Tree and Shrub issues & news for early 2014
I often get asked to top trees. I do not top trees and there are many reason why. Topping is a shortcut that can be very expensive in the long run for the property owner.
Topping often removes 50 to 100% of a tree’s foliage-bearing branches. This loss triggers a survival mechanism in the tree. The tree activates latent buds, forcing rapid growth of multiple shoots (sprouts/ suckers) below each cut. The tree is desperately trying to replace the lost foliage. Topping also removes large quantities of wood
– stored energy that a tree uses to guard against decay and disease.
Topping causes branch die-back, decay, and sprout production from the cuts. This results in a potentially hazardous situation when the sprouts become large and heavy; they break off easily.
A topped tree needs ongoing pruning to prevent hazards from developing. Topped trees will often need to be removed either because the tree’s health declines or decay in the trunk and/or large limbs is so advanced that there is a high probability of failure.
In my opinion, a topped tree looks unsightly and unattractive. It does not look like something nature created.
If you need more information on why topping hurts trees, I would be happy to send you a pamphlet on the subject.