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A Simple Guide to Topping and Pruning

top topping pruning prune guide to pruning and topping

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#1 Jamison

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 11:21 AM

This will be a simple guide to topping and pruning your plants. For me its a MUST to do one or the other and a lot of times both to my plants. Its an easy way to get your plants to bush out and produce more pods. Some people don't like to do this, and some people are either scared or nervous to start chopping their plants. It gives a huge advantage to the plant IMO. Heres is how I do it and I'll explain with pictures and hopefully people won't be scared to do this. Here we go.


Pruning:

Pruning is simply removing leaves to let light into the middle of the plant. Ever noticed leaves trying to grow from a node?
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What its wanting to do is grow. Only one problem, its not getting the light it needs to do so. This is where pruning comes in. By sinply removing the leaf or leaves that are shading that node, you've now opened it up to the light.
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Easy right? You will eventually start to see a branch at that node. You can do this to as many nodes you want. Just make sure to leave a bit of foliage at the bottom for photosynthesis. Your plant will eventually look like this.
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Topping:

Topping can be a stressful thing to do for the grower simply because you've nurtured that seed to the beautiful plant it is now. But in the long run, the results far outweigh your worries. Topping is simply cutting the plant at the desired point above any set of nodes.
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Snip if off there and your plant will begin to "Y" and result in two main branches at the top. That send signals throughout the plant to GROW beneath the cut. They have a mind of their own believe it or not. I like to do this in the seedling stage if I'm not going to prune. That's an awesome way to create more nodes for buds. More nodes = more flowers, which in the end results in more pods!

Below are two plants one was pruned and one was topped just so you guys can see exactly what happens in the long run.

Topped plant:
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Pruned plant:
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Hope this helps anyone with questions about this subject. Please feel free to add your input and ask any question and I'll be glad to answer the best I can. Thanks!

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#2 PHB

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 11:44 AM

Thanks for the guide !

I've already tried prunning but not topping. I'll try this year on some of them. How old must be the plant for a good topping ? Can you do multi-topping ?
>> Please, give me your opinion on my Glog. I really need your expertise & advices ! Thanks :) <<

#3 holyhotpeppers

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 11:47 AM

Great info Jamison! Could you elaborate as to how doing both to the same plant will effect it. Ive topped and pruned to the same plant which resulted in very short bushy plants with numerous nodes.

Would doing this be too stressfull?

I also noticed when i topped only compared to topping and pruning, that the latter produced much quicker growth.

#4 idosimon

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 11:51 AM

Thanks for the guide !

I've already tried prunning but not topping. I'll try this year on some of them. How old must be the plant for a good topping ? Can you do multi-topping ?


You can top at any time you want! Topping pretty much redirects hormones (mainly auxin and gibberellins) to the lower branches of the plant, which is what allows them to branch out. So yes, you can top as much as you want, just don't top too many at a time because you reduce the number of leaves available for photosynthetic activity. I would suggest starting out by topping once and seeing how the plant reacts, and then you can top more based on that.

What I like to do is top maybe one or two tops at a time, and then make clones from the branches that I topped.

Be sure to visit my youtube channel, HUUUYpeppers! I am currently growing an indoor mako kokoo pepper.


#5 PHB

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 12:01 PM

You can top at any time you want! Topping pretty much redirects hormones (mainly auxin and gibberellins) to the lower branches of the plant, which is what allows them to branch out. So yes, you can top as much as you want, just don't top too many at a time because you reduce the number of leaves available for photosynthetic activity. I would suggest starting out by topping once and seeing how the plant reacts, and then you can top more based on that.

What I like to do is top maybe one or two tops at a time, and then make clones from the branches that I topped.


Thanks for the answer. It's probably off topic, but do you have good results with clones ? I mean does it become a fully mature healthy plant you can keep ?

Edited by PHB, 17 April 2013 - 12:01 PM.

>> Please, give me your opinion on my Glog. I really need your expertise & advices ! Thanks :) <<

#6 idosimon

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 12:10 PM

Thanks for the answer. It's probably off topic, but do you have good results with clones ? I mean does it become a fully mature healthy plant you can keep ?


It depends. The healthier and more vigorous the branch is, the better results that you will get. For instance, I took two clones from my bahamian goat pepper like a month ago, one from the bottom, and one from where I topped the plant. The bottom one died pretty quickly, but the top one is doing well and has finally rooted (basil can root in like 10 days, but the pepper I'm growing is extremely slow.)

Yeah it should become a fully mature and healthy plant, just make sure that you take a good quality clone.

Be sure to visit my youtube channel, HUUUYpeppers! I am currently growing an indoor mako kokoo pepper.


#7 coheed196

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 12:21 PM

Good job Jamison, I'm sure this info will help alot of people with questions.

I like the photo comparisons, Thanks
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#8 compmodder26

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 01:15 PM

I'm glad you posted this. I'm not unfamiliar with topping and pruning, but I've hesitated to do it until now because I thought my plants were still too small. For each variety that I have more than one plant for, I have now topped one and left the other one alone. It'll make for a nice little experiment.

Again, thanks for posting this.

Edited by compmodder26, 17 April 2013 - 01:15 PM.


#9 Jamison

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 02:39 PM

Thanks for the guide !

I've already tried prunning but not topping. I'll try this year on some of them. How old must be the plant for a good topping ? Can you do multi-topping ?


My suggestion for the youngest you can top a plant would to be when its on its third set of true leaves topping above the second set of nodes. Yes you can multi top. Top the two tops that come out of your first topping and now you will have 4 so on and so forth. Thanks for reading!

Great info Jamison! Could you elaborate as to how doing both to the same plant will effect it. Ive topped and pruned to the same plant which resulted in very short bushy plants with numerous nodes.

Would doing this be too stressfull?

I also noticed when i topped only compared to topping and pruning, that the latter produced much quicker growth.

Topping and pruning at the same time will just keep adding chutes and branches at different nodes at the same time. Which is what we are going for here. I don't find it to be stressful whatsoever to the plant. In fact I think it helps it along quite nicely. There is plenty of roots to support all the new growth. And yes I agree topping and pruning at the same time produces quicker growth because your letting a lot more light into the middle of the plant which allows for more photosynthesis at the nodes. The more light the better IMO. Thanks for reading my guide!

Good job Jamison, I'm sure this info will help alot of people with questions.

I like the photo comparisons, Thanks


Thanks Coheed, I really appreciate that!

I'm glad you posted this. I'm not unfamiliar with topping and pruning, but I've hesitated to do it until now because I thought my plants were still too small. For each variety that I have more than one plant for, I have now topped one and left the other one alone. It'll make for a nice little experiment.

Again, thanks for posting this.


Exactly what I intended this guide for was people that were hesitant about doing so. You'll notice a huge difference between plants, I guarantee it bud! Thanks for the kind word Comp, much appreciated!

#10 koskorgul

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 02:42 PM

Thanks for the info. I think I will give this a try with some of my plants.
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#11 Jamison

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 05:15 PM

Thanks for the info. I think I will give this a try with some of my plants.


Awesome, glad to hear and have fun!

#12 spicy_echo

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 06:27 PM

Nice guide. I have a Bhut and Trinidad in an aerogarden and they have pruned themselves really. Leaves would get to big and fall off. At first I was worried about the plant but now I'm noticing a ton of new growth.

Edited by spicy_echo, 17 April 2013 - 06:28 PM.


#13 Oski

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 06:37 PM

Heres a little side by side of the same pepper from one pod. The left was topped March 21 and right was untouched.
click for a larger image
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A pic of the fork

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#14 vermont

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 08:12 PM

I have good results with the fimming technique.

#15 standbyandfire

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 08:12 PM

Damn Aphids topped mine off for me. Once I got plants outside the bottom growth took off. Thanks Aphids! :)
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#16 ms1476

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 11:08 PM

Thank you for sharing this information.

#17 Yumyumyellow

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 11:20 PM

i've always wondered how big they should get before i start snipping away... thanks so much for posting this. i started unintentionally doing it last year once the leaves got about the size of my hand but never really paid attention to just how much it makes a difference. this will be a key part of this year's growing technique :)

is there any benefit to halving large leaves, lengthwise, so they continue photosynthetic activity and at the same time let more light in?
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#18 scrufy

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 12:23 AM

Excellent write up Jamison!

#19 HwyBill

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 03:03 AM

Thanks for the excellent beginner's guide.

I've not been too scared to try topping mine, I just never knew the proper way to before!

#20 Jamison

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 07:03 AM

i've always wondered how big they should get before i start snipping away... thanks so much for posting this. i started unintentionally doing it last year once the leaves got about the size of my hand but never really paid attention to just how much it makes a difference. this will be a key part of this year's growing technique :)

is there any benefit to halving large leaves, lengthwise, so they continue photosynthetic activity and at the same time let more light in?


IMO large leaves do nothing besides shade light. Granted their taking in photosynthesis, but also shading what photosynthesis could happen if that makes sense. I don't think ripping length wise would be a great idea. Might just end up killing that leaf anyways. Once a leaf is "hurt" the plant will just start sucking good nutrients trying to fix that leaf which will never happen. I like to remove all big leaves, as I notice leaves trying to come out of the node.





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