Topping is a technique in horticulture in which you cut off the top part of a plant to halt its upward growth in order to promote lateral growth in the lower branches.
“This is a very important method to growing cannabis and hemp. Besides using additional methods to affect the plant like bending, scrogging, and lollipoping – topping will allow your plant to spread out its canopy allowing each cola to get more sunlight. I believe that you get better, more even yields this way. It also allows more undergrowth.” Co-founder of USMJ Troy
Although it may seem strange to cut off and throw away part of your cannabis plant, rest assured, topping is an essential step in keeping your plants healthy and getting quality yields.
Topping a cannabis or hemp plant is a high-stress training (HST) method that works best when the plant is developed and can withstand a drastic change. Check out this video! It gives a clear understanding of the method.
Youtube: The Epic 420 Spot
How a Plant Receives Light: This bushy shape is also important for a plant to receive light more effectively in a couple ways. It allows light to hit the plant more evenly—because the plant is more wide than it is tall, all of the bud sites will receive a more equal amount of light.
With one vertical stalk, the main cola will get a lot of light, but the lower branches will get shaded out by the main cola, producing uneven buds across the canopy.
Also, in an indoor setup, if you had one vertical stalk, the main cola will get a lot of light, but the lower branches will be too far away from the light source to receive a good amount of light.
For subsequent toppings on the same plant, cut each branch above the second or third node, to allow the plant to grow out properly. These toppings are more subjective however, and will depend on how much you want the plant to bush out and how big you want the final plant to be.
Do you really like the strain you are growing? Use your toppings as clones! The joy of reusing a good strain is important and can help with turn around time if you are an indoor grower looking to stack packs.