The Myths About Tree Topping
Tree topping is not pruning. Topping is the indiscriminate
removal of the ends of the branches. Topping injures the tree and ultimately it
leads to the early death of the tree. If the end of the branch must be removed
it should be cut back to a side branch that is a minimum of one-third the
diameter of the branch that is being cut, and one-half is preferred.
Myth: Topping the tree will make it easier to maintain.
Truth: Topped trees can quickly regain their original height, often in as little as 2-years.
A topped tree requires more attention than a tree that’s properly pruned
because of the fast growing, loosely attached shoots that form after topping.
Myth: Topping invigorates a tree.
Truth: Topping immediately causes injury to the tree and starts it on a downward spiral.
Topping wounds expose the tree to invasion from insects, disease, and decay.
While a tree may survive topping, it significantly reduces the lifespan of the
Myth: Topped trees will add property value.
Truth: Topped trees lack natural beauty. In fact, they might actually reduce your property
values. In addition, a topped tree can become a hazard resulting in property
damage or even personal injury. This makes the topped tree a liability.
Myth: Changing the grade of soil has no affect on the tree.
Truth: Adding or removing 2” of soil can kill your tree. If
you want to minimize damage, consult an arborist about ways to protect the
tree’s roots. An arborist can determine if fill needs to be added or soil needs
to be removed.
Caring for your trees from when you first plant them right
through maturity will ensure that your trees prosper and grow, providing
shelter from sun and wind, improving your property aesthetics and value.