Fimming vs Topping | Pruning Cannabis Techniques


Pruning is a basic skill in gardening. Yet, the idea of snipping off bits from your cannabis plant can sound pretty weird. Nonetheless, it has proven to be very effective for the growth of the plant and its buds. Besides, one can always make use of some extra cannabis, no? If you are wondering which pruning technique you should use for your cannabis, fimming vs topping, you have come to the right place.

Cannabis growers have always considered cannabis pruning as one of the most effective methods to enhance plant growth. Essentially, pruning refers to the selective removal of the tips of your plant for a fuller bush and prettier buds. Before carrying out the process, you need to know your goal and expected results. 

So, do you want to learn how to drastically increase your cannabis yield? In this article, we will see which technique is the best for increasing your marijuana harvest. Keep reading our fimming vs topping comparison.

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What is Cannabis Pruning? 

Let’s begin with a quick review of what pruning cannabis means. Cannabis pruning is a technique to enhance cannabis plant growth by getting rid of particular parts of the plant. 

Is it good for your plants? Yes, it ensures an increased yield and bud quality of the plant. Most cannabis growers carry out pruning when the plant starts to get bushy. 

When the extra branches grow smaller bud sites on the plant, the plant has to pay attention to many parts. At this stage, expert cannabis growers prune some parts of the plant, especially those that do not get enough water and sunlight. 

These parts include the lower areas, dead leaves, and lower bud sites. When you cut off a few extra buds, the plant can give adequate attention to the remaining parts, and the branches also get more water and better access to sunlight.

Now, the method of pruning ranges from low-stress pruning (LST) to high-stress pruning (HST). If you simply want to keep your garden tidy, go for LST. 

The LST involves training the plants to grow horizontally. However, if you want to prune for a higher yield, the advanced technique of HST is the way to go.

The high-stress training technique involves wounding the plant. When a plant undergoes stress, it tends to produce higher amounts of its defense. What does more protection mean? You guessed it. It means more crop for the grower. High-stress training can also make your plant grow more evenly and well-branched.

What is Fimming vs Topping?

Here are details about two of the most common and effective pruning techniques.

Topping: To Cut Off the Top of the Plant, Between Nodes.

Topping is a technique of pruning marijuana to boost the growth of the crop for maximum yield. To ‘top’ your cannabis means to cut off the top part of the plant, between the nodes. It would eventually result in a heavier, well-branched bush. Topping is the most common HST technique applied by indoor and outdoor growers.

Naturally, cannabis grows in the shape of a Christmas tree, with one main branch and multiple side branches. Typically, the outdoor plants receive sunlight from each side. However, indoor plants don’t receive equal amounts of light from the grow light that replaces the sun and powers the growth of the plants.

Fimming vs Topping Cannabis - Topping Cannabis

By topping, the whole plant gets an equal amount of sunlight and water. Moreover, topping forces the plant to redistribute the resources used for growth. That results in an even, heavy plant, with several main stems and many large colas (flowering site of a female plant). 

Fimming: To Remove the Newest Growth Without Cutting the Nodes.

Fimming is another technique of pruning marijuana by removing the newest growth of the plants, without cutting between the nodes. It stimulates the plant to redirect the growth hormones from the main stem towards the secondary branches. The new colas generated by this method are more than twice in number compared to the topping. However, they are not evenly distributed. 

As this technique is not as stressful for the plant as a topping, the plant either recovers quickly or doesn’t notice the loss at all. Hence, fimming is preferred by the small-scale cannabis growers with two to three plants. The growers report that fimming does not help to reduce the height of the plant. Instead, it can make the plant taller.

What is the Best Pruning Technique?

Topping your cannabis plant means a higher yield and a heavier harvest. It’s an easy procedure and requires beginner skills to carry out. 

It creates two main colas at the top of the plant. A few weeks after topping, you will see an increase in colas, a heavier bush, and a controlled shape which is more exposed to light. That makes it an effective way to grow healthier plants indoors.

On the downside, the open wounds caused on the plant can be an easy site for pathogens to infect it. The wound is also open to fungi and other harmful microorganisms.

Fimming, on the other hand, produces even more colas to achieve maximum yield while barely affecting the vertical growth. That’s right. It creates up to four main colas at the top of the plant. Consequently, fimming is preferred by more advanced growers. 

Nonetheless, since fimming is not very effective at reducing the height of the plant, it is not as stressful as a topping. As a result, fimming might not always achieve the desired effects.

The techniques of topping and fimming can prolong the time a plant spends in the vegetative growth stage. Moreover, big and heavy colas can cause a hefty plant, which would require support to stand vertically. 

So, fimming vs topping, what’s best? Although, both the techniques are very effective, not all strains like fimming. On the contrary, we have never encountered a strain that didn’t produce more buds when topped. At the end of the day, the best method for you depends on how your crop grows and reacts to different techniques.

Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons of Topping

Topping is an ideal technique for beginners as it requires basic gardening skills. Plus, you can have more control over the shape of the plants. The bush usually grows out evenly after the procedure while the buds get prettier. 

On the contrary, topping can be time-consuming and requires effort. Moreover, when you prune the plant, you create an open wound for bacteria and other organisms to enter. The technique is also highly stressful for the plant, and a slight mistake might stunt plant growth.

Pros and Cons of Fimming

Fimming creates comparatively more colas than topping. It makes fimming more suitable for small-scale cannabis growers who want to make the most out of their plants. Also, this method causes less stress to the plant allowing quick recovery. 

However, because of the lower stress, fimming doesn’t reduce vertical plant growth but could increase it. It could also create a top-heavy plant. Due to these, and a few other factors,  fimming might not be suitable for some plants.

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How to Prune Marijuana?

Confused how to get started? Here is a quick guide.


First off, you need to know what a node is. A node is a set of leaves that is a crossing point of the main stem and the individual branches. Generally, topping means to snip off the plant just above the fifth node. You need to cut through the stem, right above the next set of leaves from the top. So, you are simply removing the sixth node. 

After a few days, you’ll notice two main nodes in place of one. A few weeks later, they will turn into stems. In that manner, the removal will ensure a bushier and more even plant. 

Advanced marijuana growers can cut further on each branch above second or third nodes, for more thickness. Most growers wait for one to two weeks before further cutting. If you are a beginner, we recommend that you stop after the first cut and wait for the results. If you want to reduce the height of your marijuana, you can cut it down to your desired height, but the plant’s time and energy spent on the height will go in vain.


For fimming, you will need to wait until the plant has three to five nodes and then pinch the most recent node with your fingers. You need to leave a bit of the branch behind, only removing the tips. The fimming process enables the plant to grow up to four nodes in place of one. You can fim a taller plant, but the longer main stem will remain, making the new colas inflexible.

After fimming, the top of the plant will appear uneven, which is quite normal with this method. The colas might be placed unevenly, without joining the stem in the same place. 

Both of these methods require removing a part from the end of the cola of a young marijuana plant. The plant then redirects the growth hormones from one cola to many bud-laden colas.


After topping or fimming, the connection to each node thickens at the base, indicating that the plant is sending more nutrients across the whole internal system. That means faster growth, bigger colas, and increased yields for each of the affected stems.

Remember: Topping and fimming techniques only work in the vegetative growth stage.

You will need to wait until your plant has at least three to five nodes for fimming and four to six nodes for topping. If you prune a plant that is too young, the growth will drastically decline. While if you wait after each session of cannabis pruning, your plant will have enough time to recover from the stress. Additionally, damaging marijuana in the budding stage causes unnecessary stress to the plant, resulting in lower yields. 

A quick tip: To speed up the recovery process, you can make use of a light dose of plant nutrients, Vitamin B, and silica, right after pruning.

Tools You Need for Fimming vs Topping

To make the whole process easier for you, we made a list of tools needed for pruning cannabis.

Cannabis Pruning Shears

It is the most widely used tool for pruning. You need to sterilize your shears with rubbing alcohol before use. It’s better to invest in two shears, a smaller pair and a larger pair.

cannabis pruning shears

Trimming Tray

You can use a trimming tray or a sprouting tray but make sure it’s easy to clean.

Cleaning Supplies

Eventually, your scissors will get sticky with resin, and you will need some cleaning supplies. The rubbing alcohol will weaken the resin, making it easier to clean up.

Protective Clothing

The resin could also ruin your clothes if you are not well prepared. Use an apron to secure your clothes underneath. You can also wear gloves during long trimming sessions to prevent resin from sticking to your hands.


To be honest, both fimming and topping are good and effective pruning techniques. However, each is different and offers a different set of pros and cons. It is up to your own unique needs, which one you opt for.

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