What Is Tree Topping and Why It Hurts Trees

The beauty of North County San Diego California is often found in the natural surroundings throughout county. One of those pieces of natural beauty is the various trees found here. You might have several native trees on your property. Tree pruning is often seen as part of the process necessary to keep them healthy, but it often depends on the season whether your tree should be pruned or not.

However, there is one form of tree pruning that can do more harm than good to your trees. Let’s learn some more about one of these harmful options, known as tree topping.

What Is Tree Topping?

The process of tree topping is where a tree cutter takes off the top of a tree, reducing the tree’s remaining top branches to stumps. Doing this can leave your tree with weak, unstable limbs, plus a bare and unnatural appearance. The result is that your tree is more likely to break and be a risk hazard.

If it is a risk for your trees, why do so many people do it? One of the biggest reasons is that people confuse tree topping with traditional tree pruning. As a result, they think it will help their trees to remain healthy, when it can actually end up doing the exact opposite.

They might also see it as a simple way to address trees that are interfering with electrical wires or to shorten trees that have grown too tall near their homes. Others want to prevent a tall tree from coming down on the buildings throughout their property.

The truth is that tree topping is only recommended if you are planning to have that tree removed from your property altogether.

What Damage Can Tree Topping Cause?

There is plenty of research that shows tree topping can also cause health issues for your trees. These issues can include sun damage, nutrient stress, insect attack, and decay. If you have multiple trees on your property, that decay and insect damage could end up spreading and causing more damage to the other trees in your yard.

Therefore, the damage of tree topping clearly outweighs the imagined benefits of tree topping. Still, you might be wondering if there is a tree pruning method that will be effective to maintain your trees.

Pruning Does Have Benefits

While tree topping is not beneficial for your trees, the truth is that tree pruning is necessary to their overall health and well-being. There are specific structural pruning methods that can address dead branches, height concerns, and allow you to maintain your trees safely.

The best time to prune many trees is during the dormant season. Most trees are sleeping throughout the winter, thus conserving their energy for the growing time in spring and summer. Sap is also stored in their roots, thus meaning that cuts in the trees will heal faster in the spring.

There are also fewer insects around during winter, meaning that you are less likely to create an opening for an insect invasion into your trees. Working with a certified arborist, you can determine when your trees are dormant, as some trees are not dormant through the winter season.

Tree pruning is likely necessary if you see any parts of the tree that are dead, dying, diseased, or decaying. If you are not sure that your tree is diseased, contact a certified arborist to determine whether you need aggressive pruning or other treatments to address the issues.

Importance of Working with a Certified Arborist

While tree pruning can be done to reduce height, it is often referred to as drop-crotching or thinning to a lateral. When done by a certified arborist, this process can help trees to be maintained in their natural form.

As a result, branches are cut back to a lateral branch that is at least one-third of the diameter of the limb being removed. Doing it this way allows the tree’s branches to continue to grow and the lateral branch becomes the new source of terminal growth. Your tree maintains its natural look, while being pruned to maintain safety and keep the tree healthy. It can also remove limbs that might cause damage during a high windstorm.

There are multiple benefits to tree pruning, when it is done right and with the health of your trees in mind. Many tree cutters are simply looking to trim a tree quickly, but with tree topping, they also guarantee that you will be calling them every year to address the limbs that are now growing wild. Instead of using someone who recommends tree topping, contact a certified arborist who can work with you to provide the best care for your trees.

Recognized as a top tree care company, Tree Barber Enterprises serves thousands of residential and business customers in North County San Diego. Our Certified Arborist is highly skilled and extensively trained in the latest arboriculture techniques, which enables us to perform our tasks quickly, safely and economically.