“Tree topping”, or the practice of removing whole tops of trees or large branches and/or trunks from the tops trees, is not something we recommend. In the long term, it can be detrimental to a tree’s health and often leads to other problems which will then need to be dealt with. It may even lead to the loss and subsequent need for removal of the tree.
Why is topping bad for trees?
First, topping reduces the trees ability to make food. Trees require a large leaf surface area to do photosynthesis which is how they generate energy for maintenance and growth. When a tree is topped, most of its food-making ability (leafy surface area) is removed, which cuts off its potential and lessens its reserves.*
Second, topping stimulates undesirable “water spout” growth – dense, unattractive, upright branches that will vigorously regrow and permanently change the tree’s structure.*
Third, topping leaves large wounds and injures the tree.*
Finally, topping disfigures trees and causes broom-like branch growth to replace the natural beauty and form of the tree. In fact, it is estimated that a topped tree reduces real estate values by 20-100%.*
Our approach to tree topping
As bad as topping is for a tree, we don’t absolutely refuse to do it. However, we are happy to offer better options that accomplish the same goal. Often we’re able to show our customers different ways that they can achieve the results they want. In the end, if you are determined to top your tree, we will work with you to offer a suitable solution.
*Susan C. French, “A Guide to Successful Pruning: Stop Topping Trees!” https://pubs.ext.vt.edu, (May 1, 2009)