Among all growing techniques, lollipopping is somewhere in the middle: it is not simple, but it is not rocket science either. The idea is to make your cannabis plant into an attractive shape of a lollipop, so all the energy will concentrate on its upper part where the buds will appear.
Lollipopping means leaving a big ball of buds on the top of the plant, while removing all leaves from the lower part. This technique is useful for growing rooms and boxes with limited lighting systems: lollipopped plants usually do not need side or lower lighting, so you can even save a little on your electricity bills.
Removing all the leaves and inner buds from the lower part of the plants provokes some arguments among growers. Some believe that removing these parts can significantly damage cannabis' health. They claim that lower leaves play a major part in the photosynthesis and, therefore, create the energy for big dense buds.
Others believe that upper leaves can work as effectively as the lower ones, and by removing leaves that are close to the ground, we can automatically avoid pests and mold infestation, which is especially important for plants that grow outside in a damp climate. Plus, the buds that are formed on the inside of your bushy plant will never grow into a nice yield that is worth growing; they simply take away the precious energy.
Indeed, you cannot lollipop every strain, some of them grow better if you do not apply any techniques and let them do their business without disturbing them. But most strains produce a better yield if you help them lead their energy in the right direction. However, you can always experiment with a single plant first to know it for sure.
If your plant has a strong stem and branches, you can use the lollipopping technique without any doubts. This trick goes well with such popular growing methods as SOG and SCROG. Combining these techniques is more effective than using them separately.
The idea is to install a screen above the plant and push the branches to grow in the direction you choose for them. In this case, the screen will also serve you as a support for yield if it grows to become too heavy.
To obtain the best result, you need to lollipop your plants before switching to the flowering stage.
You can also lollipop growing plants with a low-stress technique in order to remove all the unproductive material in the overshadowed areas. For instance, if you bend your plant to the side, removing the bottom leaves can stimulate new branches to appear. Though it is not strictly lollipopping, the same principle is involved.
Lollopopping means giving your plants the shape of a lollipop candy. You can apply an extreme version of this technique or a lighter one depending on the strain and your goal.
With the extreme version, you literally clean the stem from all the growth under the big kolas on the top (it can also be several kolas if you are applying the topping technique as well). You need to count about four nodes from the growing tip and remove everything that grows under that point in one swift motion. This method will allow you to grow a really big yield, but only if you compensate the lack of leaves by adding more nutrients than usual.
With the lighter version, you need to remove only the big lower leaves that are overshadowed anyway (especially if the plant is very bushy) and those buds that are too short to reach the screen/canopy level. This version of lollipopping is usually applied with the SCROG system, therefore, it is easy to understand what exactly should be removed. If we are talking about standard plants, pinch off all the growth that is situated on the lower third of the plant's length.
We would recommend you to pinch off the growth instead of cutting it with a knife. In this case, the plant will use less energy and time to heal the damage. If some of the branches are too thick but you want to remove them anyway, use scissors, but do not forget to sterilize them first.
It may look really cruel for you to remove so much growth, but believe us, it is not damaging the plant, it is beneficial.
If we are talking about the light version of lollipopping, you can apply this technique to basically any strain. It is only the extreme version that you should be picky about. Some strains, like, for instance, Bubba Kush are genetically not able to produce a big yield; instead, they grow small buds all over the plant.
The extreme version is suitable for the indica-dominant strains (Afghan Kush, Blackberry Kush, Mango, and others) that tend to form large central kolas. With most sativas that can form numerous lateral branches (Durban Poison, Jack Herer, 1024, and others), it is better to use light lollipopping together with other techniques, like SOG, SCROG, monster cropping, or low-stress cropping.