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How to 'Top your Crop'

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The idea of ‘topping’ plants for production is something that's happened in the context of a greater trend toward controlling the physical structures of plants for yield and other benefits.

It's relatively common knowledge that hydroponics is a type of project that involves a lot of micromanagement. Growers control the atmosphere inside of a grow area, the chemical makeup of a reservoir and other key factors. But now with techniques like topping, more are learning about ways to control the plant itself that will also affect outcomes.

Topping and Other Plant Management Techniques

So what is plant topping? Topping simply involves taking the top portions off of plants to refocus growth elsewhere. In some cases, these strategies can lead to denser leaf and bud clusters and other kinds of specific growth.

Other related strategies include main lining, another type of pruning technique that creates a more centralized crop product. Then there’s also super cropping, where growers manipulate plant stems to trigger natural responses that, in marijuana plants, can raise levels of THC.

Tips for Topping

One key strategy for topping is to start this process early in the plant’s development. Part of the philosophy here is that instead of having one top bud, plants will develop two or four, or more. Growth will become stronger instead of taller.

It's also good to find specific strains of a plant that will respond to this type of pruning and cutting. It's easier to see the results quickly with fast-growing types of plants.

On the other hand, don't top seedlings too soon. Plants need to be able to develop root systems and establish themselves in a space before heavy pruning should occur.

Flowering Process

There's also quite a bit of debate on when to the top, and whether it's best to finish this process before the flowering phases or continue into the last few weeks of plant development. This is something that growers have to try out on their own and work out on a trial and error basis.

Topping and other crop techniques can have a beneficial impact on crops. Topping really goes back to some of the philosophies gardeners have used for many centuries, helping them to focus on the exact types of growth that are most important to the outcomes that the gardener wants.

For more about hydroponics and everything related to it, check out Dealzer’s product catalog and the information we offer to growers.

 
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