pinching marijuana plants

How to Pinch Your Plants to Increase Your Yields

by Jen Keehn – July 13, 2018

For most, the goal of growing weed is to get the biggest yield come harvest. One way to get the biggest yields you possibly can is by pinching your plants. There are two ways to pinch your plants to increase your yields. These are known as “topping” and “FIM” (Fuck It I Missed). While there are several different training techniques that can help ganja farmers yield high quantities of fat, dense nugs , pinching is possibly the easiest method a grower can use. Pinching your plants allows more sunlight to reach each area where flowers will eventually begin to bloom, offering space for more colas and more buds come harvest.

How Pinching Your Plants Will Increase Your Yield

When left alone, cannabis plants will grow straight up from one single stalk. Pinching your plants will help create bushier plants where more buds can grow. Rather than one single stalk, you get several areas where flowers will begin to produce rather than just one large cola.

When a plant grows, there are various hormones that control its growth and the manner it grows. The principle hormone involved in cannabis growth is known as auxin, which is initiated in the main stalk. All the energy put into this main stalk is called apical dominance and keeps the energy of the plant’s growth on the topmost bud of the plant.

When you take off the top stalk, apical dominance stops. The energy is taken from the topmost part of the plant and is dispersed to new growth areas. Without apical dominance, new stalks (those that have been pinched off) receive the energy needed to grow, transforming plants into a bush with several colas rather than one large stalk with a single cola.

Topping and FIMing are similar yet contain subtle differences. Both will help new growth areas sprout by splitting one branch into two or more. This allows these tips to become new colas rather than one simple stalk. Pinching your plant basically damages the plant by removing the topmost growth. From this damaged stalk, two new stalks will begin to grow with the opportunity for more colas to eventually produce.

How to Pinch Your Plants to Increase Your Yields: Topping vs. FIM

The pinching method you use is entirely up to you. Both will produce more colas and help you increase the yields you see in the end. Want to harvest over a pound instead of just a few ounces? Who doesn’t? Check out the following pinching methods to get more bang out of your bud.


Topping is one of the most common ways growers increase their yields. It’s an easy and effective way to train plants to produce more weed and can completely change the results you see in the end.

Topping involves cutting off the stem at the top of the cannabis plant between nodes. This will create two main colas at the top of the plant rather than just one. Topping is what will help your plant grow to be the big, bushy beast it has the potential to be. You’ll get several shoots that the sun reaches, encouraging the growth of more flowers and an increased overall yield.

Cannabis plants can be topped when they have developed three or four nodes. It’s wise to wait until your girls are well established with a healthy root system to begin topping to ensure that they recover the best they can.

Once you’ve topped your plant once, you can continue this method of pinching again and again throughout the growth cycle. Topping your plant once will give you two new colas, but multiple topping can turn this into four, six, eight, ten, etc. More space for colas to grow directly equals increased yields.

Multiple topping of your cannabis plant will turn it into a reverse Christmas tree shape. When you top throughout the growing period, more light reaches more space on your plant increasing growth where the plant is closest to the sun.


FIM is another method of pinching that stands for “fuck it I missed.” FIM allows your plant to grow four colas instead of one, dramatically increasing your final yield. While topping can stress your plant considerably, FIMing is much easier on your girls.

This is the least stressful method of topping and will hardly slow down the growth of your plants at all. Some growers insist that FIMing actually makes plants bushier than topping, allowing for dramatic plant growth and more room for dense colas.

The amount of weed you actually pinch off your plants with FIMing is very small. All you need to do is pinch or cut off the tips of the leaves of the newest growth on the new stalk that hasn’t yet begun to stretch out.

As with topping, you should wait to FIM your plants until they have 3-5 nodes. Once you’ve completed your initial round of FIMing, simply wait for your plant to recover and repeat through the growing process. Once your plants begin to sprout new shoots, you can continue using the FIM method to create the bushy plant your cannabis is meant to be.

Pinching Your Plants to Increase Your Yields

Topping and FIMing are two very simple ways to pinch your plants to increase your yields. Whether you’re growing one plant at your house or have plants spread out over an acre, pinching your plants will ensure you’re getting the most bud out of each that you possibly can.

If you’re going to grow weed, why not grow the most you can on one plant? Pinching your plants by topping or FIMing will give you the yields you desire and allow your girls to grow the biggest they can possibly be. Just remember, when pinching your plants multiple times, make sure your plant has recovered and is healthy before pinching again.

How to Pinch Your Plants to Increase Your Yields by Jen Keehn – July 13, 2018 For most, the goal of growing weed is to get the biggest yield come harvest. One way to get the biggest yields you

How to prune cannabis plants for maximum yields

Pruning is essential for improving the quality and yield of your cannabis plants. It’s an intimate practice between the gardener and the plant and allows you to closely look at your plants and check up on their health.

It might feel strange to intentionally cut off bits of your plant, but these parts won’t produce quality buds because they won’t receive a proper amount of light—they’ll get shaded out by the buds and foliage growing above.

Cutting off the branches will allow the plant to redirect its energy and resources to the quality buds that will receive plenty of light. You also want to prune off yellow or dead leaves on the plant—they have no use and will only waste the plant’s resources.

Pruning also creates open space in the middle of the plant, allowing air to flow through it more freely and letting light penetrate deeper, keeping the plant vibrant and healthy.

What to look for when pruning

Quality buds grow where the plant receives a lot of sunlight and airflow, particularly on the top of the plant. You’ll want to remove:

  • Low-down branches that receive little sunlight
  • Leaves that are dying off because of lack of light
  • Bud sites that are low down and don’t receive a lot of light

In the early stages of growth, a plant is narrow enough that most of the foliage will receive plenty of sunlight. Start pruning your plants once they begin to take a bushy shape, and top them to promote this bushy growth.

As a plant grows and bushes out, it’ll start to take a shape and define the canopy. This will give you a sense of where the quality buds will grow so that you can start pruning away the unnecessary portions of the plant.

From this point until about 3-4 weeks into the flowering stage, you can actively prune your plants. Once well into the flowering phase, you want to cease pruning—it can cause the plant to start producing vegetative growth again, which will diminish the size and quality of your yield.

How to prune your cannabis plants

Grab a pair of pruning shears, usually some Chikamasas or Fiskars, for quick work on small branches and leaves. Keep an additional pair with more strength nearby to cut larger branches.

Keep your clippers/scissors sharp and make clean snips—this will keep the plant healthy and prevent infection and damage.

  • Remove large branches first. This will allow you to clear out as much space as possible before you begin the more detailed work. Start with branches on the bottom of the plant. These won’t receive enough sunlight and will never become fully developed buds.
  • Cut off branches that are growing up into the middle of the plant, underneath the canopy. These branches will get shaded out and also won’t develop full buds.
  • Prune any small or dying branches or leaves.

In the days following a pruning, your plants should go through a burst of growth—the open space will allow extra light to get to the plant.

Pruning allows you to control the plant and direct where it puts its energy. Remember, pruning is a great opportunity to be present in your garden and to observe how your plants are doing. Take this time to also observe your plants and check their overall health, looking for pests, nutrient deficiencies, and soil issues.

Pruning your cannabis plants is essential for improving the yield and quality of your garden. Use our guide to learn how to prune your plants.