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There are several different high-stress training techniques that you can do on your cannabis plant in order to achieve a higher yield. Two of the more popular techniques are topping and FIMing. What’s the difference? In this article I’ll break it down for you.

First, know that a cannabis plant flowers in the same pattern as a lot of other plants do. The flowers on the main stem (aka main cola) see the most light at the top and therefore bud development is the biggest and densest. The side stems typically have smaller buds and are often less dense. The goal with any plant training (such as topping and FIMing) is to trick the plant into developing multiple main stems that all have equal-sized colas and dense buds. It’s highly recommended that both of these techniques be done in the vegetative stage only and preferable early in the vegetative stage. The plant should have grown at least it’s 4th node before topping or FIMing.

Now let’s talk about topping. Topping is when you cut off or pinch off the top of the plant just above one of the plant’s nodes. Remove the entire little bush of new top growth completely and leave behind only the stem below plus the growth tips. The result is that each growth tip will grow into a new stem that will grow diagonally; one stem becomes two. Eventually, these stems will really thicken up. You can even repeat this process higher up on the same plant to turn two colas into four.

Next is FIMing. FIM stands for, “fuck I missed.” Yes, that’s actually what it stands for. Funny right? Where did the term FIM originate from? Apparently, a grower once tried to top a plant by hand and accidentally left behind about 10% of that new growth that he was supposed to remove completely. In other words, he pinched it off slightly higher than he should have. What he discovered is that this high-stress training technique is actually less stressful to the plant than traditional topping. What he also realized is that it resulted in four colas from one. This accident turned out to be a success! One thing to note, it’s both easy and recommended that when FIMing, you pinch off rather than cut the new growth with a blade. Pinching freehand can have all sorts of interesting offshoot results.

Both Topping and FIMing can be very beneficial for creating more colas. Although, I’d like to point out that neither of these techniques are my favorite method for generating several large colas on a single plant. My favorite method is low-stress training which is simply bending the branches on the plant down so other branches can grow towards the light and create an even canopy. We’ll cover low-stress training in another article. Do you top or FIM your cannabis plants? Let me know your training technique by leaving a comment below.