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Topping Cannabis Tutorial for Beginners

Every grower wants more yields and the only way to get more is to grow more buds. Topping cannabis is one of the most common ways to train cannabis plants for better yields. Topping is used by expert growers and also by breeders as it’s effective for almost all cannabis strains. How topping is done and some tips for topping will be discussed in this guide.

More Reasons for Topping Cannabis

Aside from enhancing your yields, topping also helps to improve the shape of cannabis plants. This method creates a flat top or plant surface instead of growing a typical Christmas tree-shape plant. And this flat surface helps light to reach all potential bud sites which improve bud growth and eventually, enhance yields.

Topping is best for people who have barely enough room to grow cannabis. It’s for people who grow cannabis inside tents, cabinets, closets, and any tight, stealth space. One plant, multiple yields, this is what topping has in store for you.

Can All Cannabis Strains be Topped?

Not all strains can endure topping especially sensitive and finicky strains. Topping temporarily stresses plants as you will cut the top cola to produce more bud sites. Some very sensitive plants will have a hard time to recover leading to poor growth, delayed flowering and poor harvests.

Is Topping for All Growers?

Topping can only be done by experienced growers. It’s not a simple training method for all growers. If you have barely enough skill to top then practice on one plant first before you top all your plants. And the topping is not the only training method you can use. Another method is fimming which is more stressful than topping. We’ll discuss this a bit later.

How to Top Your Plants

Before you top your plants, make sure you select the best plant for the task. Choose the best candidate with

  • No nutritional deficiencies – there must be no signs of nutrient deficiencies or toxicity.
  • A plant that’s growing well – the plant must be growing 4 to 5 sets of leaves. This is the best time to top.
  • A plant that’s drinking and feeding well – there must be no signs of underwatering or overwatering.
  • No signs of mold or mildew and pests – take note that topping is stressful. If you were to top an already stressed plant due to molds and pests, the plant will never survive.

Also, you need proper tools like the following:

  • Sharp pair of scissors or trimmers
  • Magnifying lens
  • Lighting
  • Flat working area


  1. Place the plant you have selected on the top of your working area.
  2. Make sure you have enough light to work with. Adjust the light to shine on the area where you will top to avoid mistakes.
  3. Use a magnifying glass if you find it hard to spot the best place to top. Topping is done right under the main bud site or cola which is the topmost part of the plant.
  4. Now, with one hand, hold the top cola to see the place to cut. With your other hands, cut directly under the main cola. Cut using one swift motion.
  5. Place the plant back in the growing tent or cabinet and shine a light on the area that was topped.
  6. Your plant has been topped. Wait till a few days to see the fruit of your labor.

You can tell that topping was successful when the topped main stalk has divided itself into two. Each of these will become new bud sites. Because of the intense lighting, the new bud sites will be able to develop fast.

Can You Top Your Plants Again and Again?

The answer is yes. You can top your plants the second, third, or fourth time and actually, this is what most experienced growers do. But they do this in such a way that the plant gets to rest for days before another top is done. Remember, topping stresses plants, and thus, you need to give your plants time to recover from this stress.

To top your plants the second, third, and nth times, follow these steps:

  1. Once the two bud sites that came from the first top has been fully formed or the two distinct bud sites are seen, take your plant to a level table to prepare for the cut.
  2. Use a magnifying glass to determine exactly where you will top. Use a lamp if you can barely see the part to avoid mistakes.
  3. You will now cut each of the two new bud sites to create four new bud site, one for each. And just like the first time you did this, make a swift, easy cut.
  4. When you’re done, place the plant back in your growing tent or closet and let a bright, intense light shine on your plant.
  5. Follow the instructions to make the third, fourth, and fifth top. Just ensure there’s enough time for your plants to rest before you top again.

Some Important Tips About Topping

The topping should be done carefully to avoid too much stress to plants. Some growers help their plants by tying the new bud sites once these are visible.

Remember that topping stresses plants and thus, you must compensate by using consistent, warm lighting and the right nutrients or fertilizer for your plants. Avoid changes in temperature and humidity inside the growing area because these can significantly stress plants. Top only healthy, hardy plants and never those that look sickly or stressed to get the best results.

What is FIMming?

Fimming is cutting directly under the top cola. This cut won’t produce two bud sites but will make four sites instead. Fimming is very effective in improving yields but is very stressful and is recommended only for experienced growers.

Topping cannabis skills may be perfected when you practice regularly. It’s natural to make mistakes the very first times you top. Use quality topping equipment to ensure success and always work in a well-lighted area to prevent any costly mistakes.

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