Topping Cannabis: Guide to Achieving Bigger Yields

topping cannabis

Cultivating cannabis can be quite intimidating and overwhelming at the same time, especially for beginners out there. However, learning growing techniques is always helpful for any types of growers as it can provide cannabis a lot different in terms of yields. One of the growing techniques effective in boosting the yield of your plants is topping cannabis.

This type of method in achieving bigger yields involves cutting off the upper portion of the cannabis that allows and encourages the lower branches for lateral growing. It may sound harsh and involves a high risk of damaging the cannabis plant; however, with this article that serves as your guide, surely you will be confident topping cannabis rapidly and achieve successful employment of this method. 

Topping Cannabis 

A high-stress technique in terms of achieving a bigger yield is topping cannabis. Always keep in mind that this type of technique will involve plant damaging in a slight manner. The stress that the cannabis plant will acquire from the damage allows the plant to be stressed out.

With this, it develops a manageable structure, improves appearance, and develop more bud sites by forcing lateral growing. Topping cannabis likewise deter the development of auxin, a compound that helps the cannabis plant grow in elongated length by destroying its apical dominance structure.

A lot of beginner cultivators that easily shake off the idea of giving their precious cannabis plant a cut because at the back of their mind, why would you do such a thing? Little did they know, this growing technique brings out the best of cannabis plants in terms of growing and producing yields. 

Is it Necessary?

When starting topping cannabis during the phase of vegetation, it promotes the redistribution of the hormones responsible for plant growth. It likewise provides the plant an even canopy and bushier structure. Most growers would employ topping their cannabis several times to encourage more and more branches to develop and make it bushier.

If topping cannabis is not executed, it will discourage the plant from evenly distributing its energy and focus more on one stalk. Technically, your plant will have a prominent cola surrounded by small stalks. Hence, resulting in lesser output when harvested. 

It could be very beneficial for indoor plants, too, as it helps the main cola from getting all the light sources and leave the other small branches into the darkness. When the canopy is even after topping, it allows the light to get distributed effectively.

Guide to Achieving Bigger Yields

Step 1

When topping cannabis, initially, you need to understand if your plants are ready for the high stress growing technique. For cultivators out there, it is best to start topping when the plant is big enough to tolerate some damage. According to experts, it is recommended to top plants in the earliest stage to manage the adverse effects it will potentially encounter. Generally, when it reaches approximately ten inches, the plant is thought to be ready for some topping.

Secondly, you can identify when topping cannabis should be made by observing the internodes. The cannabis must possess internodes around four to five pieces, and there are secondary growing going on the lower nodes. It is necessary to get the perfect timing in topping cannabis to avoid doing it too early or too late and damage the plant. However, if your plant is a clone type, then topping should be made the moment it took roots.

Don’t wait too long to top, or it may only result in a slight increase in yield or, unfortunately, decrease the outcome.

Step 2

All the tools that will be using for the procedure must be disinfected, including razors and a pair of scissors. Use rubbing alcohol for disinfecting them all to avoid any infection to cannabis. Although it is extremely rare to happen, it is better to sure than sorry.

Step 3

To start topping cannabis, the most crucial part of the process is to identify where to do the topping. It is an unwritten rule of many growers to cut the cannabis on the upper portion of the fifth node. This allows the growers to provide branches sufficiently in the lower portion and develop bush accordingly.

On the similar cannabis, when doing subsequent topping, cut the above portion of the third or second node of the branch. Afterward, constantly check and monitor the cannabis plant after topping. Make sure that the plant is directed to the energy source and allow the lower portion to have enough lighting. Due to the high stress furnish to the plant, it will take approximately a few weeks before it completely recovers. Once the plant has recovered, it is ready again for another topping cannabis. However, re-topping is something that relies on the grower and its necessity to execute.

Guide to Successful Topping 

Despite being straightforward, the growing technique does not come without risks if not properly executed. Avoid these risks to achieve successful topping. 

Avoid Acquiring Disease

Being the dangerous part of topping cannabis is acquiring and spreading the disease to the plant. This is the reason why it is necessary to disinfect the tools used. Although it is important to note that disinfecting does not guarantee an infection-free situation, but it helps reduce the chances of happening.

Support for Additional Weight

When topping, more colas will be developed, and it could add up too much weight for the plant to hold and lead to splitting of the stem. This can be prevented by directly taping the stem beneath its tallest nodes. For the subsequent topping, make sure that there are enough supporting branches that can hold greater weight by staking the branches or binding them together. 

Don’t Do Too Early

This is the reason why identifying the best period is the most crucial part of topping cannabis. If done too early, the tendency would leave the cannabis stunted and counteract the advantages of the technique. Wait patiently until the plant shows signs of its readiness for topping like the development of at least four nodes. 

Don’t Cut Too Low

It is common to mistake done by growers is to cut plants down to third nodes. Although administered by many, it only creates greater stress to the cannabis because the higher the removal happening at once, the more stress it acquires. If you are attempting to deliver manifold, you should patiently wait until six nodes are grown. For those who are aiming for regular type topping, chop it higher.

Don’t Top Unhealthy Cannabis 

No matter how much you want to increase your yield, topping cannabis is only allowed to execute on healthy plants. If applied to unhealthy cannabis, it only decreases the chances of the plant to fully recover and grow. Make sure that the plant receives nutrients and energy enough to make it healthy and thriving before attempting.


Indeed, topping cannabis is an innovative way to improve growth and achieve a bigger yield. It also allows the plant to be managed easily, especially within limited growing space. Despite having some risks, it is all worth it to try. If you are still hesitant about doing it by yourself, you can always start slowly on a few cannabis plants.

There is no harm in experimenting in small quantities and give yourself a better understanding of how the process of topping works and risks involved, which by any chance, preventing the whole cannabis plants from being damaged instead.

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