a close up of a bud that will form a flower

Topping your plants

Topping is a commonly used technique among growers. By removing excess tops, the plant makes two new side branches. This way your plant grows less in height and more in width.

If you want to top we highly recommend working sterile. This is important because you essentially create a wound when topping. By working sterile, the chance of transmitting diseases to your plant is lower. Keep in mind that you should only top a plant if it is in excellent condition. Else it is a lot more susceptible to pathogens. Therefore, always make sure your material and hands are disinfected when topping. You can also wear plastic gloves.
 

When can you top the best?

The best time to top plant is during the growth phase. During this period, the plant uses energy to develop branches. Thus, side branches will grow quicker when topping. You can also choose to top during the first two weeks of the flowering phase. The plant undergoes a growth spurt during this time. After these two weeks, topping is no longer wise. Your plants then need all their energy and nutrients to develop fruits.
 

How to top?

We recommend topping your plant if it has developed at least four internodes. An internode is a piece of stem between two nodes. A node is a place on the stem where side branches grow. So if your plant has five side branches, you can start topping. To top, remove the entire fruit development. You can use a pair of scissors, a knife or another sharp object. You could even use your fingers. After removing the fruit development, your plant will create two new side tops. Do these side tops have at least four internodes? Then you can also remove the new fruit developments. Instead of one main top, you now have four smaller side tops.
 

Advantages of topping

  • Instead of one main top, your plant creates multiple side tops. Energy is therefore better divided across your plant. The combined yield of the side tops is usually larger than that of a single main top.
  • Your plant grows in width rather than in height. Some plants can grow to be very large. Because of this, they cannot be grown in a small space. Topping your plants circumvents this problem. 
  • Because your plants grow in width, they catch light over a larger surface. Because the plants absorb more light, they can create more sugars through photosynthesis. The more sugars a plant has available, the quicker it can grow.
  • Because there are multiple tops, the chance of toprot is reduced. 

Disadvantages of topping

  • Topping inhibits the growth of your plants. The growth and flowering phase may be extended. This is because your plants need to recover.
  • When your plant has just been topped, it is more vulnerable to diseases. This lasts until the wound has fully closed. 

Tips

  • It is not advisable to top automatic flowers. This is because they have a short life span. Topping them may affect your yield.
  • Topping always cause your plant a little stress. Therefore, do not replant your plants right after topping.
a close up of a bud that will form a flower
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