When to top

Does anyone know why we are usually advised to top when the plant has 4-6 nodes? I was was discussing this with a friend of mine who runs a greenhouse growing flowers and herbs and small indoor & outdoor decorative plants and such. She uses topping in her greenhouse but was surprised I wasn’t ready to top my plant which as 2 going on 3 nodes. Apparently she would do it that early on other plants.


In my case and on my 2nd grow in a Grobo I wouldn’t be able to top prior to 4 nodes as the plants are so small and the nodes are really tight together. My last grow I was able to top at day 24 I’m at day 27 I’ll be cropping at day 30 at about the 5th node my plant is still short and tight but it’s an indica so it may also be the reason.

Topping is considered HST (high stress training) so anytime your plant is healthy, established enough and strong enough you can top IMO.


Looking for advice on whether to top yet. I’m not sure how to count the nodes to make sure the plant is between 4-6 nodes. In the photo with the arrows I pointed them to what I think are nodes & count five. Then in the photo with the circle I identify where I think I need to top if indeed it is time. Thoughts/advice?


Go ahead and top if you like! You’re correct in counting


Thanks. Topping done.



Maybe I’m counting too many?.. :thinking:


Hey there!

i got a special question, any pro grower here?
i wanted a little desktop weed plant, not about yield but only something next to my screen
xD -… i know…
problem: the plant grew to much in heigth before first nodes
like 10-15cm… i wanted it even smaller (bonsai style)

so my question:
can i prune it back to the pure stem-area?
or does it die then?

as i mentioned, yield is totally irrelevant here.

caenui :smiley:



((#Paging Doctor @Stephen)): Stephen should be able to assist you…


((#Welcome))… :wink:

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Hey @Caenui_Jhuo,

Yeah, that’s not really a thing mate. Bonzai cannabis plant on your desk that is. For the plant to be small (or have compact nodes), it needs a ton of the correct light. Won’t find that on a desk top. You will be experiencing a ton of stretch which is the opposite of what you are requesting.

You cannot prune it back to just stem, it will die.



Hey Growers,

I topped here. Does it look right?


Looks good :+1:

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Hey Growers, i’m worried i topped wrong or too much off where the 2 dreams should split. should i get rid of the highlighted branches or leave as is?

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You could cut it back to under these two leaves and it wouldn’t be bad… It’s your call, but you did top it right the first time…



Since the top was clipped already, I’m not sure how that would play out in a cloning grow… It would be interesting to follow the post… :wink:


If you give it a day or two it will grow back. If it starts to yellow or effect the new branches I would suggest maybe following @SilverGrobo advise.

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@SilverGrobo, so cut around where highlighted?
Thank you guys for the help!!!:beers::beers::beers:


@SilverGrobo, could he take that off and clone it using clonex?

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Could try it I doubt it’ll work to clone but normally I want at least 3 nodes for a clone pic attached. I’ve had a couple root up but I put them in pots already. I agree the first top was correct.


Do yall top multiple times during your grow or just the one time because of limited space?


I’ve read Stephen say you can top three times in the grobo, the first between 4 and 6 “Nodes” but the 2nd and 3rd (which leads to 4 main colas i think) I haven’t seen reference to when you should do these toppings i feel like between 4 and 6th again would be too late but I’d love to know for sure(gonna hate myself if this is in the FAQ lol)


There is not a lot of info on when to top because all plants take their time. I think the general rule is top in veg. Most top 1-3 times as long as you remember to add 3-10 extra days in between for healing.



There are two schools of thought concerning the appropriate time to top cannabis plants. Old school growers are generally inclined to be more patient. While Millennials prefer to top right away. Waiting a month or more before commencing pruning is far too long for some.

Topping infant cannabis plants very early sets them on track to become bushes. Expect an extended vegetative growth cycle too. Waiting until plants get to the 4th week of vegetative growth before topping is less stressful. Although, not always practical with taller rapid growing strains.

As a rule of thumb, topping is always performed during vegetative growth. Save some exceptional circumstances. Also, most growers allow 1-2 weeks recovery time before repeating the process to further enhance cola development.

Tips for Topping & FIMing

Here are some extra tips to ensure topping and FIMing your marijuana plants goes perfectly every time!

Don’t Top or FIM Too Early!

With both topping and FIMing, you remove some of the growth on the end of a cola of a young marijuana plant, which causes the plant to stop focusing on one cola (like a Christmas tree) and instead to create many bud-laden colas (grow bushier).

If you Top or FIM the plant too early, it will have a hard time recovering. It may seem like a good idea, but you will get the best results and fastest recover if you wait until the plant has enough nodes.

Wait Until Plant Has at Least 3-5 Nodes (FIMing) or 4-6 Nodes (Topping)- Topping or Fimming a Too-Young Seedling Will Dramatically Slow Down Growth. If You Wait Until Plant is Growing New Leaves Every Day, Recovery Will Be Much Faster.

Growers use the plant’s natural response to FIMing/topping to produce short bushy plants with many colas. After the plant has been switched to the flowering stage, the wide spread of colas allows the plant to efficiently use indoor grow lights to produce the biggest yields possible.

If you choose to use either of these methods, you will get the best results by doing it when the plant is young, usually when it has around 3-6 total nodes formed. Generally, you would only want to FIM a plant that has just 3 nodes, and wait until 4 nodes to top the plant.

These young cannabis plants are almost ready to be topped or FIMed. Cannabis plants can be FIMed before they can be topped.

These young cannabis plants are ready to be topped or FIMed

You get great results by breaking the tendency of the plant to grow one main cola while the plant is still short, because you can arrange your multiple colas however you want as the plant develops, instead of dealing with a Christmas tree shaped plant.

You can also top or FIM your plant later in the vegetative stage, but you will have a longer main stalk, giving you less ability to arrange the colas the way you want.

It's a good idea to top or FIM earlier for the most flexible colas.This cannabis plant is almost too big to top or FIM.

After being topped or FIMed, your plant will need some time spent recovering in the vegetative stage, though generally this just causes the plant to ‘fill out’ more instead of growing taller, which is often desirable for indoor growers.

This plant was trained for ~2 dozen colas in the vegetative stage

FIMing and topping should only be used in the vegetative stage

Important: Don’t Top or FIM in the Flowering Stage; It’s Too Late!

Topping and FIMing techniques should only be used in the vegetative stage! In fact, any training technique that involves cutting or damaging your plant should optimally be done in the vegetative stage of cannabis growth, before the flowering/budding stage begins.

In the flowering stage, only gentle training techniques such as LST or other types of bending should ever be used to change the shape of the plant.

A plant with many colas can only be achieved by training a plant from early in the vegetative stage

These trained cannabis plants have many colas

Cannabis plants are much less tough in the flowering stage, and they no longer are growing vegetatively (producing new stems or colas) by the time they hit about week 6.

If you watch a plant in the flowering stage, you’ll see that it doesn’t get taller or develop growth nodes after about week 6. It only “focuses” on making buds. Topping or FIMing at this point won’t do any good. Damaging your plant during the budding stage will often cause a reduction in your final yields because you’re just taking away more plant/bud sites and may cause unnecessary stress during the crucial bud-building phase.