Topping involves cutting off the upper portion of a tree’s main branches (typically, this involves the entire top of the tree). People choose to top trees for various reasons. For example, a homeowner may choose topping to shorten excessively tall trees growing near the house.
Similarly, you may move to top trees that pose a risk to electrical wires near your house or to prevent a tall tree from falling during a storm. But does topping a tree kill it?
As a top-rated tree service in Indian River, King Tree Management looks at tree topping and its potential effects on a tree’s overall health.
Why Topping Is Bad for Your Trees
Despite common misconceptions, topping doesn’t qualify as a safe solution for reducing the tree size or addressing potential hazards. In fact, topping has several negative effects on your tree’s overall health and safety, including the following:
Topping Impacts a Tree’s Food Source
Topping a tree often results in the significant loss of a tree’s leafy canopy, directly impacting its ability to produce food.
Does topping a tree kill it? If it doesn’t, a topped tree will still be likely to suffer stunted growth. However, if topping a tree removes its entire leaf-bearing crown, the tree may starve to death.
Topping Compromises Tree Safety
The new growth that results from topping lacks proper structural integrity. These weak attachments can break off easily, even years after they grow into large branches.
Unlike proper pruning cuts, which close and heal rapidly, improper cuts from topping also create weak entry points for pests, diseases, and other harmful organisms. These infestations may kill your tree.
Topping Increases Tree Maintenance Costs
Topping to reduce the size of a tree may prove counterproductive. When you top a tree, it regrows rapidly, albeit with thinner, weaker branches. Additionally, each cut will sprout multiple new branches, creating a vicious cycle.
The topped tree will also typically send out numerous new shoots “water sprouts” to restore food production. That’s why topped trees can sometimes grow back rapidly, reaching the original size in just a few short years. Other trees may die from cumulative stress and damage, forcing you to spend money to remove them safely.
The Bottom Line: Don’t Top Your Trees
Although you may have valid reasons to trim a tree, experts don’t recommend topping. Is the tree becoming a safety hazard or does it need a height or spread modification? Consult or hire a certified arborist for details!
An experienced arborist will have in-depth knowledge of proper pruning techniques designed to improve or maintain your trees’ health, safety, and appearance.
Trust Your Local Tree Experts
Does topping a tree kill it? It may, so why not entrust your trees’ health and safety to the tree care experts at King Tree Management? The team offers various tree care solutions, such as:
- Tree trimming and pruning
- Certified arborist services
- Stump grinding
- Tree removal