Why Not to Top Your Trees

Tree topping is the indiscriminant partial removal of branches or stems from a tree, in attempt to either make it smaller or to alleviate a perceived risk. Tree topping was once an accepted practice; science and experience have proven that this practice either sends the tree into decline or/and leads to a hazard tree.

This practice usually leaves the tree bare of leafs and full of large open wounds, sending the tree into shock. Without leafs the tree has no way to provide food for itself. In order to feed itself, the tree will have to pull an enormous amount of its resources into sending new shoots to provide more leafs in order for it to photosynthesize. The flush of growth that happens when a tree is topped will out grow the original height it was before topping in record time. This new growth is poorly attached and is prone breakage and will have to be maintained more frequently. A properly maintained tree will cost less in the long run than a tree that is improperly cared for.

Bobs WillowThis large Willow was topped several years before we inherited it. This Willow dominates the entire front property. We have been working on this tree since 2009. The owners do not want to loose this feature tree. Large stems have failed in high winds and decay has begun. As a result this tree has been cabled, braced and heavy aggressive shoots have been removed over time as new shoots grow to replace them.

The large open wounds resulting from topping really don’t have any chance of healing. Since the tree has already pulled all its resources into sending new shoots to feed itself, this leaves little for defence. These large wounds tend to start to decay, again possibly leaving the tree to become a hazard. It also leaves your tree wide open to pest invasion, causing further stress to the tree. These insect pests may also be carrying deadly diseases for the once healthy tree.

Tree topping is ugly, a great way to destroy trees, reduce property value and to create a hazardous situation. If you are worried about the safety of your trees, get in touch with us. One of our ISA Certified Arborists at Just Trees Canada Inc. will come by to discuss your situation and come up with  a reasonable solution for you and your trees.

Call us 780-690-9801   email us: mytrees@justtreescanada.com

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