Cutting Techniques: Tie Down, Topping, Fimming and More

reading time: 3 min

Here you learn...

  • Common pruning techniques for your plants
  • The difference between low and High-stress training
  • What equipment is the right one

Caring for your plants isn't just limited to creating a comfortable environment. Getting a cut in the right spot every once in a while can work wonders and is definitely worth considering. With the right techniques, you can significantly influence not only the shape, but also the size of your plants. You can find out which methods we are talking about and how you use them further down in the text.

Your Grow Guru Team wishes you lots of fun gardening (and reading) :).

Low-stress and high-stress: the key differences

As mentioned at the beginning, it pays to shape your plants to your liking with a little time and effort. However, such a treatment is always associated with stress, since the affected plant must first invest energy in order to compensate for the respective change. Depending on which technique you use, the stress level can be higher or lower. This is exactly where the distinction between low and high stress training comes from.

Low Stress

The name already gives it away: the techniques in this one category are a bit gentler and don't put too much pressure on your plants. The aim is to shift the growth structure from the vertical to the width, thus creating bushy, full branches. This can be achieved, among other things, by tying down shoots or using nets. In this way there is no clear top drive and the other branches enter into a small competition during which they want to develop their full potential.

High-Stress

High-stress methods can be very stressful and should be used with caution. They are more invasive in nature and include things like topping or supercropping - so it's all about (properly) pruning your plants. The effects that can be achieved with the use of such techniques are quite different and we will therefore explain them a little later.

One thing we would like to mention at this point: in principle, the plant costs any shape from stress force. However, most strains and species are hardier than you might think. In order to really let your crop die with the methods described here, a lot has to go wrong. However, under too much stress, a plant can switch sexes, which can be problematic depending on what you're growing. On the whole, though, you don't need to be afraid of doing irreparable damage; grab some string or scissors and get started!

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The techniques easily explained

We recorded a video on this topic some time ago, in which we explain and demonstrate the various methods. If you want to watch it, just click Play:

Tie down

A very gentle technique because your plant is not damaged. Individual shoots are tied down with raffia, a soft cotton cord or, if necessary, with plant wire. The shoot should not be injured!

As a result, new shoots form at each internode (these are the places where the leaves grow from the shoots) and grow upwards.

Advantage and benefit:

You achieve a very squat growth, especially in width instead of in height. This method is mainly used with SCROG.

Breaking

Breaking a shoot means that the upper end of the branch is less well supplied. You trick your plant into believing that it has lost the affected shoot, so it invests more energy (in the form of nutrients and water) in the lateral shoots in front of it. After some time, if the kink has not been completely damaged, the main shoot will continue to grow and the kink itself will become lignified.

Advantage and Use:

You can use it to create a very "special" plant appearance . The technique is useful for window sill grows, for example, if you don't want the plant to grow beyond the top of the window.

Supercropping

Kinking in invasive: with this method you break part of the stem and tear the cell walls from the inside. This certainly sounds daunting at first, but it has its raison d'être:

The plant releases growth hormones to heal the damaged area as quickly as possible. In the end, it becomes more vital and, similar to buckling, forms a lignified area in the branch, which in turn increases the stability of the shoots. All in all, you ensure that your plant can withstand higher weights and thus bear larger fruits without any problems.

Advantages and benefits:

Young plants in particular can become strong, resistant and high-yielding specimens are used. However, they need time to recover from the harsh treatment.

Topping

During topping, you prune the top shoot (i.e. the largest shoot) of your plant. This reacts to this by simply developing two new head drives on the internode in front of the interface. You can also use this technique several times on the same plant, increasing the effect even further. Topping is very common and used regularly by many home gardeners.

Advantage and Benefits:

Instead of one main shoot, your plant will develop multiple top shoots that (like supercropping) compete with each other . The result is an increased yield.

Fimming

This is a variant of topping. The name of this method comes from FIM, which stands for "Fuck, I missed". This quirky name is rooted in the fact that you merely prune rather than sever the shoots of your plants (roughly 80% of the branch diameter). So you're not removing your top drive, you're just damaging it.

Advantage and benefit: If you succeed in fimming, you will not only get two, but three head drives with the help of this method.

Lollipopping

Lollipopping is the negative of topping. This means that you completely remove at least the two or three lowest branches (occasionally more) from your plant. As a result, all the energy (as before, this also means water and nutrients) is directed to the upper shoots, which causes them to develop more vigorously.

Advantage and Benefits:

Lollipopping is great for SOG projects as it allows so many small plants to be created with large top shoots

What you need for the cutting techniques

Good news: you don't need almost anything to use the methods we've described here (you've probably guessed it). Sharp scissors or a scalpel, disposable gloves and, if necessary, a net for wide-ranging buckling - that's all you need.

Even better news: you can of course find all of this in our shop.