Home Forums Cannabis Cultivation Pros and cons of topping plants

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    • #3108
      Brad104
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      Points: 786

      I personally top my plants, for I prefer more top buds than 1 main cola.I also understand it’s con of setting the plant back from the stress you place on the plants when you high stress train.Your thoughts on this matter please.

    • #3190
      Atom
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      Points: 691

      I usually just LST with some butcher twine. But sometimes I do top and/or super crop. I’ve been trying out this technique from Kyle kushman called Kushman chiropractic. Basically you pop the stems, sometimes similar to super crop, and it creates a bumb that makes plant stronger and increased nutrient flow.

      • #5008
        Somatek
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        Points: 6,637

        That sounds exactly like super cropping as Soma described it in his HT articles in the 90’s/early 2000’s, how does Kushman’s tech differ or has he just rebranded the old school?  While I know the theory is the knuckle increases nutrient flow I’ve never actually seen anything to back it up as it’s more likely just added callous tissue that’s purely structural.

      • #5044
        Atom
        Participant
        Points: 691

        I’m not sure who soma is but it is different from super crop. You don’t bend or anything it’s just to create a wound that will heal and allow more nutrients to flow and make a stronger plant. He explains it like it’s similar to when you break a bone. Your body heals back in that spot so strong you can never break it again in the same spot.. which also made my think, if our body’s can do that, why not just make unbreakable bones from the start?

      • #5065
        Somatek
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        Points: 6,637

        Resource management I’d guess, the harder the bone the more energy has to go into making them, bigger muscles to compensate for added weight, etc.  Instead we evolved our brains so we can figure out how to avoid breaking our fragile bodies.

        Soma is the grower/breeder who invented/promoted super cropping and also “living soil” long before it was a trendy/marketable selling point and it was simply organic growing.  His book discussed making 4×4 water proof trays with a layer of hydroton on the bottom and PVC tubs in the corners to aerate the soil, with a bed of organic soil on top.  Rock Bud, one of the parents of Rock Star, was his creation along with Lavender OG.

        So you break the vascular bundles/pith without causing it to bend/droop?  Have you done side by side comparisons as the idea “to create a wound that will heal and allow more nutrients to flow and make a stronger plant.” is almost verbatim what Soma would say but I never saw it pan out it side by side grows.

      • #5068
        Keith
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        Points: 6,116

        What is the book?

      • #5078
        NeuroticTurtle
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        Points: 1,665

        I think he’s talking about Organic Marijuana, Soma Style: The Pleasures of Cultivating Connoisseur Cannabis

      • #5101
        Somatek
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        Points: 6,637

        That’s the one, Soma and DJ Short both released a book about how they grow/breed under Ed Rosenthal’s label.  Lovely little books but sadly Soma’s is hard to find now.

      • #5079
        Atom
        Participant
        Points: 691

        Yep you just pop it trying to cause as little damage as possible. I did it with my current grow and I’ll look for some spots where I popped but lights off atm. I will say it works tho. The plants never dropped or showed stress at all that I noticed. It may have slowed growth I just didn’t notice.

        He very likely learned it from this soma fella. The only book I have read for plants is indoor outdoor bible. I’ve had this book for much longer than I’ve grown, my brother and i bought it in our early smoking days.  Other techniques I’ve learned from old school growers from the 80s and online. I’ll have to check him out. Subcool got super soil from him?

      • #5103
        Somatek
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        Points: 6,637

        Subcool’s super soil is based on Vic High’s recipe/the BCGA (BC Grower’s Association which was a group of breeders on cannabisworld.com before it got shut down along with the OG overgrow.com after Heaven’s Stairway was busted by the RCMP in ’06) which he changed slightly.  I can’t remember Soma’s soil mix but I believe he used supplemental fertilizers as well.

        Thanks for sharing, I’ll look up Kushman’s variation and figure out a good side by side comparison.  I’m curious how much it affects the brix as theoretically we’d see a slight drop as the plant repairs the damage and then an increase after if it’s making nutes more available as suggested.  Brix meter’s are far from essential to grow but are lovely when it comes to creating data from side by side comparison instead of just having to rely on anecdotal experience.

    • #3235
      Racky
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      Points: 2,469

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    • #3263
      Keith
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      Points: 6,116

      I think it’s a very good idea.  Even if it doesn’t give you a bigger harvest it spreads out the buds making more but smaller buds.  Which would decrease your chances of getting bud rot bc you’ve got massive buds growing up top.  This current grow I topped twice for the first time.

      • #3311
        Brad104
        Participant
        Points: 786

        Your plants are great looking @racky I am just giving credit where credit is due! You have a green thumb bro, at least it’s my opinion after seeing the plants you’ve grown. Just fantastic work bro you should be proud!😁

    • #3279
      Nate
      Participant
      Points: 470

      I definitely like to top my plants, especially since I’m working with a limited space/plant count. If I were to do a sog or something similar where I wanted a short veg time I’d probably skip the topping.

    • #5003
      Cannabliss
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      Points: 4,165

      I love topping! It gives the lower branches the opportunity to become main tops. Only the strong survive.

    • #5010
      Somatek
      Participant
      Points: 6,637

      Whether you top, FIM, LST, supercrop, scrog or SoG the end goal is the same; create an even canopy for even light distribution so the plants aren’t crowded/shading each other and focus their growth on flowers not stretching to get more light by out competing their neighbours.  They all have their pros and cons; scrog is easy but locks plants in plant and makes access harder, topping/LST/super cropping slow growth temporarily and require more skill to do properly, SoG is simply but more work taking excessive amounts of clones, etc.

      I’d be growing in a SoG if plant counts didn’t limit us.  As is I use a combination of topping, FIM and either LST or scrog to shape the canopy as needed.  Although for LST I wrap the branches/stems with coated wire so I can bend and shape as needed the same way bonsai growers do, which is where I learned it.

    • #5016
      Brad104
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      Points: 786

      That’s exactly how I done my 4 peyote gorilla plants I just did after last, topping and a few knuckles formed from broken branches,not cause I super cropped.I promise each and everyone of you.I yeilded a 1lb of dry flower product.They each received a 1/4 of a pound per plant.I was happy with the end result.So I have to admit, I top a lot of my gals, for I like 6 or so mane tops after topping and Lst,so I am extremely happy to do both practices.on most of my plants every grow!

    • #5090
      NeuroticTurtle
      Participant
      Points: 1,665

      Good lord I should’ve topped my plants earlier, and probably started piding the remainder earlier.  The three nodes I left are like 3-4 feet long now, and I’m running out of room to curve them into the empty space with the other plant in the 4×4.

      • #5112
        Somatek
        Participant
        Points: 6,637

        You’d be amazed at how bendable plants are, you’ve just created a learning experience not a mistake lol.  I’ll go check and see if I have a plant I can demonstrate my wiring technique which gives you a lot of control over shaping a plant.  I have some gangly ones myself I need to control as I’m still learning how to grow with LED’s

      • #5126
        Somatek
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        Points: 6,637

        First step is super cropping all the branches that need to be shaped.  Pinch the stem between your fingers and roll it back and forth to break the connective tissue in the vascular bundles and the inner pith (you’ll hear it snap).  I worked these branches a lot as I need to do a lot of shaping to make it manageable (new clone, new lights, lots of big nodes that need to be tightened up), so I kept rolling until I could twist it all the way around once or twice.  Having masking/paper/painters tape handy is useful if you snap a branch accidentally and need to repair it, as long as it doesn’t break off entirely they’ll usually heal but this technique does take some skill.

        Next I take a piece of coated wire longer then the branch, maybe 25% roughly but it depends how thick the branch is as you need to make tighter loops to compensate for thick/hard to move branches/stalks.  Start by wrapping one end around the stem to anchor it and the up around the branch, making sure the wire falls between the nodes so it doesn’t block/damage any growing shoots.  Hold the wire pinched to the branch with one hand and use the other to wrap/guide the wire into place around the branch working towards the tip.  You’ll notice in the pic above that the wire isn’t tight to the stem, make sure there’s some gaps around it as pot grows quickly and you don’t want the wire cutting off the vascular bundles as the branch thickens.  At first periodically check to make sure it’s not to tight, if it is getting a bit tight pinch the wire and stem below where it needs to be loosened and twist the wire in the opposite direction that it’s coiled to create some space.  Once the branch is fully wrapped you can shape it as needed, making a zig zap pattern to reduce it’s length.

        Or creating a spiral if you want a short bushy plant…

      • #5133
        Somatek
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        Points: 6,637

        That’s not at all the shape I want for this girl though, so here’s a couple more snaps of the actual end shape which show the advantage of this technique as it lets you move branches exactly where you want them.

        To get a nice, even bush to work with I started by making both lower branches into zigzags in opposite directions, which when bent forward fill that area nicely.  Next I wrapped the main trunk and bent it into a curved S going backwards to fill most of the remaining space.  You’ll notice I left one branch sticking directly upwards so it’ll become the dominant growing shoot as it has no competition.  I want it to grow quicker so I can bend it down and back to fill the last area nicely, so making it the dominant apical meristem directly controls the plants growth.

        This close up shows how I twisted these two branches to face outwards from where the main trunk bends back in an S.  Thinking ahead I don’t want branches crowding each other but given space to grow.

        These other two between the two in the last pic  were twisted around to be facing upwards to possibly be cut for clones as again I don’t want them crowding each other.  Which is also why I’ve twisted the branches around onto the outside of the curve towards the tip as you can see in the last pic. You can also see how might tighter the coils are as it’s significantly thicker, as well as being tough from already being super cropped a couple times to keep it from growing into the light.  The main stem will take a couple days to strengthen itself to  This level of shaping is the benefit of the extra work and skill needed to do it.  I haven’t found an easier way yet though, although tying branches to each other is something I’ve started to explore as a simple way to do this.  A couple notes:

        Stems will split, have tape handy to hold them tightly together for a week or so until healed.

        Try to avoid kinks which limit one side of the vascular bundle, it’s not the end of the world but better if the curves are gentle enough they don’t kink the stem/trunk.

        The wires will need to be either adjusted or removed in a week or two depending on the growth rate, once the branch has grown enough it’s pushing on the wire it’s time to adjust/remove before it starts to restrict the vascular bundle.  I’ll leave some wire on too long to show what happens, again though this technique requires some skill and knowledge as it’s not the easiest.  Standard LST is probably best for most beginners but this is a useful skill to have in your back pocket when needed.  Plus fun to play with.

        If people are unclear about how to wrap them I can try to make a video to show it, just let me know if I can clarify anything

      • #5143
        NeuroticTurtle
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        Points: 1,665

        Thanks for the glut of information again @Somatek , if you’ll note from my victory journal, there’s still remnants of the lst ties I used in three stages and I was skipping the HST supercropping… just waiting for natural branch hardening off.   My current issue there comes from overall canopy coverage, the middle’s full again, so the 6 mains have to orbit and the last stage of training was some foot and a halfish of stretch ago.  I done fuuuucked up calculating the time to finish when I brought the other victory momma into flower.  For whatever reason I’d been thinking it was 11 weeks total, not 11week flower, I blame the drugs.  She’s sagging a bit on the outermost rim so I’ll be able to curve it around into a spiral again no problem, I just have to get in there with some time to spend.

        you should definitely make a seperate thread for LST/HST if you’re going to go all out and record a tutorial vid or do anything deliberate to a plant like leave ties on too long, I’m sure the thread would gain some traction.

      • #5166
        Somatek
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        Points: 6,637

        Until there’s more moderation to keep redundant threads down I’m trying to keep info concentrated in as few as possible.  Once the contest is done and the forums aren’t being flooded with threads to get points if there’s interest I’ll happily make a separate thread.

        I should mention you don’t need to super crop for the wire to work, all depends how much you need to bend the plant.  I’ll often just wrap and shape for simple adjustments like spreading the canopy out if I don’t need to shorten lanky branches due to neglect/being too busy.

      • #5171
        Nate
        Participant
        Points: 470

        Great write-up as usual. This is pretty similar to how I used to use plant wire before I started using a trellis. I definitely left it on too long though as it cut into the branches, and there was big divots in the stems where I anchored it. I also didn’t supercrop it, I just started early on it before the stems hardened, and didn’t make as extreme bends.

      • #5182
        Somatek
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        Points: 6,637

        The above plant was definitely an extreme example to show what can be done with it, as well as hopefully give people an idea of the kinds of things they should be considering when pruning/training their plants.  This was a free clone I got when I picked up Twinkle Tarts called “one night stand” which is a lovely example of the kush/chem genepool with that heavy/narcotic stone, caked in resin and the classic astringent, acrid/fuel, earthy, musky flavour.  Which personally doesn’t interest me, it seems like as much of a pain in the butt to grow with the lanky growth, so I’m happy to use it for a teaching tool.  The deep purple stems are a good sign it hasn’t been getting the attention it needs lol

      • #5269
        Nate
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        Points: 470

        Sometimes it’s cool to see how far you can push the plants. I had wanted to do a cannabonsai along side my space bucket, but everything for spider mites, especially the seedlings I was training, so I just tossed them.

      • #5314
        Somatek
        Participant
        Points: 6,637

        It’s a great way to learn how hardy the plants really are.  I’d often suggest beginners grow some clones as if you give one twice as much nutes, one the regular amount and one half as much you can quickly see for yourself what the different nutrient excess/deficiencies look like.  Which makes diagnosing plants much easier.

        I snapped a quick pic of the One Night Stand this morning to show how it’s already perked up, even though it’s only been around 12 hours.  Like I said calling it high or low “stress” training is a bit misleading as plants aren’t significantly effected even by significant super cropping as long as the vascular bundles don’t snap, just break apart the connective tissue.

    • #5108
      Brad104
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      Points: 786

      Replying to @ neurotic turtle,I would message either @somatek @cannabliss or @atom for they have more knowledge and experience on the growing of scrog style.I apologize when I said back to @somatek I done my 4 peyote gorilla that way, I meant I Lst to where everything was pulled down @ the main cola,so it could grow to the same size canopy when everything else grew up to the light and meet if that makes sense to you.All I done was made it look like the bonzai tree for I am a believer of the method but I do definitely love it.I got a 1/4 pound each plant so I am not sure if that’s good by today’s standard but I will take it as a win happily for me but I’m eager to hear response and I had all of them in a row like the outside of a triangle one 1000 watt HPS at each end nothing in middle of the two other plants.but I don’t want to get off point here I’m saying I believe one of the 3 could assist you more on the scrog growing topic ok

      • #5136
        Brad104
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        Points: 786

        That’s why I recommended they speak to someone like you @somatek that was a great tutorial on directing your limbs for scrog to receive more light or whatever etc.You are a five star dude great information as always bro!

        The soft wire do you just type in soft wire for scrog growing on Amazon?

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

        • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by Brad104.
      • #5141
        Somatek
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        Points: 6,637

        This isn’t a scrog, it’s not LST either as super cropping is a high “stress” training method.  I put stress in quotes as it’s easily misunderstood, it’s a high damage tech that causes the plant to spend energy repairing the damage but as Atom mentioned there’s anecdotal evidence to suggest it improves overall growth.  So I guess you could call it high stress training, I never really named it as I don’t suggest it often as it’s very specific in terms of when it’s really useful or when there’s an easier way to shape a plant.  Hopefully it drives home what I said awhile ago how topping, fim’ing, LST, etc are all just tools to control growth and the more you understand how hormones dictate that, the more you think ahead; the more you’re working with the plant instead of fighting it.

      • #5144
        NeuroticTurtle
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        Points: 1,665

        @Brad104 originally mine wasn’t supposed to be anything approaching sog, just a lightly trained and topped plant that would then behave nicely and have a medium amount of middle and upper bud.. except now she’s a hairy beast with six arms and the middle looks like I should be using a trellis and underlighting. I let her go feral a few weeks earlier than I should’ve, but there’s always time to correct things.

      • #5148
        Brad104
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        Points: 786

        I appreciate the clarification @somatek, for I thought of super cropping as pinching and rolling any limb and not up, for I learned that they would do that years ago when someone broke a limb 🦵 probably me but it just knuckled up and kept right on growing.That is what I thought super cropping pretty much was but  I am glad you cleared it up for me though

      • #5169
        Somatek
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        Points: 6,637

        It’s all relative, LST doesn’t really the plant but just affects the hormone distribution, super cropping definitely causes some damage as that’s what causes the bend/knuckle to form but it doesn’t “stress” the plant in the way most people think of as increasing the chance of turning hermy.

      • #5167
        Somatek
        Participant
        Points: 6,637

        The longer flowering plants can have a surprising amount of stretch out of the blue.  I have 20 S.A.G.E. seeds waiting for their turn to pop as it was always one of my favourite varieties with the big, airy buds, sandlewood/astringent nose and stimulating high with just enough body.  Too many seeds, never enough time or room to grow them…

    • #5119
      mike h
      Participant
      Points: 156

      For me its all about what and where youre growing. I am about to put a 40 gal pot in a five by five tent and try to fill up a scrog net. Topping, supercropping, or whatever it takes. I love using velcro tape to holdem down, cause theyre easy to remove and adjust.

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    • #5123
      Brad104
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      Points: 786

      She is a beautiful beast of a Lady you have there @ MikeH I hope you will be doing a journal on her or @ least share some pictures thanks for the share of her man

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