pre flower topping

Pre Flower Topping: Should You Do It?

Topping is an important part to get more yield. We usually do it in the vegetation stage. But it’s common to miss the right time for topping. Because different strains take different times to grow. 

In that case, you may wonder, can you perform pre-flower topping

Yes, you can perform pre-flower topping if you think it’s really necessary. It won’t give your plants too much stress that the plant can’t handle. But make sure your plant is not already in the flowering stage. However, it is always best to top your cannabis while it’s in the vegetation stage. 

Don’t go yet. I will explain things you need to keep in mind while topping during the pre-flowering stage.  

Also, I will share how to perform the topping properly. Keep reading to know all about it. 


  • Set the grow lights to a suitable distance as plants grow taller during vegetative stage.
  • Always use disinfected tools to cut cannabis.
  • Don’t top during the flowering stage and vegetation stage.
  • Topping thicker plants will cause many issues.

Can You Top During Pre-Flower?

Yes, you can go for a pre-flower topping if you want. Although it is highly recommended to perform the topping during the vegetation stage. But there are some reasons for which, you can do it in the pre-flowering stage too. 

I’ll go through the reasons why you can top during pre-flowering. But before that, you must identify the pre-flower stage.

But, what does pre-flower look like?

The pre-female flowers look soft and woolly. However, you will only observe two white or pink fuzzy pistils emerging from the plant’s node. On the other hand, male Pre-flowers are essentially immature pollination clumps. They will develop into bunches that resemble berries when the plant begins to bloom.

Pre-Flower Cannabis
Source: Fast Buds

Now, let’s discuss the reasons why you can top during pre-flower too. 

Plants In This Stage Can Handle the Stress:

Some people say topping in the pre-flowering stage will give the plant too much stress. But, most of the people confirmed not having any problem with performing topping during this stage. 

Plants in the pre-flowering stage are not as vulnerable as in the flowering stage. So, it can go through this drastic change if you are careful enough. 

Pre-Flowering Doesn’t Stop the Plant Growth:

Simple, the main aim of topping is to get two stems from one, right? And that’s only possible if the plant is still in the growth phase. In the pre-flowering stage, cannabis still grows. 

Although not as fast as the vegetation stage. And the vegetation stage is long. You can notice changes in the vegetation stage every week

But as far as your concern with growth in pre-flowering, it will serve your purpose. So, to sum up, it’s possible to perform the topping during the pre-flowering stage. 

But the question is why are you going on a pre-flower topping? Let’s discuss them in the next section.

Why Do You Need Pre-Flower Topping?

There are some situations when you may have to go for pre-flowering topping. Like this person performing the pre-flower topping.

The reasons for doing pre-flower topping are listed below.

Flowering Stretch:

As we know, some plants grow big during the flowering stage. But it’s not always possible to predict growth. In the pre-flowering stage, you may guess that the plant is going in that direction. 

And then you have to top some of the nodes to keep the growth in control. Otherwise, you can not accommodate the tall plants in your setup.  

Lighting Situation:

Lighting setup is a very bothersome and drastic work. Especially when you are working in a large grow room. Sometimes in the pre-flowering stage, you realize that plants aren’t getting enough light evenly. 

Because the plant grew taller than usual. And the light distribution isn’t even in all the leaves. If your plant enters into the flowering like this, most of the bud won’t be mature. Because they won’t get enough light. 

Also, taller plants get too close to the lights. And they can get burned. You may need to do pre-flower topping in these situations. 

To avoid getting your cannabis plants burned, you need to install proper grow lights. Well, some of the best grow lights are recommended below.


Keep the grow light from seeds at a distance of 25-35 cm. 

Not Topping During Vegetation:

You may have somehow missed topping the plant in the flowering stage.  And now, you want to top the plant in the pre-flowering stage. It’s really common. Many newbie plant growers don’t know about topping.  And when they learn, they get interested. 


Some strains naturally grow too much. You may have thought the height is okay in the vegetation stage. But even after the pre-flowering stage, they are still growing. In that case, you have to go topping them at this stage. 

For these reasons, you may be thinking about performing a pre-flower topping. Also, with pre-flower topping, you may sometimes need to perform aggressive pre-flower pruning. You have to do it if the plant is too tall. 

If you have these situations, you may need a pre-flower topping. But you have to make sure of some things before starting with this process.

Pre Flower Topping Result.
Source: Bud Trainer

What to Ensure Before Performing Pre Flower Topping? 

Topping brings a drastic change and extra work to your cannabis. Not all the growing stages and plants can take this change. Let’s see when you should never perform the topping. 

Ensure Not to Perform Topping at the Flowering Stage:

Many plant growers mixed up the flowering stage with the pre-flowering stage. Pre flowering stage starts right after your cannabis goes through the first 12/12 light. It is still the stage where your plant grows. 

The pre-flowering stage is a small duration of 1-2 weeks only. After that, the flowering stage begins. In this stage, the plant stops growing the stems and focuses on the bud quality. 

So, what happens if you top during flower?

In the flowering stage, cannabis can’t heal from the topping. Because the plant is vulnerable. You won’t get much benefit by topping your plant at this stage. The bud growth will slow down. And you will get less yield. 

So make sure, the plant is still in the pre-flowering stage. And it hasn’t entered the flowering stage yet. 

Ensure the Plant is Healthy:

Topping causes a certain amount of stress or shock to the plant. Also, it’s a big change for the plants. Even a healthy plant takes 2-3 days to recover from that stress and heal. That too with the right care.  

Unhealthy plants most of the time aren’t able to heal themselves after this shock. And it’s already a little more difficult for the plant to heal in the pre-flowering stage. So, always make sure the plant is healthy before you perform the topping. 


Avoid using too much nitrogen. It will weaken your plants.

Don’t Top Thicker Plants:

If your plant is already very thick, you shouldn’t consider topping it in the pre-flowering stage. I know, the light distribution will be a little complicated. But still, it will be a smaller cost to pay. 

When the plant is very thick, it takes more time for it to get healed. And the pre-flowering stage is very short. So, a stressed and unhealed plant enters the flowering stage. naturally, then you will get less yield than usual. 

The same goes for the older plants too. They also take more time to heal. 

So, other than that, it’s okay to perform topping in the pre-flowering stage. But be extra careful as this stage is vulnerable. Confused about how to perform the topping properly? Read the next segment. 

How Can You Perform Pre Flower Topping Properly?

Some cannabis growers love topping whereas some don’t. It is a huge debate whether you should go for topping or not. But topping has its benefits. That’s why some feel the need for it. 

If you want to top, especially in the pre-flowering stage, here’s how you should do it. 

Are you topping that plant for the first time? Before topping, make sure there are at least 5 nodes. Although in the pre-flowering stage it’s common to get more nodes than that. 

After the first time, any nodes after the 2nd or 3rd can be topped. Okay, let’s get into the topping.    

Step 1: Prepare Disinfected Tools:

You will need a pair of topping or pruning scissors. You can use Fiskars pruning scissors. They are very reasonable and high-quality. Or you can also use a razor blade for the topping. Make sure whatever you are using is sharp.

And, always make sure the tools are disinfected. Or your plant can get exposed to germs. 

Step 2: Execute the Cut:

Before performing the cutting, mentally decide where you are going to cut. Sometimes people mess up and cut below the node. You just have to find the node and cut above it. 

Step 3: Take Care Of the Plant:

After the topping, the plant will need some time to get over the shock and heal. So, take care of your cannabis at this age. Make sure to use proper light and water. 

The process is actually very easy. Just have a steady hand and go for it. And in the pre-flowering stage, you will mostly get to the top only once. Check out this YouTube video for a better understanding.

Because this stage is short. You have to give the plant at least 2 weeks of rest before performing another topping.

Stress Training for Cannabis Buds
Source: Herbie Seeds

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Does Topping Increase Yield?

Yes, topping increases the overall yield. By topping you are getting two stems instead of one. although the colas will be smaller. But accumulate all the yield. And you still have more buds from two colas instead of one. 

What’s The Difference Between Topping And Fimming?

In topping, we cut down one entire node of the plant. Whereas, in fimming, we only cut 70-75% of the node. In topping, the colas get doubled faster than the fimming. But in the case of the healing process, fimming takes less time to heal than topping. 

Does Topping Make Smaller Buds?

Yes, the topping makes the buds smaller. Because it’s not a problem. Because topping one stem will result in getting two stems. Even if the buds are smaller, but in quantity, you will get more buds after topping. 


I hope now you know everything about pre-flower topping. I will recommend you perform the topping in the vegetation stage. But if you feel it’s necessary, go for pre-flower topping. Just be extra careful. 

That’s all for now. Best of luck with your cannabis. I hope you get the maximum yield possible. Happy planting.

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