“Tree Topping” – Why You Should Never “Top” Your Tree!

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14359485_s“Topping” is probably the most harmful pruning process known to trees, yet the practice of it continues. “Topping” a tree refers to cutting its upper branches back to stubs, and sheering off the main trunk portion in a lateral cut about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way up the tree. This is generally done to reduce the overall height of a tree, but it’s never a good solution. Topping a tree can remove 50% to 100% of the leaf bearing crown of a tree, and the leaves are the “food factory” of a tree. Removing such a significant portion of the leaves will starve the tree, and that will stress a tree significantly. It also causes the tree to go into survival mode, meaning it will quickly sprout multiple shoots in an effort to put out a new crop of leaves as soon as possible to restore access to food, and this too-rapid growth will also stress a tree. When a tree is stressed, it is more vulnerable to disease and insect infestations. The open pruning wounds also exposes heartwood, and causes the tree to lose sap. Some insects are actually attracted by the chemicals the tree is losing because it signals distress, and that can cause an infestation that wouldn’t otherwise happen. If a tree isn’t large or sturdy enough, it may not have the energy to defend the open wounds against this kind of invasion and the decay it will cause. At Advanced Tree & Landscaping, we have far better ways to prune and care for your trees, and we can help you control the damage and care for the tree if it has been topped.”