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Key Takeaways:

  • Lollipopping is a cannabis cultivation technique that involves selective pruning of lower growth to redirect the plant’s energy to top bud sites for better yields.
  • Benefits of lollipopping include improved light penetration, efficient energy use, and a healthier plant with reduced risk of mold and pests.
  • Timing is crucial for lollipopping, ideally done before the transition to the flowering stage, but caution should be exercised to avoid over-pruning.
  • Lollipopping relies on light optimization and stimulates the plant’s growth response by removing lower bud sites.
  • Different lollipopping techniques (top-down and bottom-up) can be employed based on plant canopy, growth rate, and light penetration.
  • Lollipopping can be combined with other training methods like Low Stress Training (LST), Super Cropping, and SCROG/SOG setups for maximum yield.
  • Potential concerns with lollipopping include over-pruning, popcorn nuggets, and energy loss from removed lower branches.
  • Expert tips include clean tools, pruning specific branches, and experimenting to find what works best for each plant.
  • Lollipopping is a powerful tool for cannabis cultivators, promising maximized yields, healthier plants, and a successful harvest.

Understanding Lollipopping in Cannabis Cultivation

Lollipopping – a term derived from the technique’s unique way of shaping your cannabis plants to resemble, you guessed it, a lollipop!

This art form involves selective pruning of the lower growth of the plant that typically gets starved of sufficient light, leaving only the top vegetation and bud sites.

While this may initially seem like a counterintuitive approach, the magic lies in the redirection of the plant’s energy.

Instead of trying to nurture light-deprived, underdeveloped lower buds, the plant focuses its vigor on the top bud sites, which usually produce the most bountiful, robust colas.

The Benefits of Lollipopping

Delving into the sweet world of lollipopping, you’ll find that the benefits are bountiful, with everything from increased light penetration to better energy use and a healthier overall plant profile.

One of the main advantages of this method is its impact on light penetration.

In a standard cannabis grow, the lower portions of the plant can become a tangled mess of leaves and branches, effectively blocking light from the top canopy.

By lollipopping your cannabis plants, you’re giving light an all-access pass to those often neglected lower bud sites.

This also leads to more efficient light use, optimizing the effectiveness of your LED, HPS, or LEC grow lights.

Then there’s energy allocation.

Just like that one sibling who always hogged your parents’ attention, the top colas of your cannabis plant demand the most energy.

Lollipopping lets the plant prioritize these top performers, channeling its resources to these bud sites.

This way, the plant isn’t wasting precious energy on lower buds that are unlikely to reach their full potential due to lack of light.

Finally, this technique gives you a significant boost in maintaining the health and cleanliness of your plant.

The improved air circulation helps prevent the buildup of mold and pests that can devastate your crop.

Better air flow around your plant’s base means a lesser chance of mold or pest infestation, ensuring your cannabis plant lives its best, healthiest life.

The Best Time to Lollipop

The question of timing is crucial in the world of cannabis cultivation, and even more so when it comes to lollipopping.

Too early, and you may stunt the plant’s growth; too late, and you might not maximize your potential yields.

As a rule of thumb, the prime time for lollipopping is right before the plant switches from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage.

Why? This is when your cannabis plant is about to dedicate most of its energy into producing those delectable buds.

By lollipopping just before this transition, you’re helping your plant redirect its energy from the lower bud sites to the top colas, which typically generate the most abundant yields.

However, sometimes you may find that your plant resembles more of a wild bush than a well-trained cannabis specimen.

If your plant has grown excessively tall or dense during the vegetative stage, a judicious pruning may be necessary to control its growth.

But remember, moderation is key.

Over-pruning can lead to plant stress, slowing down the growth and potentially impacting the overall yield.

The Science behind Lollipopping

The Science behind Lollipopping

On the surface, lollipopping might seem like a simple pruning technique.

But when you dive deeper, you find a beautifully choreographed dance between plant energy, light penetration, and growth maximization.

In the grand scheme of plant biology, light is king.

Plants use light for photosynthesis, the process by which they convert light energy into chemical energy for growth.

But when you have a dense canopy, light struggles to reach the lower bud sites, resulting in underdeveloped buds.

Different types of grow lights, such as Fluorescent, HPS, LEC, and LED, penetrate the canopy to varying depths.

Therefore, the effectiveness of lollipopping can also depend on the type of grow light you use.

For instance, HPS lights penetrate deeper into the canopy compared to LEDs, so plants under HPS lights may need less drastic lollipopping.

Lollipopping also taps into the plant’s survival instincts.

By removing the lower bud sites, the plant is tricked into thinking it’s under threat and responds by redirecting energy to the top bud sites, effectively boosting growth where it matters the most.

The art of lollipopping creates an ideal environment for light absorption, efficient energy use, and ultimately, optimum cannabis growth.

By understanding the science behind it, we can wield this technique more effectively, optimizing our yields and nurturing happier, healthier plants.

Techniques for Effective Lollipopping

Lollipopping, though seemingly straightforward, is an art that requires some hands-on knowledge.

You’re going to need sharp, sterilized pruning shears for larger branches or scissors for smaller ones, and a keen eye for detail.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Suit Up: Before you dive into the leafy labyrinth, ensure your tools are sterilized. Any pathogens lingering on your pruning tools can infect your plants and lead to all sorts of horticultural horrors.
  2. Branch Selection: The first rule of lollipopping is knowing what to prune. As per Kyle Kushman’s advice, start from the bottom and select branches that do not break at least 50% of the plant’s height. These are the parts that are typically deprived of light and won’t develop into healthy, robust buds.
  3. Prune with Precision: With the selected branches, you’re going to prune no more than three nodes from the tip of each branch. Be gentle and precise, as this is a stressful process for the plant. Rushing can lead to injuries, which may later become sites for disease or pest infestation.
  4. Post-pruning Care: After pruning, ensure your plant gets the TLC it needs. The recovery from lollipopping typically takes about a week, during which you should monitor the plant for any signs of stress or disease.
Techniques for Effective Lollipopping

Lollipopping Variations: Top-Down and Bottom-Up

Lollipopping is not a one-size-fits-all technique.

Depending on the specifics of your plant canopy, growth rate, and light penetration, you may choose to use either the top-down or the bottom-up technique.

Top-Down Lollipopping: This technique involves pruning from the top of the plant downwards.

You’ll trim the upper branches to maintain a uniform canopy, which optimizes light distribution and ensures that all bud sites receive equal light exposure.

This method is particularly effective when used in conjunction with SCROG setups, where maintaining a level canopy is crucial.

Bottom-Up Lollipopping: Here, you’ll start pruning from the base of the plant upwards, targeting primarily the lower branches that receive less light.

This technique results in a bare stem, resembling a lollipop stick. The bottom-up method is effective when dealing with tall, leggy plants or when using SOG setups, where vertical growth is more important than horizontal sprawl.

Lollipopping in Combination with Other Techniques

Lollipopping isn’t just a solo act; it’s a technique that plays well with others.

It can be used in combination with various other training methods to maximize your yields and improve plant health.

Here are a few techniques that lollipopping complements perfectly:

  1. Low Stress Training (LST): LST involves bending and manipulating your plants to create a more horizontal growth pattern, thereby increasing light exposure. When used with lollipopping, LST can ensure even better light penetration and energy distribution across the plant.
  2. Super Cropping: Super cropping is a high-stress training method that involves intentionally damaging the plant to encourage a stronger, bushier growth pattern. Pairing this technique with lollipopping can result in vigorous top growth and maximized yields.
  3. Screen of Green (SCROG) or Sea of Green (SOG) setups: These methods aim to maximize light exposure and yields by controlling plant growth patterns. SCROG focuses on horizontal growth, while SOG concentrates on vertical growth. By removing unnecessary bottom growth, lollipopping can optimize these setups, ensuring every part of your plant is a bud-producing powerhouse.

So, whether you’re a LST lover, a super-cropping superstar, or a SCROG/SOG specialist, lollipopping can be your best friend in the cultivation game.

By defoliating strategically and with consideration, you can achieve greener canopies, heavier colas, and most importantly, stellar terpene profiles and potency in your harvest.

Potential Concerns and Considerations

Like all pruning techniques, lollipopping is not immune to potential concerns and considerations.

While it is lauded for its myriad benefits, it’s essential to take a balanced perspective.

Some cultivators may worry about potential energy loss, especially when the lower branches and leaves, which serve as energy reservoirs, are removed.

Over-pruning can shock the plant, leading to stunted growth or increased vulnerability to pests and diseases.

Another consideration is the risk of popcorn nuggets, which are small, fluffy buds that may occur when the plant’s energy is not adequately redirected to the upper colas.

These popcorn buds are typically less potent and have a lower market value.

Moreover, improper pruning may cause unintentional damage, stressing the plant and leading to suboptimal results.

This is particularly true with autoflowers, given their short vegetative period.

For these cultivars, a less severe pruning or training technique may be more appropriate.

This includes low stress training (LST), which involves bending and tying down branches to create more canopy growth, or topping, where the main stem’s tip is cut to promote side branching.

Lastly, while lollipopping can drastically improve yields, it’s essential to remember that every plant is different.

Strain selection and environmental factors, such as the type of grow light used and the ambient conditions, can greatly affect the success of your lollipopping efforts.


  • Improved Air Circulation: By removing the lower growth, lollipopping allows more air to circulate around your plants. This increased air flow can reduce the risk of pests and mold, both of which can thrive in stagnant, damp conditions. Better air circulation also promotes stronger, healthier plants with robust growth.
  • Prevention of Mold and Fungal Infections: The removal of the dense, lower vegetation minimizes the risk of mold or fungal infections taking root. Mold and fungi can decimate a cannabis crop in no time, so anything that helps keep them at bay is a bonus in my book.
  • Focused Plant Energy on Higher Yield Sites: By trimming away the underperforming lower branches, the plant can redirect its energy to the top bud sites or colas. This can lead to larger, more potent buds that are every cannabis cultivator’s dream.


  • Potential for Over-Pruning and Stress: If not done carefully, lollipopping can lead to over-pruning, causing significant stress to the plant. This can affect the overall plant health and growth, potentially leading to decreased yields.
  • Risk of Popcorn Nuggets: As mentioned earlier, lollipopping may lead to the formation of popcorn nuggets if the plant’s energy is not correctly redirected to the upper colas.
  • Slight Loss of Potential Energy Source: The lower branches and leaves can serve as an energy reservoir for the plant, especially during times of stress. By removing these parts, you are effectively reducing the plant’s energy sources.

Expert Tips and Recommendations

When diving into the world of lollipopping, it’s always beneficial to glean wisdom from those who have walked the path before us.

Experienced cultivator Kyle Kushman suggests that during the lollipopping process, it’s best to remove branches that don’t reach at least 50% of the plant’s height.

This ensures that the plant’s energy is directed to the most promising bud sites, optimizing yields.

Another pro tip is to always use clean, sterilized tools when pruning.

The last thing you want is to introduce pathogens to your precious plants through dirty pruning shears.

Regularly clean and sterilize your tools to keep your cannabis crops healthy and thriving.

Many growers also recommend leaving no more than three nodes from the tip of each branch during lollipopping.

This practice helps shape the plant and control its size, while ensuring that the upper bud sites receive adequate light.

Combining lollipopping with other training techniques can also maximize its effectiveness.

Techniques like LST, Super Cropping, and SCROG or SOG setups work harmoniously with lollipopping, creating synergistic effects that can dramatically enhance your cannabis yields.

As a final tip, don’t be afraid to experiment with lollipopping.

Every plant is different, and what works for one may not work for another.

Stay observant, learn from your experiences, and you’ll soon master the art of lollipopping.


So there you have it, the world of lollipopping demystified! This technique is a powerful tool in any cannabis cultivator’s arsenal, promising maximized yields, healthier plants, and most importantly, a harvest to be proud of.

So grab your shears, don your grower’s hat, and start lollipopping.

Your plants will thank you!


Lollipopping should ideally start right before switching the plants to the flowering stage. However, it can be performed earlier during the vegetative stage if the plant has grown excessively tall.

Lollipopping is a pruning technique used in cannabis cultivation. It involves removing the lower growth of the plant that is not receiving sufficient light, thus redirecting the plant’s energy to the top bud sites to maximize yield.

Yes, you can lollipop autoflowers. However, given their short vegetative period, one must exercise extreme care not to stress the plant too much. A less severe pruning or training technique may be more appropriate for autoflowers.

The two primary lollipopping techniques are top-down and bottom-up. Top-down involves removing the plant’s upper branches to create a more uniform canopy, while bottom-up focuses on stripping away the lower branches.