Last Updated on September, 2023 by Rob Wilson
When you are growing your marijuana plant indoors, you have a much greater level of control over its growth. Unlike the outdoors growth where the weed grows naturally in the wild, you have the power to trim it and grow it in a better manner conducive for better growth. Furthermore, you also have the option to clone your plant using some portions of its stem. The idea behind growing indoors is that you can have enough level of control over the plants that you are growing that you can maximize their yield potential and get the most out of what you are growing.
Over the course of this article, we will take a closer look at what pruning is and why it is important for plants, and particularly for marijuana plants. Then we will take a closer look at the constant debate in the grower’s community about fimming vs topping and look at each of them individually and understand their pros and cons. We then proceed to the best pruning tools for growing marijuana along with a detailed review of each of them, followed by answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about pruning before we conclude.
Let us begin at the basics:
What is Pruning and Why Does Marijuana Need Pruning?
In the most simplistic sense of the word, pruning is cutting off some pieces of a plant. Basically, this is done in order to make the plant stronger and to take some ‘burden’ off it. If you do not prune your plants you don’t lose out on much, but your plant can grow even better if you prune it. If you leave your marijuana plant unpruned, you will observe that it looks like a Christmas tree. However, pruning it properly will ensure that all the excess is let go while the core portions remain.
In addition to that, if your plants are well pruned, you will be able to observe them closely and check them for any potential diseases or problems that they might be facing. The main idea behind pruning is that there are certain parts that the plant doesn’t need. There will be some leaves which are dying and the longer they stay around, the more resources will go into them which can otherwise be utilized by the plant. This is where you shear them off!
Basically, once you prune off the excesses, the remaining portions will get a higher proportion of the resources that they were already getting, which would mean those portions will grow in a better manner. Moreover, pruning, if done right, will allow your plant to grow newer branches as well. The more the branches, the more the produce and the higher the yield! Hence, pruning, while not being necessary, is still a recommended tactic.
Fimming vs Topping: What is Topping?
In the simplest of words, topping involves cutting off the top portions of the plant between the nodes. The main aim of using this method of pruning your marijuana plant is that it will allow the maximum possible light to reach your plants. Topping as a process is of a critical importance in grow room or grow tent setups because artificial light is being used. In topping, you prune off the main shoot at the top, which will lead to more branches stemming out.
Topping the plant ensures that the entire plant has access to more light. With more branches growing, it basically means that your yields are also going to be higher. In order to ensure that there is no negative impact on your plant, you must make sure that you do the process of topping when it is at an early stage of growth (at least 10 inches in size). You can do this even earlier for clones.
While topping your plant is good for it, there are some strains of marijuana which you should avoid when using this method of pruning. This is especially true for indica strain marijuana plants which are slow-growing and don’t attain much height. However, since slow growing strains take a lot of time to mature properly, it is not advised to prune them early on (or do that at all using topping).
This process is particularly useful for growers who do not have a very tall growing room or a grow tent. Basically, topping ensures you of one thing that your plants will stop or at least slow down on their upward growth and will start growing outwards. As the plant becomes wider with topping, it allows for the marijuana plant to get more access to sunlight and thereby grow better.
- Topping is a beginner friendly process and is good for novice growers when you compare it as topping vs fimming.
- While you cut off one cola, it will give rise to two of them thereby increasing your net yield.
- Topping has one major benefit that it ensures that your plant gets access to more light because it makes it grow outwards and therefore makes them wider increasing their surface area.
- Lastly, topping has another benefit in the form of ensuring that your plants remain in shape and do not grow out into a jumbled mess like a Christmas tree. This shape ends up blocking sunlight to lower edges of the plant.
- Doesn’t work well on big and heavy plants as those plants might split into half under their weight.
- Risk of diseases and bud-rot might increase just because of the sheer number of new buds that pop up.
Fimming vs Topping: What is Fimming?
Now that you know what topping is, let us take a closer look at the second technique of pruning in our fimming vs topping comparison: fimming. While the process of topping is all about cutting the plant from the top, the process of fimming is about removing some parts of the latest shoot that the plant is growing. The idea behind fimming is to get four buds instead of the one main one. The process of fimming is one where experienced growers know that their plant might get a little damaged but that damage will soon be recovered once the growth resumes. Fimming is a high-stress training technique for plants. Perhaps the biggest difference between fimming vs topping is the fact that while in topping you cut between the nodes, this is something that you don’t do while fimming your plant.
The end goal of fimming and topping is pretty much the same as both of them are giving the growers pretty much the same thing – higher yields. Fimming is the best for fast-growing plants as it cuts down the rate of their growth and makes them grow wider instead of taller, making it great for growers who don’t have a big enough grow tent. This part here is similar to that of topping because in both these pruning techniques, the plants are basically growing wider and therefore getting more sunlight. In both processes cutting is leading to growth of more buds and therefore resulting in a higher yield.
Fimming can be done multiple times and it is a process that certainly aids the plants in growing bushier and grow more. While some growers might get worried that portions of their plant are getting damaged, that is actually something you should expect and not worry much about because this is a common thing in this process. Eventually, the plant would heal and would grow bigger and better and give you higher yields and returns.
- Produces even more cola when you compare Fimming vs Topping. This gives you a higher yield.
- Helps reduce the risk of diseases
- Helps widen the plant, thereby increases the surface area so that more sunlight can reach your plants
- Mostly preferred by experienced growers, can be a little hard for beginners
- Can damage the plants a little, if done wrong this damage might be irreversible
Best Pruning Shears for Growing Marijuana
#1. Felco Pruning Shears (F 310)
Featuring handles that are made of aluminum and blades that are made out of steel, the Felco pruning shears (F 310) are among the most durable names for those looking forward to buying the best pruning shears for growing marijuana. Add to that a design that is both, ergonomically sound and comfortable to use, this is simply the perfect combination for growers who are new to pruning as well as for those who have been pruning for quite some time now. These pruning shears fit in your hands really well and give you a good grip over the handle. It also comes with shock absorbers that decrease the risk of injury.
These shears have a large cutting capacity which allow the growers to make precise incisions on their plants and cut them um really well. It can also double-up as a wire cutter for small wires. There’s a narrow pointed anvil blade on this pruning shear which makes sure that twigs and other harder portions can be cut off.
#2. Gardenite Ultra Snip 6.7 Inch Pruning Shear with Stainless Steel Blades
This 6.7 inch shear from Gardenite is one of the best options for those who are looking forward to buying the best pruning shears for cutting up their plants. The upper and lower blades of this pruning shear are made out of stainless steel. The handles of this pruning shear are really long which is a great plus point for those growers who have big hands or for those growers who are looking forward to using a pruning shear with a good grip.
The handles are made out of chromed zinc and has rubber grips on top of it. Since the handles are long and comfortable to use, they also reduce the strain on hand. The spring in the middle of these pruning shears is made of chromed carbon steel, which opens up the blades in gentle manner which ensures it operates smoothly and the wear and tear is minimal.
#3. VIVOSUN 6.5 Inch Gardening Hand Pruner
VIVOSUN is a major name in the world of growing marijuana. The company has been making a number of equipment which have helped the growers grow better weed over the years and they also make some of the best pruning shears that you can buy and decide to settle this fimming vs topping debate once and for all by trying out these pruning techniques. The shears come in two variants – straight blade and curved blade. Both of these are the best pruning shears under $10 – the cheapest option that you can find but at a good quality.
It uses a spring which eases the stress off your hands and the blades are made out of stainless steel. There’s also a sideways locking mechanism which makes sure that the blades are locked when not in use, thereby making it a safe tool to use. Right as well as left handers can use this with equal ease. The colours of the handle are also nice and bright allowing the growers to spot them with ease!
#4. TABOR TOOLS Pruning Shears K77A
Last but not the least, the TABOR TOOLS Pruning Shears K77A is an amazing tool for those looking forward to testing out the differences between pruning via fimming vs topping on their own. It is one of the best pruning shears for growers who have dense plants because it provides a long reach allowing you to hold it firmly while trimming your plants from the interiors. It is made of a rust-proof stainless steel design that allows the growers an ease of cleaning this without worrying.
There’s an open/close clip on the bottom of the handles which makes sure that the shears are safe from any accidental harm that they might cause you. There’s also a shock absorbing spring which works really well and eases the strain on your hands. It is a durable pruning shear that will last you for long and provide you with a reliable pruning experience.
Frequently Asked Questions: FAQs About Pruning – Fimming vs Topping
#1. Why is Pruning Important?
Pruning is essential for a grower because it ensures that all the excesses are cut off and resources of a plant are utilized in a proper manner towards the growth of the plant. Pruning helps trim down the size of a plant and makes sure that all the portions that stay get better access to resources and produce higher yields. Pruning also makes sure that plants get better access to sunlight and can therefore grow well. While it is not a process that you ‘must’ do as a marijuana grower, it is a process that should be done in order to get better yields.
#2. What to look for in a pruning shear?
The best pruning shears need to be durable. This is one of the most basic requirements for getting a shear. Shears need to last long and should not break down while using them to prune your plants. The size and the weight of the shears also matter. Usually, people prefer using shears which are in proportion to their plants – i.e. large pruning shears for large plants and small pruning shears for small plants. Moreover, it also depends upon how big your hands are and whether you are a left-handed person or a right-handed person. Your pruning shears should also be easy to clean and easy to manage.
#3. Which is easier for beginners: Fimming vs Topping?
Topping is a method which is generally considered easy for beginners as it involves simple steps where you have to simply prune the plant from the top. It does not need you to make cuts at points where it might be possible to cause permanent damage to the plant. Fimming, on the other hand, needs you to know exactly what you are doing and hence you need to be very careful because fimming will almost always result in damage to the plants but it heals over time. If done wrong, fimming might end up reducing your yields rather than increasing them.
#4. When should you prune your marijuana plant?
Pruning is something that is usually done multiple times over a plant’s life cycle. Especially when you consider the marijuana plant, you need to ensure that you are pruning it only after the second week. However, you must also ensure that you stop all pruning work after the plant reaches the second week of the flowering stage. Indica plants would require you to wait three weeks before you start cutting them while the sativa strain is good to be pruned from the second week. Plants need at least three to four days to recover before you begin to re-prune them so take care of that as well.
#5. What to do with the pruned leaves?
The portions of the marijuana plant that are pruned off won’t really be of much use to you. This statement is especially true for the first three months of the plant’s life cycle. Beyond three months some leaves might be smokable. These leaves will carry some traces of THC but there’s a good chance that you will not get a kick out of it as the ‘high’ that you experience after smoking these leaves will be much weaker compared to what you would typically expect off marijuana. You can also make butter or oil out of these leaves.
#6. Can pruning increase yield?
Yes, the biggest benefit of pruning is that it can increase your yield. Pruning can lead to an Texcesses and extra parts of the plants are chopped off and it allows for more branches and new buds to develop, which leads to more buds. With the extra parts gone, the resources will be allocated to the existing portions in a better manner. Furthermore by restricting the vertical growth you grow the plant outwards, thereby increasing the surface area where sunlight can help boost the plant’s yields and growth.
#7. What is lollipopping your plants?
While fimming vs topping is the primary debate when it comes to pruning your plant, there’s also a third technique – lollipopping. You can consider it as almost the reverse of what topping is. Instead of removing some of the upper portions of the plants, lollipopping is basically removing the lower portions of your plants so that the buds on the top can develop in a better manner. The idea behind lollipopping is that it will ensure that the lower portions, which are over-shaded, are removed. These aren’t high-yield areas anyway as the light that they receive is limited. This also leads to the plants developing bigger colas.
#8. What are some effects of over-pruning?
Excess of anything is bad and the same applies to the pruning process. While under-pruned plants are not good and not suitable for the growth of marijuana plants, over-pruned plants can also be quite dangerous because that would lead to portions being chopped off prematurely and if you prune it too much you’d be left with far too few branches and therefore it will lead to a far lesser yield as well.
We hope that this article helped you understand the difference between fimming vs topping in a better manner. We have focused on both, fimming and topping in detail, while also giving you a detailed insight on what pruning is, why it is important for the marijuana plant, and answered some of the frequently asked questions about fimming and topping. We have also provided you with a list of the best pruning shears available in the markets that you can buy online right now! We hope that this article has helped you make a better and well informed choice while buying these pruning shears!
Happy Growing! 🙂
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