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How To Top A Marijuana Plant

May 20, 2021 4 min read

how to top a marijuana plant

When growing your own harvest of marijuana, it is important to know different techniques based on how you’d like your bud to grow. It is essential that the right environment is created, the plants are tended to appropriately and to take it one step further, there are ways to further stimulate the best growing pattern for your bud babies. Here is what you need to know on how to top a marijuana plant - if you are still in the early stages, check out the easiest strains to grow for beginners to really get a jumpstart on a successful harvest!

What is topping a marijuana plant?

Topping is the term used when cutting off the main stalk of the marijuana plant in order for it to yield more into a healthier grow. Why is topping a marijuana plant necessary? Because if it were to be left naturally or to grow on its own, the weed plant will focus all of its energy into the main cola, or bud site, and not yield much other colas as healthy. 

When topping your marijuana plant, you allow it to spread its energy and nutrients to the side and into all parts of the plant, thus creating more of a bush with plentiful little bud babies. Not topping your marijuana plant will also cause it to grow vertically, which is why the main cola experiences growth being located at the top of the plant, but the other parts of the plant are left with less nutrients. 

How to top a marijuana plant

The vegetative stage is the time to properly top a marijuana plant since this is the period that redistributes growth hormones from growing vertically and instead promotes lateral growth into a flourishing bush of buds. Ideal conditions for successful growth is good soil, proper watering and overall good timing in topping each plant.

You’ll want to top a marijuana plant when it reaches about six to eight nodes. A node is where branches grow from the main stem and often grows in pairs. If you decide to top a plant too early and before it reaches six nodes, it will not be fully developed or able to survive the shock of cutting off the main stalk. If a marijuana plant is topped too late (after eight nodes), majority of the energy growth is already happening vertically and cutting off the main stalk will just be cutting off the main energy pathway, making it unable to redirect the energy source laterally like it should when a marijuana plant is timely topped. 

Here are some friendly reminders prior to topping a marijuana plant:

  • Cut the plant above the fifth node to give enough side branches to be able to grow in a lateral direction.
  • If topping a marijuana plant consecutively, make sure each side branch is cut above the second to third node to promote proper lateral growth.

Step by step, here is how to top a marijuana plant:

  • Disinfect and prepare topping tools. A sharp razor blade or pair or pruning scissors will do the trick, just make sure to disinfect the blade with rubbing alcohol and prepare to make one clean cut without promoting an infection in the plant.
  • Know and mark where to cut and top your plant. One you locate the fourth or fifth node, cut above the node to start the topping process!
  • Monitor your freshly topped marijuana plant.Keep an eye on your topped marijuana plant for a few days and make sure it is properly growing in the right direction and feed it lots of water and nutrients to help handle the shock of cutting off the main stalk. If you decide to subsequently top the same marijuana plant, it is advised to wait a couple of weeks to recover from the initial topping effects. Again, providing your plant with soil and enough water should help the topping process go as smoothly as it can.
  • Is topping the same as pruning?

    Topping a marijuana plant and pruning a marijuana plant are different as pruning involves removing dead or non-growth parts of the plant that are not helpful to the overall growth of the plant, while topping is meant for stimulating a different kind of growth and promoting more yield and even changing the direction of your plant growth which ultimately is doing much more than what pruning is known for. Pruning is an excellent way to maintain your beautiful and growing plant masterpiece, but topping is an essential part of a successful harvest as it promotes and stimulates more yield and bud babies all around. 

    Why should you top a marijuana plant

    Marijuana plants often need extra TLC and as fellow stoners we should know a thing or two about how to take care of our weed babies. Topping a marijuana plant helps to promote growth throughout the plant and not just towards the main cola at the top, which yields more weed for your smoking pleasure. Growing a marijuana plant is no easy task but knowing how to do things like how to top your marijuana plant is valuable information to successfully harvest a good crop. Pro tip: keep a journal of every strain you try to grow as each can change a bit in its growing patterns. Practice makes perfect and the more you know the better! To best prepare for your upcoming weed harvest, be sure to get the Bud to Bud Subscription Box to stock up on essential smoking supplies for when your marijuana plant is ready!


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