Uncle Ben's Topping Technique to Get 2 or 4 Main Colas

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Uncle Ben

Well-Known Member
Howdy!

Based on quite a few questions about topping I've received here: https://www.rollitup.org/general-marijuana-growing/13820-fimming-topping-101-a-12.html I decided to reproduce a thread on my favorite topping method published at cann.com about 10 years ago. Even though I've got much better photos from many latter grows both indoor and outdoor, I'm gonna stick with the old photos from the original thread. Lighting is HPS from start to finish with the exception of using 4' long shop fluors from germ until about 2 weeks. Some pix were taken outdoors for better resolution thanks to an old camcorder I was using.

Selecting the point for topping to get 4 main colas
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To get 4 main colas, let your seedling or cutting (clone) grow to about 5-6 nodes and pinch out (cut) the stem just above the 2nd true node. The node where the cotyledons attach doesn't count. The result will be a redistribution of the auxins and other hormones that normally collect in the tissue of the terminal leader's tip. These ho moans will be redistributed to dormant buds that reside in the nodal axis where the leaf petiole attaches to the "trunk", below the cut. The new foliar output response will be quick (within 24 hrs., see photo below) if you have a healthy growing seedling and will be your future main colas - 4 instead of the usual 1:



Here's a photo of the same plant about 8 weeks into flowering. The plant is about 42" tall, has 4 main colas with an abundance of large, healthy fan leaves.



This is an indoor shot just prior to harvest showing the colas bulking up quite nicely. Notice how the weight of the heavy colas is naturally pulling them apart, which opens the plant up so that light can penetrate the interior of the canopy. This is the same principle used by fruit orchard managers who create an open vase profile for their trees in order to increase production. This profile also has a side benefit of providing good interior air movement which reduces fungal/rot pressures.



The plant after harvest showing the branching scaffold and dominant 4 main cola "trunks", opposing nodes one right above the other. Smaller secondary branches also provided good bud production. This plant yielded over 10 oz of cured bud.



~ Topping for 2 main colas ~

Pinch out the seedling above the 1st true node to get 2 main colas:





Any questions, fire away.

Happy gardening,
Uncle Ben
 

OneHit

Well-Known Member
UB What do you mean about the last output to occur at the lowest node? Im not sure what that output means.

Also, why is the reason we wait until there are 5-6 nodes, and just cut the second one? Arnt we throwing away alot of wasted plant material? Maybe a weeks worth of growth? Also, we could root that top, and do it all over again right?

Lastly, what would be the advantage of having 2 main colas rather than 4? Why not just go 4 colas all the time, doesn't that mean more production? That also means no more topping the plant anymore, right?
 

stilltokin

Well-Known Member
Thats some good info, i will surely look back into this when the time comes.
But for some reason I get the biggest yields if I just let the plant do her thing and not top or anything, it forms one main huge cola which is heavy and full of thc, not saying the thc would be affected by topping
 

"SICC"

Well-Known Member
Yea but with topping you get more Colas, and you let the lower shoots come up as well, resulting in a bunch of bud sites, that, normally would have just been gettin side lighting, instead now, there being on the top of the plant with the cola's
 

Mr.I

Active Member
i think you can adapt the plant to grow in sog with more colas. it will require more time thats all. so let's say if you have your babies flowering and you do clones at the same time, you would be able to arrange the timing in such a manner so that your clones (with two-four-six colas) will get ready for the flowering room right after veg by the time the flowering ladies are done. it also depends on the space you have, and the lighting you have. i have extreme side lighting so that would work really good for me to have four colas or even six, if you got one HID bulb there could be some shading issues later on, so its up to you. thats my opinion
 

lazypothead420

Well-Known Member
My idea is having 2 mothers (wanna grow 2 diff strains) a 25 site cloner and one big flowering room where i'll grow the 2 different strains. 1 strain a month older than the other, so i harvest every month. Planning on doin 20 plants all total. flowering right out of the cloner. I have a 4ft. L 7ft. H 2 1/2ft. D. grow space, should i go for 2 tops or 4? Also would it be better to have less plants with 4 tops or more plants with 2 tops?
 

Mr.I

Active Member
My idea is having 2 mothers (wanna grow 2 diff strains) a 25 site cloner and one big flowering room where i'll grow the 2 different strains. 1 strain a month older than the other, so i harvest every month. Planning on doin 20 plants all total. flowering right out of the cloner. I have a 4ft. L 7ft. H 2 1/2ft. D. grow space, should i go for 2 tops or 4? Also would it be better to have less plants with 4 tops or more plants with 2 tops?
i'm new so, i would really like to hear some opinions from the experts on this question too. i just had my first grow, flowering into 34 days now. i have limited space like you do, and got choices of two different pot sizes. either to grow smaller pots and have twice as many plants, or grow bigger plants with more colas. from what i understand so far, it depends on the strain. i've read that some strains do really good when you top them some don't. i would imagine that most of the strains do much better with topping.

really its up to you to experiment, you can never know what genetics your mother will have unless you go through selection process and choose the best mothers for your specific need. to choose a good mother is very important!

one thing i know is you would have bigger colas with bigger pot size with bigger plants. as of yield, you have to experiment and weight it out in the end.

as turnaround time, well, if you have smaller plants they "supposed" to grow faster with two colas. on the other hand bigger root mass with bigger pots wouldn't take much more time to grow to four colas.
so its all about our own preferences and genetics we choose.

i hope this helps. have fun.
 

Uncle Ben

Well-Known Member
UB What do you mean about the last output to occur at the lowest node? Im not sure what that output means.
That means that it is the least likely node to receive redirected ho moans. I'm also trying to explain plant hormonal responses - the ones at the top receive hormones that induce output the first. Top a plant, any kind of a plant, and it will induce dormant bud output starting with the top down.

Also, why is the reason we wait until there are 5-6 nodes, and just cut the second one? Arnt we throwing away alot of wasted plant material? Maybe a weeks worth of growth? Also, we could root that top, and do it all over again right?
By allowing the plant to get a good start, which occurs with some leaf material from say......6 nodes (opposing leafsets) as opposed to 2, you're just giving it a better jump-start. You can use the cutting as a clone.

Lastly, what would be the advantage of having 2 main colas rather than 4? Why not just go 4 colas all the time, doesn't that mean more production? That also means no more topping the plant anymore, right?
No special advantage to 2 colas and that's what I usually do is top to get 4. But I was "playing games" regarding 2 versus 4 years ago jest fer fun. I decided to do quite a bit of experimentation on cannabis years ago, potting techniques, soil chemistry, pest control, etc. rather than taking someone's take on it. 4 main colas is my ditty.

Post #1232 has some really good shots of the 4 main cola structure. 2 pages past are some more.
https://www.planetganja.com/highsociety/showthread.php?t=33786&page=62

Regards,
UB
 

Uncle Ben

Well-Known Member
if there are four main colas does that mean its longer flowering time? same?
Same because you're doing "the act" during veg. When you flip the switch, the four colas and other flowering sites will respond with the same normal flowering response based on phytochrome level changes.

Do you have any closer pics of where u would top for only 2 cola's? Also is this method ideal for sog?
You could surely use it for SOG.

cut above the third get 8 colas???????????
Yeah, but you'll get small colas and not necessarily dominant ones, just bushy as hell. Your typical main cola on the typical plant is the dominant branch or leader, just as a dominant leader (trunk) on a pecan or oak tree would be. Top (pinch out the top of that leader) and you have just redistributed the ho moans to points (dormant foliar buds) below the cut, which makes for multiple leaders.

i'm new so, i would really like to hear some opinions from the experts on this question too. i just had my first grow, flowering into 34 days now. i have limited space like you do, and got choices of two different pot sizes. either to grow smaller pots and have twice as many plants, or grow bigger plants with more colas. from what i understand so far, it depends on the strain. i've read that some strains do really good when you top them some don't. i would imagine that most of the strains do much better with topping.
It's a matter of maintenance and personal preference. I do SOB (Sea of Bush) as I would rather focus my time on a few large plants as opposed to a bunch of smaller ones. Your call.

Plan your garden and execute your plan according to your desires and goals.

one thing i know is you would have bigger colas with bigger pot size with bigger plants. as of yield, you have to experiment and weight it out in the end.
yeppers, that's what it's all about. :)


Grow hard,
UB
 
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