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The Topping Subject

Who tops?
Which node do you prefer to top at-first?
How many times do you top?
When. Where. Why. How. Go!

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We usually top at the 3rd or 4th set of leaves, I find it matters to top in the right way.

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Isn’t that too early though? Won’t the shock be more impactful on such a young plant other than an older one?

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I would top a lot indoor, very bonsai like in veg to get the wide shape that I want to maximize a canopy.

Outdoor it seems unnecessary, the light intensity really seems to cause them to get wider rather than taller. I do plan to experiment with topping outdoor this year.

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Nah, they tolerate pruning better than most plants. General nursery rule of thumb is no more than 1/3 at a time. I broke a field plant down to 3 tiny nodes at the base, killing roughly 3/4 of the plant. It has regrown 3 new branches just as tall as the original in less than a week. I don’t even think it stalled before regrowing.

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I don’t top I scrog. Might too a few this summer to compare.

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We have always topped at them points, you need to top early to get lots of budding branches.

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Didn’t top these 3 Sour Diesels, trained under low scrog net





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The further you bend the main stem until it reaches horizontal, the more branching you will get without topping. This espalier technique was first used in France for fruit trees, growing them on trellises and trained along wires to be harvested like grapes.

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I don’t believe you will be let down! Especially with the use of scrog!

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I’ve found doing both becomes quite substantial! :slight_smile:

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We’ve found that SCROG is too labor intensive for a large scale grow. (We do well without it at least)

So we have learned to top on a pretty set schedule for some strains…usually once at about 8 nodes, and then once a week until the plants have been topped the desired amount. This seems to produce nice strong plants that require minimal staking, and do not need netting to support what is essentially a SCROG canopy. That’s not to say we cannot benefit from netting…but a cost benefit analysis is still needed for that one.

Of course some strains don’t respond well to topping so we don’t touch them and their structure/yield is better than when we try to top.

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Agreed. Low cost wins the day.

I have absolutely no need to even stake outdoor plants. I think our steady wind keeps them strong and upright.

The only thing I would do is bind a row back with T-posts and jute if they exceed their canopy. The benefit is worth the cost in this scenario. I expect it would only cost about $1200-$1500 to bind every row.

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My preference has been to top once a week in veg, starting at the 2nd or 3rd week, depending on plant height. Then in the bloom cycle to scrog to take advantage of the top branches. This combo has paid off with very nice yields per plant.

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Wow great work!

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Thanks for the kind words.

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I have a hard time not topping to be honest. I mean, why not double that apically dominant stem?

I totally agree with @tsunamitropicalsltd and did this recently with a plant. It ended up looking a bit like a botanical menorah!

I recently harvested a very small high CBD strain that I topped as an experiment right at the first leaf. I know, crazy. But it grew and had nice solid buds on it. But … the buds were filled with seeds! One wee nug had 10 seeds in it :slight_smile: So … I think perhaps that topping so close down was way too stressful.

Oh well, I’ll use them to grow or I’ll sprout them and eat them.

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Indoor topping similar to bonsai for sure, I once created a living spring like mother by trimming and training just for the pleasure of watching her dance :blush:

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My rule has always been to top at three whorls of leaves. It seems to reduce shock and promote a strong stem.
My bigger issue is topping side branches.
I test grew an early high CBD strain 18 months ago that grew so fast that I was topping each branch weekly. I kept them under 6’ tall and very bushy but the buds were everywhere and very loose. I think that I described them as “popcorn”’. It would probably be a great strain for whole plant processing for extract but I wished that I grew a couple untouched to see what their true shape and size would have been. But it was winter indoors and under LED lights and I am limited to a 6’ maximum plant height.
If you are interested, look for Candida on the Seedsman.com website.

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Thank you!

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