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Topping Marijuana Plants Can Increase Your Yield

Topping Marijuana Plants Can Increase Your Yield

Topping marijuana is typically misunderstood by most growers. A single growing shoot might produce a larger individual cola, topping the plant gives you 4 colas that can soak up the best light intensity. The entire plant, in general, is allowed to get more light and produce bigger buds. Although individual colas might not be as large, the cumulative yield is much greater than an un-topped plant.

It’s vital that you top the plants early on so that you get a solid start. When my clones take root properly and start to grow out, I cut out the meristem, which divides the plant into 2 growing shoots. Growth will slow initially, but the plant will eventually become stronger and yield more. If you top low enough, the marijuana plant will create 4 growing shoots. Download my free grow bible for more marijuana pruning techniques.

Although most strains take well to topping, some don’t. Really short, slowly-growing indicas like Urkle simply take a long time to grow when topped. Even so, we can usually expect 5 ounces per plant with this method. To put it plainly, all plants improve with topping, but certain slow-growing strains may take a while to mature properly.

Topping Marijuana Plants Can Increase Your Yield

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The key with most strains is to top early (around 10 inches with a few internodes). This allows the plant to keep a low profile while also providing the optimal amount of bud sites that receive the best light. Another benefit is that you don’t need as many plants to entirely fill up a room. Medical limits often make it more beneficial to have fewer plants that can give you the same yields as more plants.

Seedlings are slightly different. It’s important to let the seedling develop and grow at least 4 to 5 internodes prior to topping. Topping a seedling too early will shock a plant, slow down the growth process, and waste a ton of time. A seeded plant should be given enough time to take root properly and produce a few sets of fan leaves. I generally wait until I see roots coming out of the drain holes before I top.

If you want start growing, download my free grow guide and order some marijuana seeds at this link here. We ship seeds to the US, CA and many other countries. For any growing related question please visit the marijuana support page.


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Comment Section

21 thoughts on “Topping Marijuana Plants Can Increase Your Yield

By latewood on 25 April 2014

I like the idea that you mention the medical limit some growers must endure. Thus; This technique is very sound.

I would like to throw an alternative to cutting the top off. But 1st, I want to say. I use all the techniques we discuss here. If I am using this method, topping the plant, I take the tops and root them, save them, after marking both the topped plant, and the cutting; Then I veg them 2 weeks then switch to 12/12 photo period, and sex them. This a great way to produce MOM's

Ok! My alternative to topping for massive yield. Take your finger and thumb and place it an inch or 2 under the top Kola...squeeze hard enough to break down the structural integrity of the plant stem. I actually work the stem untill it lays over. Most would panic, but I learned this by accident years ago...The top will; Within 2 days turn upward; The top will point up; The break will become a big knuckle and hold the massive top up. This advanced technique will give you 8 Kolas. I have seen this technique used in a 6 gallon bubbler and rpoduce over 5 pounds wet, and just over a LB.; Dry. Take a chance.

By Stephane on 25 April 2014

Wow ! That's is impressive. Would you have a video of this ?

By latewood on 25 April 2014

I omitted the fact that the advanced technique of bending over the top Kola, should be done around the 3-4 week of flower when top Kola is massive caompared the the secondary kolas.

By Granny Smoke on 9 June 2014

I'm brand new at this. I planted a few seeds I got from a bag and they actually grew! :-). So I'm now very excited to do this right so I feel confident purchasing seed and growing an abundance of wicked medicine. Here is what I'm trying to figure out. They are about 2" tall right now. Im Growing outdoors in the Seattle area. When should i pinch the top? I want to be good at this as i would lime to become licensed in the future for supply.

By GOMER GENTRY on 18 December 2014


By tom major on 23 April 2015

I've a Lady growing at the moment that decided to top herself after first leaves proper..she is now on Day 1 Week 2 Flowering.. n.lightsXcritical

By Kendog on 29 August 2015

Even better yet late wood.
Bend, supercrop, knuckle your plants in veg, that way the side shoots will grow level with your top bud/buds that you knuckled and whilst in flower you won't slow down the process of it growing bigger. I never damage plants in flower as it will slow it down. That's why veg is better as it will have time to heal and not slow down bud production.
One love

By doug on 23 September 2015

Yes I agree with this comment never break in flower slows it down way to much I do I my topping in veg room and it seem I have incorporated all these methods in to my growing and have had great success with these methods thank you Robert

By latewood on 2 September 2015

"Knuckle" Love it! 🙂 The 2 times I achieved over a LB for a plant; I knuckled it. i.e I bent the top stem over until it broke. All 2ndary kolas went crazy and provided the same weight as the main kola.

By doug on 23 September 2015

I agree to this comment I think you should pinch in veg not flowering slows the plants down way too much I have done all these methods of knuckling pinching and topping at the same time and it felt like this gives me way great with your plant they will tell you what they like and what they dont ...I also tie my plants down..put srews in side of bucket and take fishing line and grab a branch pull down to level and hold keep there intil it will stay on its own. This gives you a lot more tops ....have fun

By Big Beau on 29 April 2018

Fuck yeah I'm big on a tie down and light trim with mine.scared to top them but if it means more bud I'm of to prune.happy times


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By Matthew on 16 May 2017

So I topped my plant and have been thinking if you top and bend the plant down and the other shoots come in and grow a few nodes can you top those or do you just top the tops when topping more then once? I've already done it so if nobody answers I'll be finding out anyway

By latewood.ILGM on 17 May 2017


Topping is generally done once but, these days many growers feel that they get an advantage by topping secondary branches as well. It all is a matter of growers personal choice, and you should do what fits your grow space, and method of growing.

Me personally, I would only top the main kola, then I would revert to super cropping instead of continuously stressing the plant by topping over and over.

Happy growing.– I❤️GM

By Greenlantern on 7 February 2018

I have auto flower northern lights going. Would you recommend topping these? My understanding is this stain is supposed to be short anyway.

By latewood_ILGM on 8 February 2018


You are not supposed to top auto flower plants. Stressing an auto flower can stifle and/or stop growth, the plant will flower, and finish with minimal yield.

Happy growing 🙂

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