Can I Use Topping On Autoflowering Cannabis Plants?

Read more to discover if topping autos is beneficial, and what techniques we recommend when it comes to training autoflowering Cannabis.
02 April 2020
3 min read
Can I Use Topping On Autoflowering Cannabis Plants?

  • 1. What exactly is topping?
  • 2. Applying topping technique on autos
  • 2. a. Advantages and disadvantages of topping autos
  • 3. Best training techniques as alternative to topping
  • 4. In conclusion

When working with a photoperiod strain, it is possible to top your Cannabis plants as many times as you wish during the vegetative stage. Due to autoflowering strains not being photoperiod dependent, there is a short window to work with in regards to training autos. Below we break down if topping is beneficial, the recommended training techniques, the window to work in and our best strains for those of you who enjoy some good-old plant training.

1. What Exactly Is Topping?

The name topping or pinching just means the removal of the main crown shoot, resulting in two auxiliary shoots at the highest point of the plant. As the crown shoot is responsible for apical dominance, the growth hormone Auxin is no longer required, allowing Cannabis plants to then grow a more bushy and laterally dominant canopy. 

When a Cannabis plant is topped only once, the growth structure will change dramatically, as all of the side branches attempt to catch up with the rest of the top shoots. The most important thing in this process is that the vertical height is reduced, allowing a grower with limited height, or working with a challenging cultivar to work more easily.


Can I Use Topping On Autoflowering Cannabis Plants?: Topping Graph


Grow Tips

•  Topping should only be performed during the vegetative stage.

•  It is important to allow Cannabis plants to recover and grow back in their own time.

•  Can be performed once or multiple times to promote a very bushy canopy.

•  A simple technique that can be performed using scissors or finger and thumb.

•  Topping encourages two main shoots to grow in replacement of the one that was cut away.

2. Applying Topping Technique On Autos

There are some advantages and disadvantages when it comes to topping autos. Depending on the strains you are growing, you will definitely notice the difference between for example a stunted, short plant with minimal production, or on the contrary, a big, bushy girl that meets all your practical requirements height-wise. Just like our latest addition to the family, Orange Sherbet Auto, this sativa dominant hybrid grows up to 150cm meeting your expectations flawlessly with her huge bushy yields.

There will be a 21-day window in which autos can be manipulated and trained before their natural desire to flower takes over.

It is during this time that topping your auto-flowering plants is advised. Anytime after the first 3 weeks may be counterproductive and cause the plants more harm than good, during the pinnacle growing stages. The same rule applies when flowering a photoperiod Cannabis seed under 12/12 with no vegetative time, as there will be a 21-day window where the plants will focus on growing roots and as much foliage and branches as possible. The best auto flowering cultivars to work with are hybrids or sativa dominant, as these will normally finish around 120-150cm if left untrained. Both sativa dominant strains like Wedding Cheesecake Auto and Original Auto Amnesia Haze have a very large growth structure, they grow tall, making them more than a perfect option for topping.  

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Topping Autos  


Can I Use Topping On Autoflowering Cannabis Plants?: Pros and Cons


3. Best Training Techniques As Alternative To Topping

Rather than take the risk with topping autoflowering Cannabis, especially if you are not completely familiar with how a strain grows from start to finish, it is better to use other techniques such as L.S.T.

Can I Use Topping On Autoflowering Cannabis Plants?: Low Stress Training Graph

Low-stress training is a very gentle and easy way to open up the size of your canopy, allowing all of the lower growth to be exposed to direct light. The result is a lush, lollipopped style appearance that causes the plants very little stress.

Grow Tips

•  L.S.T is very easy to perform and is a good technique to use on indica, hybrid, and sativa autoflowering strains.

•  Another way to manipulate the height of your plants, without the necessity to pinch out and prevent apical dominance.

•  Combined with pruning, L.S.T is the most effective way to increase yields and the number of buds on each plant.

•  This method can be successfully performed using twine or metal wire.

6. In Conclusion

On the basis you are familiar with the cultivar in question and understand the benefits of topping your autos then you will have no issues. However, a beginner grower looking to get the biggest yields possibly should take it easy with topping, as they run the risk of stunting their plants or worse yet causing unwanted stress and trauma too late into the developing stages of bud production. Our advice is to always research the cultivar and determine which training methods will be advantageous or counterproductive. L.S.T will deliver much better results if you are new to growing and is more applicable to all autoflowering Cannabis plants comparison to pinching.


02 April 2020