Super Pruning

Discussion in 'Advanced Marijuana Cultivation' started by RickWhite, Apr 10, 2010.


    RickWhite Well-Known Member

    There is a mechanism in plants whereby the hormone auxin cases the main shoots to grow much faster than the side branches or their branchlets. This results in a plant that grows tall with more sparse growth and little to no growth (and therefore buds) at the minor nodes.

    There should be a significant increase in yield if we were to control this phenomenon. One reason is that there would obviously be larger buds produced at the minor nodes. The other, and perhaps more significant advantage, is that the plant could be kept short with more nodes being close to our light source. Also, it seems that regularly directing the plant's energy into production of shoots rather than production of thick main stems and branches is a better use of this energy and will pay off come flower time.

    You can read about apical dominance here:

    In plant physiology, apical dominance is the phenomenon whereby the main central stem of the plant is dominant over (i.e., grows more strongly than) other side stems ; on a branch the main stem of the branch is further dominant over its own side branchlets.
    The apical bud (or tip) produces the growth hormone auxin, which not only promotes cell division, but also diffuses downward and inhibits the development of lateral bud growth which would otherwise compete with the apical tip for light and nutrients. Removing the apical tip and its suppressive hormone allows the lower dormant lateral buds to develop and the buds between the leaf stalk and stem to produce new shoots which compete to become the lead growth

    What I propose, is to begin pruning the main stem and all side branches as soon as the plant is about half of your target height. Or, as soon as there are 2-3 nodes on a branch behind the tip.

    I also propose at least two to three rounds of whole plant pruning even if it means a slightly longer veg time.

    Please do not confuse this with an attempt to develop more main shoots. This is an attempt to develop all minor nodes so that respectable sized buds form at every node on the plant and not just the main colas.

    To summarize:

    When your plant reaches decent size and / or branches have 2-3 nodes behind the main shoot, you prune the tops from entire plant. From where you prune, two new shoots will grow. After they each leave behind a set of nodes, prune again. You can even do another round in which case you will be pruning 4 tops. In the end, you should have a plant with significant growth coming from all minor nodes that will eventually become healthy buds instead of just shake for hash.

    If you are really brave, you could even cut the two new shoots (or initial 3 that form the top) completely and force all of the growth far back on the branch to the next node set.

    I am trying this now and will post results. I'm sure we all would appreciate hearing about this if anyone has tried it.
    esh dov ets likes this.

    rzza Well-Known Member

    i just did this and im awaiting the reults.

    rzza Well-Known Member

    i did a ton of experiments with topping above the 1, 2, 3 node and some got topped on all brances and some on only partial branches. some were fimmed on all branches and topped above node 2. i have one that i just fimmed all branches twice and im letting it grow upwards. by next round i should know which technique i like the most and ill apply that on future grows.

    btw they were all around 3 weeks old and on their 6 to 7th leafset when i did this yesterday. qwerkle, sour bubble and k2
    esh dov ets likes this.

    turkish420 Active Member

    This is a great way to grow your plants! This is my first time to ever grow and thats the technique I chose. The plants are nice size bushes and fixin to start their 3rd week of flowering. The strains are Jack The Ripper from TGA (Left) and SuperSkunk Fem. from G-13 Labs. (Right)

    Attached Files:

    Silky Shagsalot

    Silky Shagsalot Well-Known Member

    hey rick, this is pretty common knowledge, but good for you for spreading the word. i never top, and always tie down. unlike most folks though, i do my tying down in flower.

    rzza Well-Known Member

    look good turk, how long should they take to recover? i topped a couple a few days ago and growth has stopped
    BigHornBuds likes this.

    RickWhite Well-Known Member

    I'm also thinking it might be good at harvest time to harvest all the main colas about two weeks prior to harvesting the rest of the plant.

    johnnytoobad Active Member

    interesting concept. i too tie down in flower....more like hangar down
    Cali chronic

    Cali chronic Well-Known Member

    i tie down break bend fold and snap haha! Whoops blasphemy I know! I got a snap of a bud that did not make it to the last flush and well is drying tri's are good. But what the heck snipped it off it was hanging by a thread the leaves were wilted.
    How about the concept of she has only so much energy she can produce and store in leaves and generate buds. If you pinch back she has to generate another week to produce 1.5 of that original bud site or top. No?
    So if you clip or snip the main Colas so can she direct that energy to the smaller fruit or flower given the right amount of light and nutes she should be able to plump those up too. But if the tris are turning I am cutting you know

    Attached Files:


    jcdws602 Well-Known Member

    I think it depends on the strain as well, some strains respond more to topping than others,some are more single cola dominant plants and are suited better for sog type grows....just my 2 cents

    RickWhite Well-Known Member

    For those posting alternative conjecture, I suggest reading the short piece about "apical dominance" in the OP before making assumptions. I'm not saying anything is necessarily wrong, just that the thread really isn't based on mere conjecture but on science.

    The plant has a natural apparatus for determining shape. This apparatus (apical dominance) makes the plant grow up as best as it can. This is no doubt a means of competing for sunlight with surrounding plant growth. Tall plants are bad. Tall plants mean much of the growth is further from the light, AND tall plants mean a great deal of energy is going into producing stem. The more pruning one does, the less stem and more shoot the plant produces.

    While tying a plant down does bring more shoots close to the light, it doesn't matter that much because the growth on these branches is inhibited by auxin. Your plant is still mainly in the business of producing stem.

    My ultimate experiment, will be to prune a plant until all branches grow branchlets large enough to prune. So, I will prune the main shoot, every branch, and then each branchlet. Then, once the branchlets produce shoots I will flower. The plant should be one massive bud.

    figtree Active Member

    I think alot people have done this with out realizing the mechanism behind it.
    Nice thread Rick. We all should try to know why things do what they do, not just that they do what they do. I'm into finding reasons for things, never satisfied wtih "it just is".
    Thanks for the info.

    Cant wait to see that huge bud of yours from the experiment, your gunna post it right?

    passthatsh!t23 Well-Known Member

    Cant wait for the results!

    RickWhite Well-Known Member

    I have issues with posting pictures but I will definitely report back. Next round, I want to start as soon as a clone starts to move. Like I said, I hope to prune the main stem a few times, each branch maybe a couple times and then even prune the branchlets. If I can get good visible shoots from the branchlets prior to flowering, I'm betting the plant will be short, stocky and covered with decent sized nugs from top to bottom with no scrub buds.
    Silky Shagsalot

    Silky Shagsalot Well-Known Member

    i hear ya rick, i'm not a fan of posting pics either, lol...
    Artifact Peep show

    Artifact Peep show Member

    i think that pruning that much is not quite necessary. bending and lt are less stressful to the plant and will produce the same results. also having that many top colas may make it hard for light to reach lower on the plant which could increase the chance for bud mold

    RickWhite Well-Known Member

    Are you saying that bending your plants re-distributes inhibitory auxin? I have bent plants and seen that everything turns into the light, but I'm not sure how it would affect auxin.
    pseudo judo

    pseudo judo Member

    The turning toward the light is the redistribution of auxin.

    RickWhite Well-Known Member

    While phototropism does involve auxins, I'm not sure the effect is the same as in croping.

    Phototropism is enabled by auxins. Auxins are plant hormones that have many functions. In this respect, auxins are responsible for expelling protons (by activating proton pumps) which decreases pH in the cells on the dark side of the plant. This acidification of the cell wall region activates enzymes known as expansins which break bonds in the cell wall structure, making the cell walls less rigid. In addition, the acidic environment causes disruption of hydrogen bonds in the cellulose that makes up the cell wall. The decrease in cell wall strength causes cells to swell, exerting the mechanical pressure that drives phototropic movement."

    While bending does make branches grow up toward the light, those branches still have tops which inhibit growth of the other nodes. And I'm not sure the plant top stops inhibiting the other branches when bent over.

    DutchUncle New Member

    On a side note, technically it is not the bending itself that makes branches grow towards the light but rather phototropism, auxins in particular. As they are produced in the shoot apical meristem (SAM), unilateral light exposure causes auxins at the sunny side to be destroyed, thus resulting in greater concentrations on the shaded side of plant. As auxin promotes growth (through various means), it basically means the shaded side grows faster than the sunny side, resulting in a bending towards the light.

    Regarding the last point: as far as I know, just as long the apical dominance is broken and remains that way, the auxin will not have the inhibiting effects on any of the lateral buds.
    Raven121415 likes this.

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