When to Top a Cannabis Plant

When to Top a Cannabis Plant

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Knowing exactly when to top a cannabis plant is one of the most important factors which will determine the success of your mission.

Nevertheless, you also need to employ the most suitable approach in order to top your marijuana plants the right way.

It is critical to understand that in the case you top your cannabeauties too early or too late, you expose your precious ladies to suffering a great shock.

And while the initial stress related to topping in the early stages of your plants’ development can be handled, shocking your emerald princesses during flowering can be fatal.

Keep reading and by the end of this article, you will be able to top your cannabeauties like a pro!

#1 – How to Tell When to Top a Cannabis Plant for Best Results?

Okay, so you may use topping to turn your main kola into 2 brilliant new buds-to-be.

What’s more, you can also apply topping to lateral branches, as well.

Doing so will help you get another type of appearance, for example, something more bushy than tall.

As a rule of thumbs, you only want to top healthy and well-developing plants.

If your green goddesses are exhibiting signs of nutrient deficiency or surplus or an overall slowed down growth, as well as any other abnormal symptoms, then simply restrict from topping.

That’s because once you top your plants, you will inevitably shock them.

And while this shock is nothing to worry about with strong plants, recovery can become very hard for weak cannabis plants.

On another note, you can’t top your weed cuties when they are still too immature.

Thus, you need to wait until you see at least 3-4 nodes. Those nodes are where new leaves emerge.

However, experts in cannabis cultivation also do recommend that you wait until you notice at least 5-6 of the nodes


When your cannabeauties have already started nurturing more than 4 nodes, they are much stronger and able to recover better.

Nevertheless, you can also check the roots as a guide of your plants’ ability to overcome the stress from topping better.

If you can already spot the roots emerging at the bottom of the pot, then you are most likely good to go with topping.

A well-developed root system will make your green babies much more topping-tolerant.

Keep in mind that your choice of marijuana strain also plays a key role in your plants’ readiness for topping.

For example, vigorously growing strains can tolerate early topping very well.

But in the case you are taking care of a particular strain, which requires more time in terms of growth patterns, then you’d better avoid early topping operations.

Otherwise, you risk further slowing down the development of your green ladies.

On another note, all of the topping guidance listed so far do not apply much when it comes to autoflowering cannabis strains.

Autoflower cannabis topping is recommended only if you have previous experience with auto weed varieties.

Since the life cycle of autoflowering marijuana plants reaches flowering in almost ½ the time regular weed species do, topping with absolute precision is required.

#2 – When to Avoid Topping Marijuana Plants

Now, so far we made it clear that as marijuana growers, we want to top only healthy plants, right?

That’s an easy-peasy one but all the rest of the tips on when to avoid topping marijuana plants are just that effortless to apply, too!

Next, you only need to remember that topping during the flowering stage is a big NO-NO.

I mean, a really very big one, not that Caps Lock dimension font.

Once you have switched to the 12-12 light vs darkness hours and trigger flowering – simply forget about topping!

All your emerald princesses need now is to focus on the already existing buds.

If you top during flowering, the stress will cause your cannabeauties to use energy on recovery, just like it was during vegetation.

But this time, that very recovery deprives your buds of energy, spent on their development!

Then what about autoflowering strains which enter flowering without the need of the 12-12 hours of light and darkness?

Indeed, the lack of photoperiod affects autoflowers tremendously.

As autos transition fairly quick from vegetation to flowering as if you just press a switch button ON, topping can pretty much cripple your green beauties.

The autoflowering plants just don’t have enough time to recover, that’s that! Instead, they jump from stage to another in no time and if you lack absolute precision – you miss the right moment to top.

The Bottom Line

Hip hip hooray, buddies, you’ve made it through the basics of when to top a cannabis plant! Didn’t hurt, right?

In fact, topping is as easy as brushing your teeth.

It is the timing which is more important as to ensure your marijuana plants will then flourish.

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