Top how often? Outdoor

BigTreez707

Member
Those of you that grow large bushy plants outdoor. How often do you top? Every 6 nodes? Every 3 nodes? I know this can be strain specific, but if you had unlimited space, how often would you top? Just curious.
 

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moose eater

Well-known member
I wait until there's a third node, then remove that node for the first pinch, then every other node thereafter. Skip the first 2, then each one after that.

I have been using the old-school 'super crop' method for decades, and that has been the way I do it.
 

therevverend

Well-known member
Those of you that grow large bushy plants outdoor. How often do you top? Every 6 nodes? Every 3 nodes? I know this can be strain specific, but if you had unlimited space, how often would you top? Just curious.

There's quite a few variables, including strains and height and width restrictions, but the old time growers who grow the big plants mostly consider pinching kiddy stuff. Fun to do as an experiment, or if you start a plant in February and want to grow a giant 100 top monster, but you're fighting the natural tendencies of the plant with pinching. Outdoors your biggest bud will be your top and it's the fastest most vigorous part of your plant. Usually the branches will form naturally and the natural structure is usually the strongest.

Of course indoor, certain strains, or conditions make pinching a necessity. For instance if you start in March and have a plant that only gets 8 feet tall with minimal branching you can pinch it to create more tops. A lot comes down to knowing your strains. Most growers with experience recommend training, tying the top over to the north, over pinching. That way you don't remove the apical tip but you divert energy and nutrients to the lower branches. Allowing them to catch up or even surpass the top cola. I've found it works especially well with the medium tall plants, and of course tall plants that are unmanageable. In almost every case where pinching seems a necessity tying over will accomplish the same effect with less loss.
 

therevverend

Well-known member

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Forgot to answer your question, and forgot to mention that what you're doing there is bending, not pinching. The bending your doing is like the tying over I mention. You aren't removing the growing tip so the plant's growth isn't going to slow while it forms new branches. I prefer it to topping.

I agree with Moose that you can start as soon as the plant starts throwing true leaves. There's always something tempting about pinching a vigorous plant early like that, one you started in February to see how big and bushy you can get it. I like to wait a week or two after the true leaves form, until the little branch leaves are decent sized so it doesn't slow the plant down as much. Every year I have a little seedling or two that gets topped by a sow bug or slug or cat, I'll try to find one and compare it to it's sibling that wasn't topped to show what I mean about the difference in growth pattern. This is one of the primary reasons I'm not fond of pinching, it happens to me most years whether I want it or not.
 

BigTreez707

Member
Forgot to answer your question, and forgot to mention that what you're doing there is bending, not pinching. The bending your doing is like the tying over I mention. You aren't removing the growing tip so the plant's growth isn't going to slow while it forms new branches. I prefer it to topping.

I agree with Moose that you can start as soon as the plant starts throwing true leaves. There's always something tempting about pinching a vigorous plant early like that, one you started in February to see how big and bushy you can get it. I like to wait a week or two after the true leaves form, until the little branch leaves are decent sized so it doesn't slow the plant down as much. Every year I have a little seedling or two that gets topped by a sow bug or slug or cat, I'll try to find one and compare it to it's sibling that wasn't topped to show what I mean about the difference in growth pattern. This is one of the primary reasons I'm not fond of pinching, it happens to me most years whether I want it or not.
Thanks for the response. First I topped, then I super-cropped and pulled the two tops down.
 

dirty-joe

Active member
There's quite a few variables, including strains and height and width restrictions, but the old time growers who grow the big plants mostly consider pinching kiddy stuff. Fun to do as an experiment, or if you start a plant in February and want to grow a giant 100 top monster, but you're fighting the natural tendencies of the plant with pinching. Outdoors your biggest bud will be your top and it's the fastest most vigorous part of your plant. Usually the branches will form naturally and the natural structure is usually the strongest.

Of course indoor, certain strains, or conditions make pinching a necessity.
I for one agree with everything the Rev. said. As in bending over better than topping.
Last year I topped my roof top grow to keep the plants shorter, and keep them from blowing over in BIG winds, I did keep them a little shorter, but they still blew over a few2 times.

The downside to topping is many, for one you are more prone to splitting, stalk damage, they are just more "sturdy" left to their own devices. They will most likely need a bunch of stupid supports. Double layers of caging, and whatever horseshat nonsense.

Lastly, and maybe the one that bugs me the most is, last year I had an average of half pound plants.
Thread here, https://www.icmag.com/threads/kalashnikova-up-on-the-roof.17885460/
These plants took like 4 hours each to prune. The year before I did NOT top, had the same half pound average per plant, which only took one hour each to prune.
I don't even know if I was a member then, or have a thread about it, but here is a picture from the ground, this plant was topped, but at the 11th node to keep it from getting over the roof. There was basically 20 large chunks (bottom two branches removed) to trim, so easy, so quick. And I know it doesn't look like it, but there is a full half pound there. That's what I want to trim.
-crpd.JPG


I FN hate small buds. I will NEVER pinch again, and to do it at every node as mentioned above, is quite ridiculous. Well unless you like slowing your growth, and trimming small shitty buds
 
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40degsouth

Well-known member
Hey everyone, hope you’re all well.
BigTreez707 like thereverend said, big tree growers don’t top but they do spend time training laterals and cleaning out the insides of big plants and that’s considered maintenance rather than pruning.
There’s a lot of information in the “Growing Large Plants Outdoors” thread........if you’re up for a good read.
Cheers,
40
 

BigTreez707

Member
I for one agree with everything the Rev. said. As in bending over better than topping.
Last year I topped my roof top grow to keep the plants shorter, and keep them from blowing over in BIG winds, I did keep them a little shorter, but they still blew over a few2 times.

The downside to topping is many, for one you are more prone to splitting, stalk damage, they are just more "sturdy" left to their own devices. They will most likely need a bunch of stupid supports. Double layers of caging, and whatever horseshat nonsense.

Lastly, and maybe the one that bugs me the most is, last year I had an average of half pound plants.
Thread here, https://www.icmag.com/threads/kalashnikova-up-on-the-roof.17885460/
These plants took like 4 hours each to prune. The year before I did NOT top, had the same half pound average per plant, which only took one hour each to prune.
I don't even know if I was a member then, or have a thread about it, but here is a picture from the ground, this plant was topped, but at the 11th node to keep it from getting over the roof. There was basically 20 large chunks (bottom two branches removed) to trim, so easy, so quick. And I know it doesn't look like it, but there is a full half pound there. That's what I want to trim.
View attachment 18711360

I FN hate small buds. I will NEVER pinch again, and to do it at every node as mentioned above, is quite ridiculous. Well unless you like slowing your growth, and trimming small shitty buds
I hear ya. Pinching at every node seems a bit excessive. But I also hate it when the colas get too thick and get mold problems. I guess it depends on your environment. But where I live it can get very moist and humid in October. Medium sized buds tend to do best here in my area of Northern California. Those 4 inch thick colas are usually filled with mold inside. And they're a nightmare to dry out.
 

40degsouth

Well-known member
I’m hearing you Bigtreez, we have the same problem here so genetics and preventative maintenance are everything. I’ve used the supercropping technique, with great effect, for concerns regarding height and bud sizes.
In my humble opinion this technique is the very best outdoors to divert vigour, for a week or two, into different parts of the plant without badly injuring or creating weak points to worry about later on.
40
 

dirty-joe

Active member
I hear ya. Pinching at every node seems a bit excessive. But I also hate it when the colas get too thick and get mold problems. I guess it depends on your environment. But where I live it can get very moist and humid in October. Medium sized buds tend to do best here in my area of Northern California. Those 4 inch thick colas are usually filled with mold inside. And they're a nightmare to dry out.
And I hear you on the humidity, I'm on the east coast, and it's above 80% almost all the time, and above 90% often, especially that time of year, fall harvest. I'm also a lot further north than you (45N) so my cooler weather comes much sooner too. Anything past mid September, and one should expect a percentage of mold. You certainly want to keep your eye out for it, and stop any in it's tracks when you do see it.

Yes bigger buds are somewhat worse for mold, but smaller ones are not immune. Last year I lost about 6 OZ, from the topped plants with smaller buds. It's in the air, when the conditions are right it is going to happen. The best way to avoid it is faster maturing strains. For my area, anything that can get done end of August, when it's still nice and warm has almost no mold problems.

You should be able to tell a bud if "full" of mold before it is full of mold.

I believe that a large percentage of mold is caused by insect feces, see how quickly a moist turd gets fuzzy. Keep the bugs, as many as possible anyway (we are outdoors after all) off your plants.
 

BigTreez707

Member
And I hear you on the humidity, I'm on the east coast, and it's above 80% almost all the time, and above 90% often, especially that time of year, fall harvest. I'm also a lot further north than you (45N) so my cooler weather comes much sooner too. Anything past mid September, and one should expect a percentage of mold. You certainly want to keep your eye out for it, and stop any in it's tracks when you do see it.

Yes bigger buds are somewhat worse for mold, but smaller ones are not immune. Last year I lost about 6 OZ, from the topped plants with smaller buds. It's in the air, when the conditions are right it is going to happen. The best way to avoid it is faster maturing strains. For my area, anything that can get done end of August, when it's still nice and warm has almost no mold problems.

You should be able to tell a bud if "full" of mold before it is full of mold.

I believe that a large percentage of mold is caused by insect feces, see how quickly a moist turd gets fuzzy. Keep the bugs, as many as possible anyway (we are outdoors after all) off your plants.
Faster maturing strains? I'm not that interested in autoflowers. My autos are kind of an afterthought to me. My photo period strains are the ones I get worried about. My autos should be ready by the first week of July, but the indicas always take till sept or oct. And that's when it starts raining here.
 

therevverend

Well-known member
But I also hate it when the colas get too thick and get mold problems.

Yep that's something I didn't get into but large colas are always trouble where I'm at because the mass becomes much greater then the surface area. Which means when it stops raining it takes too long for it to completely dry out. I hate it when I'm trimming and I find buds that look awesome from the outside with a marble of mold running through the middle. Even with a good mold resistant strain if the weather's cool and the flower gets waterlogged it'll stay wet inside for days. I definitely prefer medium sized buds as opposed to big ones because of this.

That said I'm not overly fond of small buds because of the time involved after harvest sorting and trimming. There's a 'perfect medium' I like, a candelabra type plant with medium to long branches with medium sized buds. It's another reason I like tying over, a have a few strains that will take this shape. They'll be 9 feet long, about 6 or 7 feet high with quite a few medium sized tops. I've found the taller the plant the more sun and wind it gets, the quicker it dries out. I like strains with an open structure so each branch gets plenty of air and light and doesn't block light from penetrating deep into the canopy.

Sometimes with shorter pinched off plants you'll get a thick hedge shape, very dense in the middle. I don't like this because I have to spend time thinning out the middle and removing branches. I don't like removing branches because every wound is a spot asking for a mold infection. Not all plants are like this, the more you grow out your strain and the more you learn about cannabis anatomy the more you'll understand which choices to make. There's certainly strains, conditions, and situations where pruning is the best choice and it's a useful art to master but it's usually my 2nd or 3rd option.
 

40degsouth

Well-known member
I try to make sure mine aren’t with this equation:
good soil + fantastic genetics + preventative measures = healthy plants.
Here’s a few chunky monkeys from this year, check out the Blackdog buds in the two litre bottles, they’re at least 12 inches across.
40.
 

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mudballs

New member
Those of you that grow large bushy plants outdoor. How often do you top? Every 6 nodes? Every 3 nodes? I know this can be strain specific, but if you had unlimited space, how often would you top? Just curious.
just remember to stop topping 2 weeks before flowering outdoors. Otherwise you get short, fist size double nugs and they are densely packed together, which increases the chance for bud rot. learned the hard way when to stop topping.
 

dirty-joe

Active member
I aim for medium sized buds. I always top so I don't get one huge Cola. But 4 inch colas aren't that uncommon if you don't top,
In a previous post you made it sound like "you" had the 4" thick buds that were full of mold, so, OK you don't have any. (and never had one)
Now you tell me that they are "not that uncommon" Yet I search the internet all day long, for 20+ years, and I can't find a single example on searches like this, for example;

I have seen a couple that were indoor grown, from that remo nutes guy, that were 4 inches thick, but we are talking outdoor here.
For something that is so common, I'm only asking for one picture, why won't you share ? don't worry I'm not holding my breath.
 
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