Topping, tinkering, what when how?
Many wonder about it, but know something about it, many know a lot about it, many do not know what it is. But almost everyone knows that you should do it. So what exactly is this topping a plant? Topping is widely used in chilli cultivation, but can also be used on peppers and other shrub crops. For example, it is used in large scale on trees, but then it is called cutting down. Ok so let's go through this plain and simple. Why should I top? You should top your plants because you will get a better branching, you will get a thicker trunk, better growth, shoots out of existing nodes and branches and not least earlier flowering if you are looking for it! How does it work? When you top a chilli, the growth hormones in the plant will be pushed down the stem towards the roots. When these are pushed up again, you will get growth. After one to two weeks, new leaves and shoots will form on old branches, leaf nodes, etc. up the trunk. The trunk will also become more powerful. At the place where you peaked, you usually get a Y branch. When will I peak? I would say it's fine to start topping your plants when they have 3-4 pairs of true leaves. You would prefer to start this early so that you get a denser and more solid plant, but branching early. Should I top once or continue? Personally, I peak all the way through the season. After a few weeks I top the plants again, but this time I top the shoots on the branches that have come. And continue like this on new branches that spread outward so that you get a dense and nice bush with lots of branches. Then you also get a lot of fruit! It is important that when the plants start to get big that you remove the leaf mass at the bottom so that you get sun and air circulation over the soil and the lower parts of the plant. Imagine a bonsai tree! A trunk, with a crown of foliage above! Top or FIMMING? This is completely individual. Fimmin comes from "Fu"k I missed", that is someone who tried to top, but missed. But this method is actually better if done correctly, especially during the off-season. As a general rule, I do: tops as described above the first time, then I break the fimmin method. When you top, you cut off below the top shot. When using fimming, you cut above the top shoot, just above where the pair of leaves and new shoot have stems sticking out. As a rule, you are left with 4 cut stems. If you're lucky, you usually get a Y branch on two of them, and fruit/leaf on the other two! Here is a small video where both fimming and topping are performed (subscribe to our YouTube channel and you will get what comes there)