Cannabis Trimming Techniques and Tips
3 min

Top 4 Pruning Techniques For Your Cannabis Plants

3 min

Could you use a fatter stash of marijuana? Of course you could! We’ve got 4 pruning for yield techniques to show you that pro growers have been using for decades to boost bud production. Give these 4 pruning methods a try whether you are a micro-grower or commercial cultivator.


Growing cannabis plants naturally, without training or pruning, can lead you to a very successful harvest. However, this usually only holds true for two kinds of cannabis gardens. One is a private and spacious outdoor garden with plenty of natural sunlight and warm weather. The second is an indoor SOG of at least 1m² in size.

In the first case, pruning or training is not required due to the natural path of the sun. As the earth orbits the sun, the angle of sunlight that the outdoor cannabis plant receives is constantly moving. Therefore, the whole plant gets a decent amount of rays at some point during the day.

The second case really can apply to any indoor grow space, once the grower has settled on using the SOG or Sea of Green method. This necessitates large numbers of cannabis plants packed tightly together in square pots/containers to fill up the entire growing area. A short vegetative cycle is implemented to ensure a quick turnaround and to limit overall plant height.

Clones are most effective, but stable, uniform indicas or autoflowering strains grown from seed can work. Here again, there is no need for pruning. Each cannabis plant in a SOG typically produces a single, chunky, long-running main cola and a few side branches.


4 Cannabis Pruning Techniques To Increase Your Yield

The alternative to high-volume indoor cultivation or outdoor ganja tree farming is to apply pruning techniques. Pruning for yield is not the forbidden knowledge of the “Grand Master” grower. Any grower of any experience level can experiment. The following 4 pruning techniques will increase your yield if you apply them correctly.

So pay close attention to the next section and clean your trimming scissors. Remember, practice makes perfect - your harvest depends on it.


Topping Cannabis

Topping is the simple way to double down on top colas. Simply remove the apical bud or main stem with a clean cut or careful pinch between the fingers. Make sure to apply this technique during the vegetative growth phase, preferably when plants have reached 30cm in height.

The two shoots immediately below will grow up to become two top colas. Moreover, topping cannabis plants also diffuses hormones throughout the branches, encouraging them to grow more vigorously. This technique helps give your marijuana a bushy profile and can be repeated to fill out the grow space.

The downside of topping is the minimum one week recovery time, subsequently prolonging the vegetative growth period. This period extends further should you choose to top plants multiple times, or even prune a few tall, lateral branches. Also, topping is unsuitable for autoflowering strains as they race into bloom too rapidly.


Trimming Lower Branches Cannabis

Perhaps the easiest experiment for the novice grower is to indulge in a little lower growth trimming. Cutting away lower branches is best applied during the veg phase. It’s important to trim in a controlled fashion and not remove too many branches and leaves.

The first couple sets of branches can be removed and put to good use. Why not also give cloning a try? After 3-4 weeks of vegetative growth, it’s a good idea to cut away the 2 lowest sets of branches to increase air-flow.

This trimming also causes cannabis plants to concentrate their energy on bud sites closer to the light. These lower shoots are the oldest and have a good chance of taking root as cuttings. Don’t waste them. Combine trimming with a cloning experiment to facilitate crop rotation.

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Pruning: Everything You Need To Know

Cutting too much will stress plants and could stunt growth or induce hermies, so don’t over-do it. Timing is very important when it comes to trimming. Early pruning when plants are young can be tricky. Similarly, trimming during bloom can be problematic.

Weeks 3 and 4 of vegetative growth are a safe window to do some trimming for high yield with low risk. This technique is suitable for taller, 4th-generation autoflowering or SuperAuto strains.


Fimmimg cannabis plants

FIM or “Fuck I Missed” is an accidentally discovered variant of the topping technique, hence the name. Simply remove 75% of the terminal bud or tip of the main stem and that’s fimming. As with topping, the grower can use either scissors or their fingertips. Most prefer to pinch when fimming as a clean cut is not the primary objective.

The pleasant, yield-boosting reward of fimming is 4+ new main shoots, instead of the 2 from a clean topping. Again, this a technique not recommended for autos.

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Fimming Cannabis: Everything You Need to Know


Lollipopping is another pruning for yield technique that lends itself better to pinching with fingers than using scissors. The big difference with this one is you must wait until flowering to start pruning. By Lollipopping a cannabis plant during week 3 or 4 of the bloom cycle, you give the branches a lollipop look.

Stripping away the lower bud sites and leaving only the tops to fill out into fat nugs gives cannabis plants a top-heavy structure. Kind of like a dank green lollipop. As is the case with the three prior techniques, lollipopping is best applied in combination with the ScrOG method.

In fact, lollipopping is pretty much a must-do for a screen of green. By focussing all plant energy into tops and not wasting any light on leafy lower flowers, lollipopping also improves the quality, as well as the quantity of trophy colas. Fewer leaves and fatter flowers will develop. Plus, instead of figuring out what to do with extra trim and popcorn buds, you’ll have nothing but A-grade stash.

Steven Voser
Steven Voser
Steven Voser is an independent cannabis journalist with over 6 years of experience writing about all things weed; how to grow it, how best to enjoy it, and the booming industry and murky legal landscape surrounding it.
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