When you grow outdoors or indoors if you have lots of side lighting and/or light penetration, the Christmas tree shape isn’t so bad.
But in most cases you can get more total bud weight per cannabis plant using a process called topping.
Topping means you cut the topmost stalk of your marijuana plant just above the place where a stem set comes out of it. This place is known as a “node.”
When you cut your main stalk right above a node (see illustration below), two slightly-smaller main stalks will sprout from the remains. Each of these stalks will grow as if they were a main stalk.
There are many benefits from topping marijuana. One of the most important is you keep your plant height down.
Topping creates a shorter, bushier marijuana plant. In indoor hydroponics grow rooms with limited vertical space, the shorter the plant the better.
But the plant isn’t just shorter, it’s rounder.
When you top ancillary stems around the main stem to create a circular canopy for each of your marijuana plants, you get a barrel-shaped plants with multiple heads that will each develop into a large bud.
You can see in the illustrations how to do a single topping, and how to do multiple toppings.
In some cases, depending on the age of your grow phase marijuana plants, the growing conditions, and the cannabis plants’ genetics, you’d allow them to get slightly taller and have a few more nodes before you top them.
In some cases when I had pure Sativa or Sativa-dominant strains, I topped when the plant only had 2-3 nodes.
Topping Multiple Times
You top your marijuana plants using sterilized scissors or a cutting blade just like the ones you use when you clone. You’re looking for a clean cut just above the node.
Feed your marijuana plants B-52 vitamin booster, Rhino Skin, and Bud Candy just after topping to help them recover from the surgery and to help them build the infrastructure they need for multiple tops.
And because you’re creating dense, round super-plants consider using slightly more nutrients and bloom boosters to support these unnaturally bushy super marijuana plants.
Be aware that because cutting forces your plants to do new growth, it also means your plants need slightly longer in veg phase.
Also, if you top your plants too close to when you want to start bloom phase, your cannabis plants may have slightly delayed onset of blooming and flowering.
Topping is especially smart when you have lots of horizontal light distribution, and especially if you live in a place where the law limits the number of marijuana plants, topping means you have fewer plants with more flowering tops…a perfect reciper for heavier marijuana harvests.