

    Topping off isn’t rocket science, it does though require attention to detail, ac/curate cutting, and cleanliness, as any mistake though can result in you either damaging or even killing your plants.

    Equipment Needed

    Sharpness and sanitization are the keys. So, get the sharpest, and most sanitary blade for this job. Sharp pruning scissors and razor blades are ideal.

     Gardening Hand Pruner Pruning Shear
    Pruning Shear
     Razor Blade
    Razor Blad Wil Also Work

    Clean Them First-In order to avoid contamination you first need to first sanitize your cutting tools via a bleach, isopropyl alcohol, etc. Click Here, for a good guide on how to best do this.

    When Should it Be Done?

    It should be first done during the third or fourth week of the vegetative stage of growth, and It can then be repeated as necessary. This is based though on the assumption that your crops have grown enough.

    Where Do You Cut The Branch?

    Cannabis Sativa Plant
    Cut it Above the 5th Node

    Nodes are a section of a cannabis plant, which connect old plant material with newer plant material. (I.E. New Shoots, Branches, Leaves, Flower, Buds, etc.) The node that is located directly below the main bud is the apical meristem, and internodes are the spaces between the nodes.

    You cut above the fifth node of the main stalk or stem. This will give the lower branches a better chance to grow outward. After that, you then cut the two lower branches of your plant.

    Avoid Topping During Flowering-Topping during the flowering growth stage isn’t advised at it reduced bud production an overall plant growth. The reason being is that when weed is topped during flowering it will then devote its time to branches and leaf production when the it should be focusing on producing flower.


    Fimming V. Topping

    When it is done it looks like a mistake happened. But, when it is done correctly it can actually increase yield fourfold. Fimming is based on the same concept as Topping in that the pruning is meant to stress the plant into developing multiple bud sites.

    What Does FIM Mean?

    Fimming is an acronym of “F$#@ I Missed!.”

    How Do I FIM My Plants?

    Fimming is similar to topping in that the top of the plant is cut off with the main difference is that you directly cut through the main cola. Directly cutting the far tip results in two budding areas being released. (The main and adjacent COLA) This then results in four COLA’s appearing instead of the two when a cannabis plant is topped off.

    Special Concerns on Topping and Fimming

    User Error

    Topping and Fimming are easy. However, HST does drastically alter a plant’s structure. And any error can result in you permanently damaging or destroying a perfectly healthy plant.


    Topping or fimming, under most circumstances, if done correctly will guarantee from 2 to 4X increased yields. (In comparison to a cannabis plant left alone) However, these results are not guaranteed. Genetics is a major reason why you might not get the expected results. For example, because of strain genetic, a topped plant may grow two small colas instead of two large colas, and your production will not be increased.

    Topping or Fimming AutoFlowers

    Topping auto flowers is essentially the same as topping regular cannabis plants. First, along with topping traditional cannabis plants, you should not top or do any drastic HST on any sickly plants as they may not be able to overcome the trauma. Additionally, you should not do either if your plants are under or over or watered. Simply put, only top or FIM healthy auto flower plants.

    Pruning Consideration For Autoflowers

    Autoflowers grow quicker than non-auto flower plants and begin the flowering stage by the third-fourth week of growing. So, it’ll be too late to wait for the fourth week to start the HST pruning This means that you need to cut above the third node and not the fourth node.

    Final Thoughts

    Topping and FIM off your plant are relatively simple and the rewards are worthwhile. Additionally, both of these space-saving techniques are especially valuable, as vertical space is a premium for the micro grower or home cannabis grower. However, with topping, fimming or another type of pruning, you are performing a major stressful operation for your plants that If done incorrectly, can result in damaging or even destroying a perfectly healthy plant. That is why these techniques are best saved for an experienced grower. For beginners, my advice is for you to get a few grows under your belt. Then try topping or FIM on only a few plants. See how it goes, and then as you see progress gradually start topping/fimming all of your plants if you desire.


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