• If you need help identifying a pepper, disease, or plant issue, please post in Identification.

The Great "Evidence for Topping (or not)" Thread

Well, we've talked about it for years.  Some of us swear by it, and others wouldn't do it.  But sometimes, you just have to wonder what's BS, and what's valuable.  So let's throw down here.
.
I'm suggesting that anybody who wants to participate, should post their "topped" vs "not-topped" plants.  But in order to make this truly valuable, we should put forth some criteria.
.
1) minimum sample size (my initial suggestion would a min of 12 plants)
2) all the same variety (listed by species)
3) all plants grown by each grower, grown in the same media (whatever that media is)
4) all fed and watered on the same schedule, same amounts, same, same, same
5) every plant in the experiment would preferably be topped the same way
.
There may be things that I have missed, as I rush to get this posted.  Your input, please... 
 
Sounds like a good experiment. I don't think you need 12 plants to see what happens, 2 of each topped and not topped should work. I also think you need to set perimeters on when topping occurs. The plants grow better for me when I transplant in the final place, give them 2 weeks to get established then top. That gives the plant more time to grow a better root system before they start throwing out sideshoots and start growing. I'm sure there's opinions on when to top but this is what I do. I guess it depends on your growing season too. 
 
Rajun Gardener said:
Sounds like a good experiment. I don't think you need 12 plants to see what happens, 2 of each topped and not topped should work. I also think you need to set perimeters on when topping occurs. The plants grow better for me when I transplant in the final place, give them 2 weeks to get established then top. That gives the plant more time to grow a better root system before they start throwing out sideshoots and start growing. I'm sure there's opinions on when to top but this is what I do. I guess it depends on your growing season too. 
 
This is all good input and consideration.
.
The only thing that I'd say, is that when it comes to subjective experiments, sample size is everything.  Maybe 12 plants is asking alot, but maybe not.  What say the group?  I don't want to leave anyone out of participation.
.
Maybe we could just kick this off, and repeat next season with more focused parameters, if we think we see correlation?
 
I have two Ethiopian Fire plants that I'm doing this experiment with. Not anywhere close to your suggested amount, but I'll let you know what happens nonetheless. We'll call it anecdotal data.
 
I saw Trent's post in the other thread after I posted and I think his will be a benchmark. That's a big sample size and I'm looking forward to his results.
 
Rajun Gardener said:
I saw Trent's post in the other thread after I posted and I think his will be a benchmark. That's a big sample size and I'm looking forward to his results.
 
Yes, I pm'd him, and invited his participation.  That's really a perfect size.
.
It will be nice to get all species represented, if possible, too.  Everything we can document is pure gold.
 
b3rnd said:
I have two Ethiopian Fire plants that I'm doing this experiment with. Not anywhere close to your suggested amount, but I'll let you know what happens nonetheless. We'll call it anecdotal data.
 
I'm not gonna say no to that.  :thumbsup:
 
I'm definitely a super small and inexperienced grower in comparison to most everyone here, but 12 plants would be half or more of my grow. I'm sure there are those who have space, but I'm not sure how many have enough space for 12 of the same variety.
 
Another thing to try and keep consistent is the amount of Light the plants are getting - so having that many plants might cause some problems with location - So if having to locate plants in different areas that get different light/shade hours it would be best to keep the numbers in each location split also (ie. If doing differnt areas don't put all 12 topped plants in just 1 area and non topped plants in another but keep sets of plants grouped in each area - so the growth in each area can be compared on both topped and non-topped )
 
I have 2 cayenne and 2 lemondrops that I topped one and left the other. I'm keeping everything else the same: same size pots, watered and fed at the same time with same stuff and they live next to each other.
 
topped.jpg

 
Those are all of my peppers. 
 
I lost all of the seedlings that I started last winter to an unusually cold and rainy spring. I found some healthy looking hot paper lantern transplants at Whole Foods of all places and the tags say “organic” on the ones I bought. One was pre-topped (no extra charge )! I was planning on doing the very same experiment but on a smaller scale. 6 plants total so I can top 2 more IF I can find the courage and strength to willingly mutilate a healthy plant. 
 
I am willing to post results here with other peeps and file under “incidental” stats. 
 
This is a great idea, just 5 months too late. Grows are already well started for the most part. I suppose annuums are still a possible candidate for a grow out if someone has the space yet. I have a small sampling of almost everything I am growing, but cannot use it as my Dec starts are topped and my late start is not. 1st is container and 2nd will be inground. And I got no more room to commit. I will however be closely watching my grow this year as I do not subscribe to topping and have always allowed the plants to do what they do on their own.
 
Yep, it's too late for most of the US growers, but we have lots of people all over the world. ;)
.
No need to end this experiment early, either...  Better to take some time and do it right.
.
I am not able to contribute at this time, either, but in the fall, when I plant second rotation, I'll try to tailor my grow to this experiment.
 
solid7 said:
1) minimum sample size (my initial suggestion would a min of 12 plants)
2) all the same variety (listed by species)
3) all plants grown by each grower, grown in the same media (whatever that media is)
4) all fed and watered on the same schedule, same amounts, same, same, same
5) every plant in the experiment would preferably be topped the same way
.
There may be things that I have missed, as I rush to get this posted.  Your input, please... 
 
Ideally all of the seed stock should come from the same plant,and if possible the same pod to try and eliminate genetic diversity as a component.  This suggestion means that growers would provide their own seeds for the year so talking about this NOW actually makes a ton of sense; select and harvest your pod(s) from the 2018 growing year for the selected seed stock.
 
I think minimum sample size can vary from grower to grower.  Larger numbers give more statistical weight, but if the total sample size of ALL growers is factored then even if each grower only grew 1/1 so long as there were a few hundred participants then the numbers have meaning.
 
 
Interesting experiment.  I do not have enough stock of a constant variety to isolate some control samples and work with the on/off options.  I did have seedlings earlier, but they got pummeled in a storm.  I do now have some new Habanero seedlings that may provide a good test group.  FWIW, my results with topping have been more favorable that not for enhancing growth, however I also have seen flowering drop off until the plant re-stabilizes.  Again, isolated cases. 
 
alkhall said:
I presume the goal of the experiment is to determine which (topped vs. not) produces the most pods, or the biggest pods, or what?
 
My goal would be to identify corollaries that would extend to more specific data.
.
Possible outcome: 
 
1) topping does not make a difference
2) topping makes an insignificant difference
3) topping makes a substantial difference
4) topping is significantly beneficial to species X
5) topping detrimental to species Y
6) other benefit/detriment that is only obvious with side by side
 
Any and all data that are ripe for the gleaning under diligent and studious eyes, are the goal of the experiment.  This doesn't have to all happen now, and it doesn't have to be the end.  Should something interesting arise, maybe it warrants to be observed on its own.  This is a starting point...
 
Top