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Topping Vs. Fimming: What’s The Difference And Which Is Better?


topping vs. fimming

If you want to get the most out of your DIY cannabis grow, you need to understand topping vs. fimming.

While topping might be fairly self-explanatory, fimming is like many other bits of cannabis slang — completely incomprehensible unless you’re already in the know.

In other words, you’ll never be able to guess what fimming is just by looking at the word. And that’s a shame because applying the process to your grow operation can produce more buds than ever before.

But, don’t fret. We’re here to help you make sense of it all.

In this article, we discuss topping vs. fimming in all its glory to help you decide which one is best for you.

Topping Vs. Fimming: Pruning For The Cannabis Grower

Man checking his marijuana plant

Before we get into the specific definitions of topping vs. fimming, let’s investigate the broad category to which they both belong: pruning.

Pruning is selectively removing branches from a plant (e.g., trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, ferns, mosses, etc.) with the goal of improving the plant’s structure and directing new, healthy growth.

Contrary to common misconceptions, pruning is not necessarily meant to stunt growth. Instead, pruning is meant to stimulate growth (sometimes in a completely different direction).

In gardening parlance, pruning (along with trimming) is a high-stress training technique (or HST) that you can apply to both indoor and outdoor cannabis crops.

Cannabis plants growing naturally outdoors will develop a “Christmas tree” structure with one dominant stalk, a main central cola (or flowering site on a female cannabis plant), and multiple sets of side branches with smaller, less-developed colas.

Because of this shape and the way the sun moves across the sky, all parts of the plant receive a share of the sunlight during the day.

If left to their own devices, cannabis plants grown indoors would develop the “Christmas tree” shape just like their outdoor brethren.

But, because indoor crops only receive light from a stationary grow lamp, some parts of the plant will always be in shade. That’s not good for the plant’s development.

That’s where topping vs. fimming comes in.

Topping Vs. Fimming: Definition And Difference

Pruning marijuana plant

Topping

Topping is the process of pruning (or cutting off) the growing tip of the main stem of your cannabis plant.

Removing the top (or terminal) bud will force the plant to develop two new main colas, while, at the same time, promoting growth of the lower branches.

The goal of topping is twofold:

  • To train the plant to take on a new shape — that of an inverted Christmas tree — that is better suited for indoor growth where vertical space is limited
  • To increase the number of main colas so the plant will produce more flowers

When To Top Cannabis

The best time to top a cannabis plant is after it’s developed at least three nodes.

With at least three nodes, the roots and stems are strong enough to recover from the stress of the pruning.

A cannabis plant typically reaches this size (i.e., three to five nodes) around 30 days into the vegetative phase. That said, different varieties grow at different speeds, so don’t top your Ghost Train Haze just because it’s time to top your Yoda OG.

Wait until each plant is ready and everything will fare better.

It’s also important to keep in mind that cannabis plants can’t handle topping during the seedling stage. If you try topping this early, you risk stunting growth significantly (or even killing the plant outright).

Similarly, topping during the flowering phase causes more damage than it’s worth. Prune your plants during the vegetative phase — not before and not after.

Once you do top, wait a week or two before topping the new growth. The plants need this time to recover from the shock and adjust to the new growth pattern.

How To Top Cannabis

Supplies

  • Pruning snips or sharp scissors
  • Disposable rubber gloves (thin latex medical gloves, not the thick dishwashing gloves)
  • Rubbing alcohol (for cleaning)
  • Rag (for cleaning)

Instructions

  1. Don your rubber gloves (this helps keep germs off the plant and sticky stuff off your hands)
  2. Clean your pruning snips or scissors with rubbing alcohol
  3. Cut the main stem about ¼ of an inch above the highest branches

This will cause the main stem to stop growing and force two new side branches to take over as colas (or flowering sites).

Fimming

topping vs. fimming

Fimming (short for, “F#@$, I missed” — seriously) is the process of pruning up to 75% of the growing tip off the main stem of your cannabis plant.

Removing the majority of this top bud will force the plant to develop four or more new main colas, while, at the same time, promoting growth of the lower branches.

Like topping, the goal of fimming is twofold:

  • To train the plant to take on a new shape — that of an inverted Christmas tree — that is better suited for indoor growth where vertical space is limited
  • To increase the number of main colas so the plant will produce more flowers

While fimming is excellent at increasing the number of main colas, it’s not so good at producing an orderly shape.

When To Fim Cannabis

Wherever you fall on the topping vs. fimming debate, the timing for both is the same.

Just as you did with topping, wait until the plant has developed at least three nodes (four or five is better) before you start fimming.

Then, always fim your plants during the vegetative phase — not before and not after — and wait a week or two before fimming the new growth to give the plant time to recover from the shock and adjust to the new growth pattern.

How To Fim Cannabis

Supplies

  • Pruning snips or sharp scissors
  • Disposable rubber gloves (thin latex medical gloves, not the thick dishwashing gloves)
  • Rubbing alcohol (for cleaning)
  • Rag (for cleaning)

Instructions

  1. Don your rubber gloves (this helps keep germs off the plant and sticky stuff off your hands)
  2. Clean your pruning snips or scissors with rubbing alcohol
  3. Take hold of the tip of the plant
  4. Gently pull up on the growth
  5. Cut about 75% off the top of the main stem (don’t cut so that only bare stem is left)

This will cause the main stem to stop growing and force four new side branches to develop and take over as colas (or flowering sites).

Summary

As we learned in the previous two sections:

  • Topping involves removing the entire tip or top of the main stem
  • Fimming involves removing only about 75% of the tip or top of the main stem

Both techniques encourage the development of new main colas and promote the growth of the lower, secondary branches.

Topping Vs. Fimming: Which Is Better?

Person holding a marijuana plant while comparing topping vs firming

The pruning method that’s best for you — topping vs. fimming — depends on what you want to get out of your grow.

When you top a cannabis plant, the two side nodes immediately underneath the cut site take over and develop into colas (thereby doubling the potential for bud development).

These new branches always grow symmetrically, so the plant will rarely become unruly or grow into an awkward shape.

When you fim a cannabis plant, it will develop four or more side nodes underneath the cut site and will recover faster from this pruning.

These new branches tend to grow less uniformly, so plants can quickly become unruly and need support to stay upright.

Weigh the pros and cons of topping vs. fimming based on your goal for the entire crop and apply the one that works best for you.

Use The Stuff You Cut

Marijuana leaf held up at sunset

Once you start learning about topping vs. fimming, you’ll discover that you can use the extra plant matter you cut off for any number of cool purposes.

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Stems — Brew up a tasty tea
  • Fan leaves — Juice them or brew them into a different type of weed tea
  • Sugar leaves — Cook into cannabutter
  • Roots — Prepare as a topical cream
  • Large stalks — Grind them up to make mulch for your next batch of plants

As you can see, there’re so many things you can do with the different parts of the cannabis plant. Once you start looking, you’ll be amazed at the awesome things cannaenthusiasts have come up with (smoking meat with the stems? Mmmm!).

It really does bring a whole new meaning to the term Reuse/Recycle.

For more expert tips on growing your own ganja from seed to smokable product, take a few minutes to read these articles from the HMJ blog:

And to check out our 100-percent all-natural marijuana products, visit HonestMarijuana.com today.

The post Topping Vs. Fimming: What’s The Difference And Which Is Better? appeared first on Honest Marijuana.



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