Pruning – The Effects of Different Pruning Methods on Cannabis Yields

The effects of different pruning methods on cannabis yields

Pruning is a common plant training technique that can be used to control the direction of new growth and remove damaged or unnecessary sections of your cannabis plants.

Successful pruning can help your cannabis plants develop healthier growth and produce more cannabinoid-rich buds. It also promotes more airflow and light penetration throughout the plant’s lower branches and leaves, thereby enabling stronger, sturdier, and denser overall growth.

Apical Pruning

In the cannabis cultivation industry, there are many different pruning methods. Each technique has a specific effect on yields, and choosing the right one for you depends on your personal gardening skill, comfort level and the strain you’re growing.

Pruning techniques are often used to increase light exposure and airflow for lower bud sites, as well as to encourage healthier overall growth and denser cola formation. These methods also help reduce the risk of pests and diseases.

Apical pruning, or cutting the upper portion of a plant’s main stem, is one of the most widely used by growers. It essentially paralyzes the growth of the main stem, boosting the development and production of side branches.

While this method is useful for increasing lateral branching, it slows down the flowering process of a plant by removing its main bud, which causes a temporary decrease in yields. However, within a week the plant will begin to grow back stronger.

Another popular cannabis pruning method is topping, which involves snipping off the top portion of the plant’s main stem. This practice, sometimes called schwazzing, is typically associated with high-stress training (HST) in cannabis cultivation.

Using these methods can result in higher yields, but they should only be used when the plant is fully mature. Otherwise, you could damage the plant through excessive stress. Additionally, pruning too early may prevent blooms from developing, which can have a negative impact on your final crop.

Secondary Pruning

Secondary pruning is the process of removing the leaves from the branches to optimize light and airflow in the upper zones of your cannabis plants. By removing the yellowing and fading leaves, you can ensure that your buds receive the best possible light for flowering and growth.

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Aside from maximizing your yields, secondary pruning also makes for a better-looking plant. It reduces the amount of foliage on your marijuana plants while allowing more light and air to get to the buds, making for an overall healthier plant that produces bigger and better-tasting buds.

You can prune your cannabis plants to maximize their yields by following a few simple guidelines. First, make sure you have a healthy and well-established plant before you start the trimming process. This will allow the plant to adjust and grow robustly from the time you start cutting until it is ready for harvesting.

Topping is another common secondary pruning technique used by many growers. The procedure involves reducing the size of your cannabis plant by heading back older and one-year-old shoots to a bud or internode. This method is typically not appropriate for new plants, but it can be used to correct form problems in mature trees and shrubs.

Topping is less effective than fimming in preventing stretching, but it still has an important role to play in the cultivation of marijuana plants. Topping also stimulates the formation of colas, which are the most potent flowers in marijuana, so this is a worthwhile practice for any gardener who wants to increase their crop.


Topping, or apical pruning, is one of the most common and familiar pruning methods for growers of cannabis. Topping removes the topmost growing tip from a plant’s main stem, allowing it to grow more laterally than vertically, which can improve light distribution and increase yield.

In addition, topping can encourage the development of a more dense canopy with multiple flowering sites. This can be a beneficial technique for indoor and outdoor growers, as it helps maximize light exposure and reduces the amount of energy lost to light scattering or dispersal.

Before you can begin topping your plants, however, it is essential to check their overall health. If a cannabis plant is not properly prepared, or it has suffered from any other forms of stress (including disease), it could experience problems when topped.

The best way to determine whether your plant is ready for topping is to check the number of side shoots it has developed. It should have at least three, but ideally more.

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Once your plant has a healthy number of nodes, you can use sharp pruning shears or a razor blade to make a cut above the fourth or fifth node on its main stem. Using sanitized shears is important to prevent infection and promote healing.

Another common topping method is to cut between the 3rd and 5th nodes, but this should be done very carefully. If you cut too close to the small side shoots, it will damage them and reduce their vigour.

Topping is a great way to increase a plant’s overall production, but it can be stressful for some strains. This is especially true for slow-growing indicas like Urkle, which can take longer to grow to a mature stage when topped.


Fimming is another High Stress Training (HST) method that can be used to enhance the quality of your cannabis plants. It is similar to topping in that it involves removing a portion of the cannabis plant’s main stem in order to promote multiple cola growths. However, fimming is different from topping because it doesn’t eliminate new growths like it does with topping.

It instead involves cutting through a section of the plant’s main stem, which is called the “fim”. The fim cut can produce 4+ new top colas and makes the plant bushier than it would have been with topping alone.

To perform fimming, you should use a sharp pair of scissors and remove around 70% of the tip above the fourth node. Once you have made the cuts, wait for a few days until the crown shoot recovers and begins to grow vertically as normal.

When the crown shoot has recovered, it will begin to display apical dominance. This will then cause the rest of the plant’s lower side branches and other shoots to experience a boost in growth rate.

While the technique does work, it is important to note that this method can lead to stunted growth and poor yields if it isn’t performed at the right time. For this reason, it is best to start fimming when the plant has 3 to 5 nodes and has started to enter the vegetative stage.

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The best way to perform fimming is to make sure that the cut you make is accurate and clean. This will prevent any contamination from entering the bud. It is also important to spray the plant with a solution before making the cut.


Lollipopping is a high yield pruning technique favoured by indoor cannabis cultivators. It works by removing the lower bud sites, allowing all of a plant’s energy to be focused on bigger buds growing above it.

To start with, you need to be aware of how much light your cannabis plants are receiving and whether it is adequate for the development of healthy buds. Generally, the lowest parts of a plant will receive less light than higher up branches and leaves, so you want to remove any that aren’t getting enough sunlight.

Once you’ve found the areas that aren’t getting enough light, use a pair of pruning shears to cut them away. Using the right tool for this type of work, such as Samurai Warrior Pruning Shears that have a non-slip handle and stainless steel blades will make this process much easier.

The main purpose of lollipopping is to promote lusher canopies with larger, heavier buds that are more dense and potent. It’s also a great way to centralize bud production on the top of the canopy where there is more natural light coverage and airflow.

This can help to improve bud quality and increase the overall harvest size, resulting in a higher quality crop. However, there are some concerns around this pruning technique.

One of the main risks with lollipopping is the stress it can cause your plants. This can affect growth and even cause them to shut down completely, so it’s best to do a small trial run before you try it on a whole crop.

It’s also a good idea to wait until your plants are in the flowering phase before you begin the lollipopping process. This gives them a chance to recover from the shock of having their bud sites removed.

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