When to Top Outdoor Plants?

When to Top Outdoor Plants

In this post, I will be sharing my tips on when to top outdoor plants so read on..

Plants need some fundamental and central plant training practices. Topping is one of them. It is an excellent way to train your plants to grow horizontally and not just vertically. Plants make efficient use of sunlight after they have been topped. In this process, the top growth top from the main stem or branch of the plant is removed. Many homeowners can feel concerned about getting the growth of their plants slowed down due to cutting off the young parts of plants. However, if done properly, topping can fill the canopy faster and reduce vegetation times.

When to top outdoor plants

It is generally recommended that you should wait until your plants have six nodes before you top them. Topping is very shocking, so it is ensured that the plants should get adequate stem and root development before they receive the stress of topping.

The topping of the plant above the 4th, 5th, or 6th node is recommended. That is because of two reasons. One of the reasons is the nature of the axis, and the other reason is what is most efficient for the light. If you top higher than the 6th node, it can be problematic and can result in uneven dominance. It can also lead to a pattern that prioritizes vertical growth.

Plants like manifolds and mainlines are topped down to the third node. If you are not following those training practices and guidelines, topping below the fourth node will cause only a few branches to develop.

What is topping

Two Y-shaped branches should grow when you make cuts on the top of plants. These branches are the central stems of the plant. Some gardeners worry about losing the yield while following this practice. There is nothing to worry about because a large quantity of small flowers is formed out of these branches.

The natural growth of cannabis plants is a sort of line shape. The reason is that they have a gene for tallness. You can follow another method to train the branches outwards and make wider plants. This method is low-stress training (LTS). Still, topping is the best possible option.

Auxin hormone is known to play a crucial role in shaping plants. This harmony is produced at the tip of the main stem. All through the plant, they tickle down and stop its lateral growth. Auxins face trouble while reaching the bottom of the plant. Because of this, plants grow taller, and their lower branches grow out wider. That gives them their classic Christmas tree shape. Topping is known to remove the apex and break the apical dominance. When there is no apex side branches will show better growth.

Tools for topping

It is important to have the right tools and equipment with you before you carry on the process. Have a pair of pruning snips with you because these are the number one tool for trimming the harvest. Every grower owns a pair of these snips because they are the best on the market. There is also a non-stick version of pruning snips available. Its non-stick feature helps when you are cutting the sticky, resinous colas.

Make sure you clean the tools efficiently before you use them for topping. The pruning scissors have to be sharp because they are going to give clean cuts. If the tools are infected with bacteria, plants can also get the infection. That is the reason why tools should be sterilized first.

Benefits of topping

The topping technique is quite simple, and any gardener can master it. It has a lot of benefits for your plants and garden. There is a remarkable difference between the plants that have been topped and the plants that haven’t been topped. You can get bigger yields, more cola, and more flowering nodes from the topped plants.

Some parts of plants need more energy than others. Topping makes sure that the energy is delivered to the right part of the plant. The top of the plant usually blocks the light, and the lower parts of the plant fail to receive that part of the light. Topping provides those neglected parts with enough light. Topping can be referred to as a way to control your plants’ production without risking their health.

When to Top Outdoor Plants

How to top the plants

After you grab your tools, pick the spot where you have to cut. Get rid of the newest growth from the main stem. Topping can result in two new branches coming out of the cut. Another process known as ‘fimming’ can help you get more stems. If you practice filming, you can get as many as nine new stems.

Your plant must have 5 to 7 nodes if you are going to top it. This number of nodes decides the strength of the plant. The good health of plants is very crucial for topping to be done successfully. Topping usually stresses out the plants. Therefore, sturdy plants are required. You should not top too low depending on the strain auxins that can still be present. They may give rise to vertical growth again.

Gardeners cut the plant above the 5th leaf node so that it is strong enough to deal with the pressure. Make sure the plant is 30 days old. If so, a nice amount of lower branches are also left that can grow outwards. Once you have topped one branch, you can keep up with the process and continue topping both the created branches. The second and third nodes will have to go through the topping if they want to grow strong. The secondary topping maximizes the yield, and only professional gardeners can do that effectively.

Plants need to go through the recovery after the topping, so keep a close eye on them and ensure that you are meeting their needs.


Should I top my plants before flowering?

First of all, let your plants grow untouched during the vegetative phase. Then, give them topping before flowering. This step is crucial as it controls their height. All the branches should be topped when your plants are about to enter the flowering stage. That has the effect of reigning in the flower stretch.

When should you top the second time?

As soon as the plant looks strong enough to bear the stress of topping, start the process. Top it and train it. If you see secondary growth at the lower nodes, it is a sign that you can top the plant without any harm. After the plant has formed the fifth pair of leaves, you can get rid of the main shoot.

Does topping increase the yield?

There have been different schools of thought regarding the relation of yield with the topping. Some people have the claim that topping doesn’t increase the yield. The reason is that the colas get smaller every time you top. But there have also been some observations about cumulative yield being higher when you top your plants.

Are topping plants worth it?

Every grower has a primary goal of getting an increase in quantity and quality of its yield. Topping can increase the yield whether you have indoor plants or outdoors. The overall shape of a plant is also controlled by this tool of topping. The reason is that it redirects the growing tendency from vertical to lateral.


Topping the plants at the right time is very crucial if you want their healthy and rich growth. When the plants have developed between 3-5 nodes, you can start topping them. This gap is recommended because this is when the roots and stems of your plant are strong enough to recover from the stress of the process. It has been observed that plants reach this size after around 30 days of the vegetative phase.

Noah Burns

I am Noah Burns- The Guy behind I will Make You Smart. I love to experiment and test new products with an aim to create informative contents for readers like you. It is my aim to make this site a leading source of information and reviews to help consumers make more informed buying decisions.

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