Tree topping is expensive, mutilating and obsolete. Yet it still occurs widely throughout the nation. Myth and lack of public understanding about proper tree care are two major reasons why people pay to have their trees destroyed each year.
What is Tree Topping
Tree topping is the drastic removal, or cutting back, or large branches in mature trees, leaving large, open wounds that subject the tree to disease and decay. Topping causes immediate injury to the tree and ultimately results in early failure or death of the tree.
Tree Topping vs. Tree Pruning
Tree topping should never be confused with tree pruning. A topped tree is easy to spot-the tree's natural shape has been destroyed, while a properly pruned tree often looks as if no work has been done at all. Careful selective pruning retains the tree's natural shape and beauty.
Proper pruning is an important part of caring for and protecting the health of your trees.
Prevention: Right Tree, Right Place
Every species of tree has a different height, width and spacing needs in order to grow into a healthy mature tree. Carefully matching your tree selection with site conditions can prevent problems before they occur and will eliminate the need to take harmful, drastic measures.
Tree Topping Myths
- Myth: Topping a tree will reduce storm damage and make the tree easier to maintain.
- Truth: Topped trees can regain their original height in as fast as 2 years. The fast growing, long and loosely attached shoots caused by topping may be more susceptible to breakage and storm damage.
- Myth: Topping invigorates a tree.
- Truth: Topping immediately injures a tree and starts it on a downward spiral. Topping wounds expose the tree to decay and invasion from insects and disease. Also the loss of foliage starves the tree, which weakens the roots, reducing the tree's structural strength.