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A Simple Guide to Topping and Pruning

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#141 SteelHeat

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Posted 06 March 2016 - 10:37 PM

UPDATE: I just did it, and are definitely OK 24hrs later, so glad to have chopped all those Aphids!


Update?

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#142 Mrike71

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Posted 12 March 2016 - 11:44 PM

thanks , i need this info 



#143 Jamison

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 01:55 PM

Have you ever done an actual side by side comparison of actual fruit harvested by weight?  I know alot of people like to prune and top their plants but I can't see any reason for it.  Chili plants tend to be bushy by nature.  I never top or prune (except when the massively over weighted branches are pulling my plants down into my paths)  Your'e really slowing down the progress of the plant for what i have yet to see as a noticable if any gain in actual fruit produced.  In all my research I've only found one actual study done and it was on pruning for commercial greenhouse trellising "V trellis vs Spanish".  http://horttech.ashspublications.org/content/14/4/507.full.pdf It really only talks about increasing  "marketable yields" meaning ones that look nice or ship well and it's bell peppers.  I actually was just talking about blossom end rot and now that Im thinking about it over pruneing could be a cause.  The main stem of a plant is like a highway which shuttles water and nutrients to the different off shoots of the network and eventually to the rest of the plant.  Youd get to work much faster and efficiently if you only had one big road to take instead of a hundreds of side streets.  So diverting the flow of calcium carrying water over and over could mean more in the stems and less in the fruit. Trees are pruned but for the health and vigor of the tree over years and those with a central leader produce the most fruit, but with an annual like a chilli it just dosent seem to make sense. But again if youve ever conducted any actual experiments Id love to hear about it.

 

 

Pepper plants are actually perennials and not annuals.  



#144 The_Birdman

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 08:06 AM

Update?

They are much, much healthier. Very glad I went for it. Will be much more strict about pruning all of my plants from now on!



#145 Topsmoke

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 07:16 PM

 

 

Pepper plants are actually perennials and not annuals.  

correct but most people grow them as annuals since they require sub tropic conditions year round but what I was really trying to do was make the distinction between a quick growing plant like a pepper compared to the 5 year wait for fruit on something like an apple tree.



#146 Helvete

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 05:10 AM

Most pepper plants I've ever grown never produced the best their first year, it takes 2-3 years before they're in their prime.  Americans and Europeans are less likely to grow peppers as perennials and more likely to treat them like potato plants. Most areas that grow large pepper crops treat them like orchards.  Mass bell pepper production in places like Mexico and California is done with large scale grow operations with many plants likely to be several years old.  In Vietnam their pepper groves are the envy of nations http://www.thehindub...icle1168148.ece

 

Some areas of the US even still have wild peppers.  Basically in regions that stay above freezing you can farm peppers for most of the year.  It's not an annual at all, no species of pepper is truly an annual...many wild species can take several years just to bloom.


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#147 Dan Piepho

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 01:12 PM

Are there any varieties that do not react well to topping and/or pruning?

I was following a conversation in a facebook group but I am unable to find it now. One guy mentioned bell peppers especially do not react well and it seems to stunt their growth. I've started over 50 varieties of hot peppers this year and I was about to start topping/pruning. I figured I better wait and learn more before I start.



#148 Helvete

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 03:04 PM

Are there any varieties that do not react well to topping and/or pruning?

I was following a conversation in a facebook group but I am unable to find it now. One guy mentioned bell peppers especially do not react well and it seems to stunt their growth. I've started over 50 varieties of hot peppers this year and I was about to start topping/pruning. I figured I better wait and learn more before I start.

I think it depends on grow season length.  Bell peppers have large meaty berries (like also Big Jims) and if you have a short grow season then you won't be able to top them and get a return in the same year as easily as someone who has a 6-7 month grow season.  If you're overwintering plants then it's practically a nonissue.  It can also be avoided by starting your seedlings very early (like December) and topping it long before they go outside.


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#149 mrgrowguy

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Posted 29 April 2016 - 05:59 PM

So, normally I'm an advocate for pruning away as necessary for either accommodation or for experimentation... BUT I was thinking just now...

 

We've been going back and forth for a long time using production and space as the major reason to prune or not. What about being pest deterrent?

 

Plants that don't get topped are likely to not be as bushy and not be as close to the ground. Having the majority of a plant higher off the ground (in general) helps protect against ground-originating bugs/pests (such as slugs and snails). Not that it is a 100% guarantee that the long climb isn't going to deter a hungry critter, but it might...

 

 

 

 

 

.


Edited by mrgrowguy, 29 April 2016 - 06:02 PM.

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#150 Hybrid_Mode_01

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Posted 29 April 2016 - 08:17 PM

So, normally I'm an advocate for pruning away as necessary for either accommodation or for experimentation... BUT I was thinking just now...

 

We've been going back and forth for a long time using production and space as the major reason to prune or not. What about being pest deterrent?

 

Plants that don't get topped are likely to not be as bushy and not be as close to the ground. Having the majority of a plant higher off the ground (in general) helps protect against ground-originating bugs/pests (such as slugs and snails). Not that it is a 100% guarantee that the long climb isn't going to deter a hungry critter, but it might...

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

 

     That's one of the main reasons I pick all the shoots off the lower 4-8" of my plants' stems. No more slug damage!  :dance: Plus the extra airflow allows plants to dry faster - reducing the chances of BLS.


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#151 StrapOnFetus

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Posted 08 June 2016 - 06:25 PM

I always thought that chopping pepper plants for over wintering would harm them. However, after the cut I did last year, they bounced back in huge ways. They are hearty plants indeed. 



#152 flexy123

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Posted 02 July 2016 - 05:12 AM

I am still relatively new to topping, pruning, but here is what I learned the last few days:

 

Topping (and I assume pruning too) can be essential depending how and where you grow.

 

Here is an example of a newbie mistake I made, I grew those from seed under 3500K LED COBs, in a Hydro setup (extreme fast growth).

See the WHITE pots?

 

newpeppers2.JPG

 

My Jalapenos and Serranos got crazily tall, and leggy. The ones in the white pots are about 1m (3-4ft) tall, they basically outgrew how I high I can put the light up. All the growing power from the light and my Hydro went into vertical grow, and the plants wouldn't even stop growing.

 

To make matters worse, of course the plants developed a very dense foliage and with the light even further up, less light reached the bottom

 

It was horrible, I chopped my 16 plants like this in the greenhouse now.

 

I guess it can be a good idea if you have an idea what stem height would be optimal, say maybe only 1 ft maximum, and then trim/top any new branch in the same way and don't let any branch get taller than that. Of course it depends on how you grow them (the type of light you use plays a role, the type of pepper, some may grow bushier and shorter and you won't need to top them). A "colder" vegging light, say at 5000-6000K color temp is also likely to promote shorter, bushier grow while warmer lights (2500-3500K etc.) would make plants stretch more).

 

I will see how those I topped will grow now, but I already started to top my new seedlings (topped them at about 0.8ft), it's simply silly to have them put all the energy into vertical grow. (Even those I put upstairs and didn't top are less than optimal, very sensitive to wind, breaking etc.)

 

So I really think that topping and pruning is very important!

 

Fun fact: The faster and taller they grow (especially with Hydro...), the more often do you need to up your light. At times I had to put my light 5cm or so up every day. And the higher your light, the more does your plant want to stretch... So it makes sense to have your plants at one reasonable height, AND KEEP THEM THERE. At some points, especially if your grow space is limited, more vertical growth just doesn't make any sense, so you WILL have to top at at some point.


Edited by flexy123, 02 July 2016 - 05:25 AM.


#153 Tarzan

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 02:30 PM

I have topped my peppers this year, and they became gigantic. I guess I should put weights on the branches that now grow a bit too tight together for my liking, but it seems they love it.

 

When I grew them under my grow light (full spectrum violet-red looking), they started growing branches even before I topped them, but when I did, they went nuts. I love the main stem now with all those thick branches, looks quite interesting. :)

 

I also needed to raise the lights, but, I was extremely limited in doing so, which means I needed to either get them out or place them beside the lights, not under. That's what I did and they still grew just fine. The small ones remained under lights until spring.

 

I am going to top them every year. Makes it much easier to keep them inside a little longer and enables me to sow them early enough to see the ripe pods. We have strangely cold springs recently, so I need to wait until mid May to finally get them out and with my luck, like this year, night temps below 10°C make them go almost dormant and to lose their leaves.


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#154 jeff84

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Posted 25 November 2016 - 05:04 AM

i have a question.  sorry if its already been asked and answered. 

 

i am starting some super hots indoors beginning of december.  i want to be able to have as many established cuttings as possible for sale in the spring.  ideally by the end of april but no later than mid may. 

 

my plan was to grow them inside under either mh or hps lighting in 5 gallon buckets.  pruning to get as many tops as possible for cuttings taken around the first of march. then moving the mother plants outdoors and plant them in the ground for my own personal garden.

 

assuming my seeds don't take 6 weeks to germinate, do you think it would be possible to produce 500+ rooted cuttings from 21 plants of 7 varieties?  I will likely only keep the best one of each variety grown outdoors for overwintering and repeat the process next year with only the seven plants. 

 

I have a space 5x10 feet in my basement I can devote to growing the 5gallon container mothers.  and using shelving and traditional flats more than enough room for the cuttings. 

 

if I were to attempt such a feat, I was thinking either a single 1000 watt light or 2 400w lights.  I am leaning more towards a metal halide as its not as stressful on the eyes. 

 

if a hps would be better then I am not opposed to using them, but it seems to me that a 4200k mh  would be just as if not better suited to growing peppers.

 

also, I realize that peppers are not photoperiod sensitive but I also imagine that longer days will help to produce more growth in the same period of time as a shorter day.  so I am thinking 18hrs of light is more likely to achieve my goal than 14 or 12 hours would. 

 

sorry there is a lot there that really doesn't fit the topic of this thread.  however, my main question is about pruning for a purpose, and that purpose is to create as many topps as possible.

 

and I also assume that a higher nitrogen fert will help to really het the leaves growing. 

 

if I am just way off on any of this or anyone could just provide some constructive criticism for my plan, I am all ears and as always very grateful







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