Should You Top Your Trees?
Can you top my trees?
We get this request far too often. The answer is, "No. You should almost never top a tree." Let's start off with what tree topping actually is. Tree topping is cutting the main branches down until there is almost nothing left of the branch. Some companies even do this to trees clean across like a hedge. Even worse are the instances when the tree is cut down to the trunk only. Except for rare exceptions, if you spot a tree company topping trees, write them off as dangerous and avoid using them.
Even when speaking with a certified arborist, property owners still push back with the "usefulness" of tree topping. We will clear up some of the more common misinformation here.
Tree Topping Does Not Reinvigorate The Tree
This belief is rooted in seeing new growth soon after a tree topped. What happened was the tree's food production just got slashed, literally. The tree pushes out new growth in a dire effort to restore food production. The new growth is poorly structured and out of balance with the rest of the tree. The new growth is the most likely area to be afflicted by problematic insects or worse. This new growth will have to be shaped more often to keep the tree with any semblance of its natural shape.
Topping A Tree Is A Terrible Choice For Reduce Its Shade
Trees make shade. That's something you have to live with. Don't plant things that need full sun under a tree. If you need to open up a tree's canopy, selective pruning is the correct method. This should be undertaken by an arborist. They can make the proper cuts to ensure sound structure for your tree.
Topping Trees Regularly Creates A Hazard
Regularly topping your trees each season makes them structurally weak. Weak trees are more likely to drop branches or fall. Keep your area safe by not topping trees.
It Is Not The Correct Practice Because A Family Member Always Did It That Way
We get this push back the most often. Just because your grandpa used to do it, doesn't mean it was correct. Sorry grandpa, but its true. Their trees would have been healthier and better looking if they would have used different methods.
Seek Out A Professional Tree Company
Professional tree companies are operated by certified arborists. Always verify the company you are dealing with operates under an arborist number. Arborists study trees and work with them everyday. Feel free to voice your concerns, but please take the time to listen to their professional tree advise. Any good tree company will tell you "no" if you ask them to do something that would not be beneficial to your trees.