From time to time we have customers ask us to “top” top their trees. Most of these customers are older customers and so is the practice of “topping” trees. Topping trees used to be common, but as we learned more about the biology of trees we learned this was not a good practice.
What is Topping
Why is Topping Bad
- Topping stresses trees
- Trees struggle to produce the required amount of energy when more than 25-30 of a green canopy is taken out of a tree.
- The reduced energy leads to decreased defenses which increases the chances of insect attacks and disease.
- Topping increase decay
- Topping creates large wounds on the branches of trees that do not compartmentalize well.
- Some trees cannot tolerate being topped
- Certain species of trees or trees that are already stressed may be killed outright by topping.
- Topped trees are susceptible to sunburn
- When trees leaves are removed the UV rays beat down on the branches causing sunburn which kills cells and creates wounds.
- This type of wound can be frequently seen from utility pruning.
- Topped trees are ugly
- Trees that have been topped lose their natural beauty and form and once topped they can never be regained.
- Trees respond negatively
- Shoots grow rapidly as a stress response. These shoots will grow super fast and can be easily broken, especially when they are attached to a decayed branch.
- Topping Creates a Higher Risk
- Trees send out shoots that can grow up to 20ft per year. These branches are weakly attached to the tree initially and can beak in storms.
There is a Better Way