What Not To Do When Pruning A Tree | Tree Service

Updated: Feb 28, 2019

Topping your tree is the worst form of pruning possible. It involves cutting back tree branches to stubs or lateral branches that are not large enough to assume dominance. Topping is harmful and will negatively impact the health, structure and maintenance of your trees. Homeowners sometimes want to top their trees because they feel they have become too large and may damage a home or other structures. Nevertheless, topping trees creates a greater potential for hazard in the long run.


Topping disfigures trees. The tree's natural branching structure is destroyed and will never fully regain its natural form. When a topped tree is without leaves during the dormant winter months it looks unsightly. With leaves its is simply a dense ball of foliage, lacking a nice flowing shape.



Topping depletes the tree of stores energy reserves and reduces the tree's ability to produce energy, as a large percentage of its leaves are removed. The stressed tree will form a growth of multiple shoots below each topping cut. These shoots grow quickly, are very weak and are prone to breaking in the wind. Also, the stubs left from topping usually decay, causing wood to rot.


Severely topped trees are more susceptible to insect and disease infestations. Additionally, the sun can damage the bark, causing cankers, bark splitting and the death of some branches.





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