Merry Christmas! Bruce has grown a bit since Tuesday! See the pics below (Tuesday and this morning, which is day 27). So, I need points of clarity. Since Bruce is an auto flower, it will do its thing regardless of the lighting? And, from what I am reading here, I do not lollipop or trim (top off) him because he will not have time to recover? I guess I just want to know what I should be preparing for next. Any advice is appreciated!
Hey, sorry no one had responded to this post yet for you!
You are correct that an autoflower will continue to do it’s thing regardless of the light schedule. They actually do not like being switched to 12/12 for the most part either from what I’ve gathered, so that actually makes things worse than just keeping a solid 18/6 schedule going the entire time for them.
Topping an auto can be risky if you’re a beginner grower… most also say that topping an autoflower can affect yields and stunt the plant… Imagine it as an autoflower being an automated seed that has a program to follow. If the program says to “Flower on X day” and you top her and stunt the growth (which in turn makes the plant smaller) then she will be smaller than normal on “X day” and will still start to flower regardless, resulting in a smaller less sturdy plant which can affect yields.
With that being said, there are people who have successfully topped autoflowers and had good results still. One of the key factors in common with this as far as I know is that doing it at the correct time, early as possible without being TOO early is key. I grew an autoflower my first grow and it got crazy big and was rather vigorous… I think if I dare to grow another auto in the Grobo I will attempt to top her just to experiment myself… but this won’t be for awhile since I already have a plant now that’s a photoperiod and another one planned afterwards. So, in turn, do it at your own risk!
One alternative to topping an auto is to use low stress training or LST to bend the main branch down which will ALSO upset the apical dominance of the plant, similar to what topping does:
Here’s a summary of the “schools of thought” on Autoflowers from growweedeasy.com
There are 3 main schools of thought about what works best when it comes to training auto-flowering cannabis plants:
No Training at All – Since autos only stay in the vegetative stage for a few weeks, if you stress your plant too much with extensive training, it may end up stunted. A stunted auto-flowering plant produces very low yields. As a result, many growers recommend no training at all when it comes to auto-flowering marijuana strains, just to be safe. Untrained plants still produce a lot of bud!
Low Stress Training Only (Bending) – The idea behind low stress training is to force the plant into the flat shape you want by bending all new stems and tying them down. The advantage of sticking only to bending is it’s very low stress (hence the name) on the plant. There’s basically no chance of stunting from simple bending. However, with LST you don’t have the same full control over the plant’s shape as you do when you actually “top” the plant (split the main cola into two), which makes it very easy to grow a wide and flat plant.
“Top” the Plant in Addition to Other Training – Modern auto-flowering strains often respond well to “topping”. This is when you cut off the very top of the main stem when the plant has only a few nodes, so that it grows two main stems instead of just one. This makes it easy to spread out the plant under the light. Topping usually won’t stress your plant if it’s healthy and fast-growing, but it’s possible that topping may contribute to stress or stunting if your plant is slow growing or sickly.
As far as trimming… lot of us here on AG have trimmed fan leaves off our autoflower plants, and a few users such as @blue045 @miami5th and some others have lollipopped their autoflowers later in life when they start getting big and tall; all of the lower growth typically is shaded out at that point and if your plant is healthy with modern genetics it seems to take it pretty nicely.
My autoflower I defoliated probably 50-60 leaves throughout it’s life, and even accidentally snipped a main branch and snapped another on accident later on and it still seemed to keep growing!
Happy Holidays… your plant is looking nice! Keep up the good work.
Thank you so much, @pyromancy! I’ll keep sending the pictures as it changes and see what you think along the way. have a wonderful holiday!
You can always hang out with Mr Elf and watch your grow considering that’s really most of what you do when growing an auto!