Topping Cannabis Plants – Essential Practice for High Yield  

While in the grocery store some weeks ago, I ran into an old friend that I haven’t seen in years. We tried catching up on old memories. One of such, which he cannot forget is when I showed him how to top cannabis plants. He emphasized how it increased his yield over the years. 

The truth is topping cannabis plant is one of the ways to increase your yieldBut, the best way to succeed in doing this is by learning the essential skills. You can learn from others and follow instructions. Just like any other field, you will learn by practicing and succeeding. Learning to grow your cannabis involves understanding the rules and techniques.  

In this article, we will provide accurate information on how to top the cannabis plant. It is one of the essential exercises that occur during the vegetative period in the lifecycle of a cannabis plant. Although topping has to do with cutting off a part of the plant, this is no cause for anxiety.  It will lead to a bounty harvest.  

Do not get this process confused with Fimming, this is used mostly by small scale growers whose crops are indoor. It involves the removal of new growth and requires constant clipping of the plants.   

Clipping Plant
Difference between Topping and Fimming

Topping involves cropping the stalk between two nodes (internode) this is best used when growing plants outdoors. 

Let us look at the concept of topping and why it is necessary to top your cannabis. Lastly, I will explain how and when to carry out this exercise.  

What is topping? 

Topping is a general technique that deals with the removal of the upper part of a plant. The main goal of this exercise is to prevent the plant from concentrating its nutrient on increasing its height. It begins to develop on the lower end and becomes bushier instead of becoming taller. It may seem abnormal, but the overall objective is to improve the health condition of the plant. It will result in a higher yield and high-quality buds or cola. 

Why do Growers Top  

Like the Christmas tree, the cannabis plant also grows tall if not pruned as it will concentrate all its resources in the development of one stem with one cola which produces smaller lower branches with Larfy buds. The main advantage behind this process is the redistribution of growth hormones to new offshoots from the stalk. The plant will then distribute growth hormones to developing new branches, thereby creating a bushier and even canopy. Like I mentioned earlier, the best time to top cannabis is during its vegetative period. It is the third stage in the lifecycle of your cannabis plant. 

As the plant develops, it can be topped multiple times each branch can also be topped. This will increase the overall size of the plant and produce several new branches; this technique strengthens the stalks and make them more productive. 

Topping is the most widely used technique for successful and plentiful harvesting. Whichever method you decide to use will give the overall goal of increasing the yield of the plant while improving its health status. 

Topping and Lightening   

Lighting on plants
Topped cannabis plant in light

As mentioned above, topping your cannabis plant makes it get bushier. This shape exposes the plant evenly to light and allows the plant to get broader and produce more buds.  

When to top Cannabis Plants  

Like I mentioned above, the topping process is done at the vegetative stage of your cannabis plant. At this stage, the plant would have grown enough stamina and height. As such, it will handle the stress from topping.  

Our advice is that you top your cannabis plant after they have grown up at least six nodes. At this stage, you are sure the roots have developed, and the stems have grown adequately to support the plant in the procedure.  It is best to top the plant at the 4th, 5th and 6th node where there can be sufficient light for maximum growth.  

To avoid the case of uneven dominance, make sure you avoid topping at levels higher than the 6th node.  

Required Equipment for Topping Cannabis  

Gardening shears

Topping is a sensitive event. You will have to be very accurate and neat. When topping the plant, it is best to use the proper equipment or tools like gardening shears otherwise, you could cause damage to the plant.   

How to top Cannabis Plant  

Topping starts after your plant has grown the 6th node. At this stage, your plant has developed a strong stem that can withstand the stress. If you top at the 4th node, it implies that all other nodes below the 4th node are left untouched. You will be removing nodes above node four.  

Since topping cannabis plant involves total removal of the upper growth, there will be no new development from the tip that was topped. It will automatically produce lower growth. Each node has two tips, and it implies that you have multiplied the growth tips by two (2) every time you carry out topping of your cannabis plant.  

Sterilize your snips before topping to prevent your plant from getting infected. You can do this by simply boiling water or use an open flame. But, do not use them when they are hot, give the snips a few minutes to cool.  

Now that the shears have been sterilized you are ready to top your plants. When you are ready to top your plants, it is recommended not to top right at the nodes. Top high along the stem, it will help the stem recover early enough from injury. Also, it will reduce the probability of stem splitting and getting infected.  

Topping at the base, like the forth node is much more professional; it entails the removal of a major part of the plant. I must mention that newbies are many times not comfortable with this. They prefer topping at the 6th or 7th node.  

By topping, you will have two growths shooting out. It may look like a setback, but the reverse is the case. You would have generated a new plant that is twice what it used to be before.  


Topping your cannabis plant is a pleasant event and technique that requires skill. Doing it will make your plants visually pleasing and it will also increase your harvest. It is proven that, done properly at the vegetative stage will give you your expected result because the plant is well developed and can withstand stress.  

Newbies many times see it as waste, but it will help limit the upward growth of your plant, help it become bushier and expose the plant evenly to light and increase the overall yield of your plant.  

If you are an experienced cannabis grower that has used this technique and it has increased your yield, kindly share your experience using the comment section.  



10 thoughts on “Topping Cannabis Plants – Essential Practice for High Yield  ”

  1. Wow, thanks so much for the helpful information. It does seem counterintuitive to trim back a plant in order to make it grow better, but it does make sense, as you explain it, to allow the plant to get plenty of sun and to focus on growing bushier and fuller instead of taller. Thanks for the specific advice on when and where to top the plants in order to get the best results!

  2. Hey, great article on topping. I had no idea that this is a thing. I know that other plants benefit from pruning, but I didn’t know hemp does

    A couple of years ago, farmers in my area were giving up corn to grow hemp. last year – no hemp. i don’t know what this year will bring, but has the bottom fallen out of the market?

  3. Thanks much for this extremely informative article covering everything there is to know about topping cannabis plants including why, when and how to do it. I know there will be many new novice marijuana growers who will benefit from this article that explains how the cannabis plant naturally likes to grow tall and form one big cola on top which will in turn result in larfy popcorn type buds on all the branches down to the bottom of the plant.

    There’s nothing wrong with a little larf but it’s certainly not what any grower is aiming for when they decide to pop some seeds and grow some weed.

  4. A great write up on Topping, a lot to learn from you, I never realised you could do that to a plant, by simplyy topping you redistribute the nutrient causing them to grow in a canopy-like manner rather than growing taller. I guess I am right or is it done for only cannabis alone? 

  5. As someone who has experimented with various plant management techniques, I can say that topping is definitely worth considering if you’re looking to increase your cannabis yields. It’s a simple but effective method that can help growers achieve their desired outcomes. Overall, I think this article is a great resource for anyone who is interested in cannabis cultivation and wants to learn more about effective plant management techniques.

    Are there any potential drawbacks to topping though, and if so, what are they? thank you!

  6. Thank you for sharing such informative content on topping cannabis plants. Your article is well-written and provides essential information on how to improve the yield and health status of cannabis plants through topping. I appreciate the detailed explanation of the differences between topping and fimming, as well as the advice on when and how to carry out the topping process. The use of images in the article also makes it easier for readers to understand the process. I believe your article will be helpful for both new and experienced cannabis growers who want to improve their yields. Thank you for sharing your knowledge on this topic.

  7. Hey thanks for this post!

    A friend of a friend grows cannabis for medical reasons for a company which I think is quite generous. It’s done in another country since it’s illegal where I reside. When I took a trip to the country I got to saw some awesome techniques which can be easily transferable for other plants.

    I’m going to save this for future reference so thanks for this.

    Have a great day!

  8. Wow, many thanks for the insightful details. It might seem contradictory to prune a plant to encourage greater growth, but as you say, it makes sense to let the plant receive enough of sunlight and to concentrate on becoming bushier and fuller rather than taller. I’ll share this fantastic article without a doubt.

  9. I have not had the opportunity to grow my own cannabis but am hopeful I can one day in the near future. This is a very informative article and the concept of topping is really amazing. It makes sense, with any plant, that if you prune it correctly you will get a greater yield and overall better results with your efforts of growing. Thanks for the article. I really enjoyed it!

  10. So helpful your article! I grow my cannabis plant every year to product homemade oil and cream, but never topping the plant before. I thought that this kind pf plant must grow in high and not thinking that I could improve the production by topping it. I will try for sure the next season. The question is, you write to top in the green plant season, but how can I know when is the right moment?


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