Experts Agree. DON’T TOP YOUR TREE!

Tree topping is mutilating, expensive, and obsolete however it is still down widespread. Why?

There are two major reasons: myth and lack of understanding about proper tree care.

What is Tree Topping?

Tree topping is drastic removal or cutting back of large branches in mature trees which leaves large, open wounds that subject the tree to disease and decay. Topping a tree causes immediate injury and will ultimately result in premature death of the tree.

Other Names for tree topping are as follows: stubbing, heading, heading-back, stubbing off, tipping, hatracking, topping off, dehorning, lopping, or roundover.

In short, Topping (by any name) is the worst thing to do to the health of a tree.

tree topping richmond virginia
tree topping
tree topping

Tree Topping Vs. Tree Pruning

There is no contest when it comes to tree topping vs pruning and tree topping should never be confused with proper pruning. A topped tree is easy to spot as can be seen in the pictures above. The tree’s mature shape has been destroyed, whereas a properly pruned tree often looks as if no work has been done to it at all. With Proper pruning, a certified Arborist will spend time carefully selecting and removing branches. Careful selective pruning retains the tree’s natural shape and beauty and companies like Tree Surgeon Care are able to prune trees for you!

Proper pruning as an important part of caring for and protecting the health of a tree. In fact, many tree care professionals recommend that homeowners start early and continue proper pruning throughout the life of a tree. If you’re in the South Carolina area, A friend recommended local tree trimming services. They are really great at their job.

Myths about tree topping

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, extremely long and loosely attached shoots caused by topping may be more susceptible to breakage and storm damage. Ultimately, a topped tree requires more attention in the future than a properly pruned tree.

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. While a tree may survive topping, its life span will be significantly reduced.

Myth: Topped trees will add value to your property

Truth: Topped trees lack natural beauty and may reduce your property value. Also, a topped tree can become hazardous and cause property damage, making it a liability.

Alternatives to Topping

As a homeowner, you must educate yourself and make wise choices to protect your home and property (including your trees). A tree is a valuable asset. As a long-term investment, trees require careful decisions and the occasional advice and service of a professional. Here’s what you can do to protect your trees.

  • Hire only competent, insured and certified tree care professionals.
  • When seeking a tree service, check the company’s topping policy. If they say they top then don’t let them near your trees.
  • Find out if the individual or company carries professional certification, particularly through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). The ISA conducts extensive courses and certifies those who pass on industry-based exams.
  • Most importantly, never let yourself be pressured by bargains. The old saying, “you get what you pay for” truly applies here.

The Right Tree in the Right Place

Every species of tree has different height, width, and spacing needs in order to grow into a healthy mature tree. Carefully matching your tree selection with site conditions, proximity to other trees, buildings, and utilities can prevent problems before they occur and will eliminate the need to take harmful, drastic measures. Many utility companies and forestry agencies provide guidelines for planting trees and recommendations of tree species to fit your needs. Trees are a long-term investment You have the ability and the responsibility to prevent future problems by applying the practice of “the right tree in the right place.”