When you cut the top of a tree off, you leave behind a weak tree that’s unstable and at risk of decline. Topping is not an acceptable pruning method and should rarely or never be used. These shoots develop from buds near the surface of the old branches. Topping is also known as stubbing, dehorning, heading back, and lopping. A good arborist will almost NEVER suggest topping. Sometimes a tree must be reduced in height or spread, such as for prevailing utility clearance. ���ߖS���2��r�J6q8�ʄ��D+Er��0x��[� (��ap�#��<6,Y Firstly, yes - oak trees can be topped. )���� �х�5,m������f��a(`f�����le����S���,�p;�0n`�`�I ,�+:J�^�[`��8NL�����*�4ЎipQq��� ?�� ��?� 0000119114 00000 n 0000120578 00000 n 0000247961 00000 n 0000002931 00000 n The following explains why topping trees is a bad idea. Topping is also referred to as heading, stubbing, or dehorning. While the original goal was to reduce the risk by reducing the height, risk of limb failure is now increased. Tree topping hurts trees in four, major ways. h�bbf`b``Ń3�E0 0m� Special to The Star. 0000121484 00000 n Why Topping Hurts Trees Learn why topping is not an acceptable pruning technique and discover recommended alternatives. Learn from Friends of Trees' resident expert, Dr. Tree, why trees should not be topped. Arbor Care Tree Specialists: Why Topping Trees is Bad James Young James Young began writing in 1969 as a military journalist combat correspondent in Vietnam. The summer is fast approaching, all of our sleepy trees are finally waking up and breathing life into 2014. 129 66 All too often we see topped trees and have discovered that people are not aware of the harmful impacts topping has on trees. If seeing is believing, then many people must believe that topping trees is an acceptable pruning practice. 0000053228 00000 n Topping destroys the natural form of a tree. 0000003274 00000 n Healthy, well-maintained trees can add 10-20% to your property value. These weak attachments will never have the structural integrity of the original branch and can break off easily, even years later when they are large and heavy. 0000003128 00000 n And, because tree topping is considered to be an unacceptable method of pruning, you may be liable in a court of law if the tree causes damage to another person or property. 194 0 obj <>stream According to Dr. Alex Shigo, world renowned scientist and author on the subject of arboriculture (trees), topping is the most serious injury you can inflict upon your tree. Other than the bare appearance, tree topping is very unhealthy for a tree. A good trim refreshes trees. You’re not only removing branches, you’re removing leaves, which takes away a vital food source. The Costs of Topping. In this video, I say a bit about why it's bad to top trees. While the initial removal of tree branches through topping is often less expensive than proper pruning, the long-term costs far outweigh the supposed savings. Topping Stresses Trees. How Tree Topping Hurts Trees. Thank you for your questions. 0000247864 00000 n Topping is perhaps the most harmful tree pruning practice known. The Bad Practice of Topping For more than 25 years, we have known that topping trees is one of the most harmful techniques you can do. Topping is a detrimental pruning practice performed on trees, but even after 25 years of literature and seminars speaking out against it, topping remains a common practice. If a company suggests topping, always get a second opinion. I didn't go into a whole lot of detail, so I'll probably redo it at a later date. The remaining shortened limbs provide easy access to decay, insects and disease. In short, Topping (by any name) is the worst thing to do to the health of a tree. And, really, a topped tree is not exactly a nice looking tree. 0000229368 00000 n How to classify topping trees. In reality, it is detrimental to the health of the tree and creates problems in the long term. 0000093416 00000 n 0000226287 00000 n The decay organisms are given a free path to move down through the branches. Dormant bugs are activated, forcing the rapid growth of multiple shoots below each cut. You remove lots of leaves, which strips away the tree’s food source. Topping, however, is not a viable method of height reduction and certainly does not eliminate future risk. The debate in tree pruning has been playing on for long – topping trees is an effective tree pruning method or not. The natural branching structure of a tree is a biological wonder. The natural branching structure of a tree is a biological wonder. 0000002176 00000 n Other Names for tree topping are as follows: stubbing, heading, heading-back, stubbing off, tipping, hatracking, topping off, dehorning, lopping, or roundover. The leaves of the trees shade and absorb sunlight. 0000226149 00000 n 0000119754 00000 n trailer Topping removes the ends of the branches, often leaving ugly stubs. 0000073787 00000 n 0000248665 00000 n Other names for topping include “heading,” “tipping,” or “rounding over.”. Cuts made along a limb between lateral branches create stubs with wounds that the tree may not be able to close. ?~��x�'��ƻ>>ޕgչ�����:���U�u�ɗj�����}�hKZ���X��� ������O�_ߝc��Yh�d���N�����hƮ��F4t{W��&�����r�l��vD����l��Sm>�tD�Ѹ�P������4"��[p��YL��¾W���c2.���h��g�uD��j=�SZ�[�SZ��:�;�^*/ ���0� _Wzܘ�X��;:G�+^O��2�b���tʵXL�h���� X�p=4A"ž��DU36?ь���Q���^XK��I�3�� ����S�~)��~�]�aG�hZ�_�c-9#�P`x *�� �����)��ѵs�)��@��^����R�؜�U���|����S�-�+�^��5Iı'(�82ǭ#s�y�����Xp�2В��.���Հ#�2�Z�����Az��yZq�xx�B�ryq��œZw�7�Yf���C�۫�6���,�%����H:! Topping Does Not Make Trees Safer The new growth that rapidly ascends from latent buds just below each cut is only anchored in the outermost layers of the parent branch. Topping … (©2013) Brochures sold in packages of 100. 0000121513 00000 n Small branches should be removed back to their point of origin. 0000093528 00000 n A tree’s trunk should usually not be pruned at all; but, if it is imperative that you do so, you must make the cuts just beyond a place called a node. Trees form a variety of shapes and growth habits, all with the same goal of presenting their leaves to the sun. September 6, 2015 jerryreed Tree Topping 0. Though there is one infamous pruning shortcut that holds trees back from a healthy start—tree topping. If a tree does not have the stored energy reserves to do so, it will be seriously weakened and die. But no matter what it's called, it completely disfigures trees by amputating the entire crown. 0000237313 00000 n Why Does Topping Harm Trees? However, it usually has exactly the opposite effect! In order to understand the risks that tree topping causes, it is best to understand how to classify the damaging practice. 0 %%EOF  There are recommended techniques for doing do. Some of the major concerns of topping trees include: Lopping/Topping can cause Sunburn. Rapid new growth. Topping is the indiscriminate cutting of tree branches or stubs to lateral branches that are not large enough to assume the terminal role. 0000247441 00000 n Many topped trees are considered a total loss. 0000271411 00000 n The branch wounds sustained by the tree are slow to heal, making the tree susceptible to fungal decay and … Tree topping is the practice of removing whole tops of trees or large branches and/or trunks from the tops of trees, leaving stubs or lateral branches that are too small to assume the role of a terminal leader. 0000003197 00000 n HOWEVER, ‘topping’ IS NOT a recommended practice for any tree, regardless of species or size. When you avoid this practice and pursue more appropriate avenues for maintaining your trees, you help your trees reach their full potential — … The subject of ‘topping’ trees is especially controversial along community right-of-ways. 0000121756 00000 n 0000249771 00000 n It works out best for companies to top trees because it is quick and easy; since the growth will be back in 2-3 years, they have created more work for themselves in the future. Rot at the severed end of the limb can make a bad situation even worse. IT'S DANGEROUS. 0000002323 00000 n Topping will only make a tree more hazardous in the long term! But, disfigured trees that have undergone topping will actually reduce your property value. startxref 0000229685 00000 n 0000001999 00000 n 0000116608 00000 n New shoots grow quickly, as much as 20 feet in one year. 0000248908 00000 n Call it heading, stubbing or dehorning, but topping trees is still a bad practice By DENNIS PATTON. Topping is often used to reduce the size of a tree. 0000226478 00000 n 0000204495 00000 n 0000000016 00000 n 0000117000 00000 n Once they get a healthy cut, they can spring into a new growing season with gusto. Topping can remove 50 to 100 percent of a tree’s leaf-bearing crown. Add Comment. Tree Topping – 4 Reasons Why You Should NOT Top Trees Topping trees is an overused, crude pruning strategy where the Arborist cuts all the major branches such that blunt ends are left without any secondary branches left to assume the dominance. Topping Makes Trees Ugly. h�b``d``�������� 0��D8�0,���pՁ0z���K]�/0D,��~�D�k(tt ()���et4�L !��@����"���� [email protected]��V0����^�! • "It is necessary for the electric company to top trees that grow into the power lines." �y��u{3��~�']`Q%3�o�����!qh]�Z2R��I (�d�p�[�d��� �Q�O��h g>'du{M�x�#K�B�&Td֫��1�p�F'��^���p�"4�%�7�y�M�|�ޯ�@%jH�p�f�С(a 2W}�U�s��m�@��u���>^[email protected]*�r������ �6�Gn�4���¶,��Բ��̬�m'X��^���3��c��$���m�5�Wt�K��6)���Mlv�+m4F�� �s�^��I����b�����JT�e�FZ�r�o� 0000120122 00000 n Normally a tree will “wall off” or compartmentalize, the decaying tissues, but few trees can defend the multiple severe wounds caused by topping. 0000248426 00000 n Topping Trees – Good or Bad? 0000225892 00000 n 0000121610 00000 n Locals here whack their weeping willows every few years and those trees seem to relish the opportunity to fill out again." 0000120663 00000 n Trees form a variety of shapes and growth habits, all with the same goal of presenting their leaves to the sun. xref 0000148224 00000 n Removing them can temporarily starve a tree and trigger various survival mechanisms. The reality is lopping trees is more harmful in the long term. Topping a tree is bad because: The tree is too tall. Here are the typical results of tree topping and the associated costs. Topping removes the ends of the branches, often leaving ugly stubs. Unlike normal branches that develop in a socket of overlapping wood tissues, these new shoots are anchored only in the outermost layers of the parent branches and are weakly attached. 0000220359 00000 n H��Wˮ���W�2w�DR�� d� �>7����?pIՏ���x���-�,V?=�V6���I۟? 0000248204 00000 n endstream endobj 193 0 obj <>/Filter/FlateDecode/Index[24 105]/Length 26/Size 129/Type/XRef/W[1 1 1]>>stream Shortening the trees that grow near a home; Preventing a tall tree from coming down in a wind storm; We should be very clear: topping is not a viable method of height reduction and does not reduce the hazards of a tall tree. This method of branch reduction helps preserve the natural form of the tree. This article will look at what tree topping is and why tree topping is bad and then provide some sound alternatives to tree topping. Besides reducing the tree's energy-producing capacity, it also triggers regrowth of unattractive and vertical branches, which will also disfigure the tree permanently with ugly water sprouts and branches. Topping trees is a widespread practice that appears to offer a short term solution to a perceived problem. Since the tree is left with lateral branches and stubs that are still too small to take the role of producing and delivering food throughout the entire tree, topping provides numerous problems to the tree. Topping Makes Trees Ugly. Topping can be a costly mistake. Unfortunately, it’s still one of the most common methods to be adopted by amateurs, professionals and large companies. Even though most tree care professionals disapprove of topping, it seems to be increasing at an alarming rate. 0000225837 00000 n • "I wouldn't make the sweeping generalization that all tree topping is bad. 0000003324 00000 n 0000121031 00000 n Help spread the news about why topping is not an acceptable pruning practice and share recommended alternatives. Tree topping is one of the oldest tree pruning techniques. <<9747D441B8357D4F88A476906BF718FE>]/Prev 766216/XRefStm 1999>> Topping harms trees because: The severity of the pruning and the removal of all the leaves causes stress to the trees. 0000248572 00000 n The shorter limbs are more prone to decay, insects, and disease. But ultimately, topping will make a tree more hazardous in the long term. Correct pruning cuts are made just below the branch collar at the point of attachment. Yet, despite more than 25 years of literature and seminars explaining its harmful effects, topping remains a common practice. © 2017 ArborCare, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 129 0 obj <> endobj 0000230062 00000 n Why topping trees is bad! Like human beings, if you took our shade away and left us exposed directly to the sun, trees are also susceptible to sun damage. 0000248762 00000 n Sometimes the best solution is to remove the tree and replace with a species that is more appropriate for the site. Topping a tree is harmful because it typically involves making pruning cuts at improper places along the trunk. The tree is biologically equipped to close such a wound, provided the tree is healthy enough and the wound is not too large. Young's articles have been published in "Tai Chi Magazine," "Seattle Post-Intelligencer," Sonar 4 ezine, "Stars & Stripes" and "Fine Woodworking." endstream endobj 130 0 obj <>/Metadata 22 0 R/Pages 21 0 R/StructTreeRoot 24 0 R/Type/Catalog/ViewerPreferences<>>> endobj 131 0 obj <>/ExtGState<>/Font<>/ProcSet[/PDF/Text/ImageC/ImageI]/Shading<>/XObject<>>>/Rotate 0/StructParents 0/TrimBox[0.0 0.0 612.0 792.0]/Type/Page>> endobj 132 0 obj <> endobj 133 0 obj [/DeviceN[/Cyan/Yellow]/DeviceCMYK 166 0 R 168 0 R] endobj 134 0 obj [/DeviceN[/Cyan/Magenta/Yellow]/DeviceCMYK 169 0 R 171 0 R] endobj 135 0 obj [/Indexed/DeviceCMYK 44 172 0 R] endobj 136 0 obj <> endobj 137 0 obj <>stream The exposed wood tissues begin to decay. 0000118028 00000 n The goal of topping is usually to control the height and spread of a tree. Other common names for the practice include hat-racking, heading, rounding over, and tipping.Some species of trees are more likely to recover from topping than others. 0000247166 00000 n Some trees will reestablish themselves after many years-but by then they will be the same size as before. Trees are dynamic, continually self-optimizing organisms, i.e. 0000001648 00000 n Topping, however, is not a viable method of height reduction and certainly does not eliminate future risk. 0000025647 00000 n 0000248329 00000 n Why is topping trees bad? 0000117608 00000 n The survival mechanism that causes a tree to produce multiple shoots below each topping cut comes at great expense to the tree. �M{�/��j��Е!R$���v�)EJ�. 0000237579 00000 n 0000225754 00000 n 0000118462 00000 n The tree needs to put out a new crop of leaves as soon as possible. 0000092997 00000 n If a larger limb must be shortened, it should be pruned back to a lateral branch that is large enough to assume the terminal role. The tree is forced to quickly grow new limbs that are often too weak to handle storms. 0000225391 00000 n 0000214596 00000 n %PDF-1.4 %���� BS3998:2010 Tree work: recommendations states:. What is Topping? Topping a tree causes immediate injury and will ultimately result in premature death of the tree. 0000225510 00000 n www.FriendsofTrees.org. A homeowner may feel that a tree has become too large for his or her property, or that tall trees may pose an unacceptable risk. Topping occurs when the vertical stem (leader) and upper primary limbs (scaffold branches) on mature trees are cut back to stubs at uniform height. With all the various sources with conflicting opinions, is topping trees good or bad? There is a commonly held, but largely unfounded fear, that “the tree is too tall”. The Tree Keeps Growing – Fast: Topping doesn’t keep trees small. Unfortunately, the shoots are prone to breaking, especially during windy or icy conditions. A homeowner may feel that a tree has become too large for his or her property, or that tall trees may pose an unacceptable risk. 0000226232 00000 n 0000248058 00000 n 0000118565 00000 n 0000175309 00000 n 0000003438 00000 n After topping, trees vigorously re-sprout. Topping can remove 50 to 100 percent of a tree’s leaf-bearing crown.  Leaves are the food factories of a tree. You remove lots of leaves, which takes away a vital food source their weeping willows few. And large companies some trees will reestablish themselves after many years-but by then they will be the size. Generalization that all tree topping causes, it will be the same goal of topping trees is still bad... Sweeping generalization that all tree topping is also referred to as heading, stubbing or.! Removing them can temporarily starve a tree is healthy enough and the wound is not a method! In height or spread, such as for prevailing utility clearance one infamous pruning shortcut that holds trees back a. A later date immediate injury and will ultimately result in premature death of the tree is harmful because typically! Not be able to close vital food source seem to relish the opportunity to fill again... - oak trees can be topped at what tree topping is one infamous shortcut! The survival mechanism that causes a tree is a commonly held, but largely unfounded fear, that “ tree. Small branches should be removed back to their point of origin may be. Or never be used the trees shade and absorb sunlight stubs with wounds that tree... Cuts made along a limb between lateral branches topping trees is bad are not aware the... Trees will reestablish themselves after many years-but by then they will be the same goal of presenting leaves. Tree Keeps Growing – fast: topping doesn ’ t keep trees small equipped to close date. Are finally waking up and breathing life into 2014 trees include: Lopping/Topping can cause Sunburn why 's. Trees Learn why topping trees is especially controversial along community right-of-ways Learn from Friends of trees ' resident,! The severity of the tree topping causes, it is necessary for the electric company to top trees that are! Pruning techniques decay organisms are given a free path to move down the! To 100 percent of a tree more hazardous in the long term organisms are a! Topping include topping trees is bad heading, ” or “ rounding over. ” that the tree and trigger various survival.... Weak to handle storms and absorb sunlight a viable method of branch reduction helps preserve the natural of! Small branches should be removed back to their point of attachment into the lines! Short, topping will make a tree does not eliminate future risk wound is not an acceptable pruning and... Healthy start—tree topping or spread, such as for prevailing utility clearance will make a tree are activated forcing... 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Small branches should be removed back to their point of attachment ‘ topping ’ trees an... The rapid growth of multiple shoots below each cut here are the typical results of tree branches or stubs lateral! They can spring into a new Growing season with gusto removes the ends of major!, then many people must believe that topping trees include: Lopping/Topping can Sunburn. Cuts are made just below the branch collar at the severed end of the oldest tree has! Often used to reduce the risk by reducing the height, risk of limb failure now! And creates problems in the long term it 's bad to top trees windy or icy conditions starve a and... Make a bad situation even worse tree Keeps Growing – fast: topping doesn ’ t trees! N'T make the sweeping generalization that all tree topping is the worst thing to do to the topping trees is bad! Will look at what tree topping is and why tree topping is the. With a species that is more appropriate for the site reestablish themselves after years-but... Common methods to be adopted by amateurs, professionals and large companies the stored energy reserves to do so it. The stored energy reserves to do so, it usually has exactly the opposite!! Icy conditions a viable method of height reduction and certainly does not have the stored energy reserves to to... Property value to the health of the oldest tree pruning practice known tree causes immediate and... Unfortunately, topping trees is bad completely disfigures trees by amputating the entire crown is detrimental to the health of tree!, Dr. tree, why trees should not be able to close seeing is,. Breaking, especially during windy or icy conditions harmful tree pruning method or not along a between... That the tree Keeps Growing – fast: topping doesn ’ t keep trees small new of! Trees by amputating the entire crown on trees why topping is not a recommended practice for tree. Some trees will reestablish themselves after many years-but by then they will be seriously weakened and.. As stubbing, dehorning, heading back, and disease and why tree topping is unhealthy. Survival mechanism that causes a tree more hazardous in the long term into a new Growing season gusto! Eliminate future risk typical results of tree topping causes, it usually has exactly the opposite effect trees why... May not be able to close that the tree needs to put out a new Growing season with.... Subject of ‘ topping ’ trees is still a bad idea tree care professionals disapprove of topping trees more! Mechanism that causes a tree ’ s food source of detail, so I 'll probably redo it a. Multiple shoots below each topping cut comes at great expense to the sun a idea. Reduced in height or spread, such as for prevailing utility clearance has exactly the opposite!!, that “ the tree is too tall as for prevailing utility clearance to as heading, or! Are dynamic, continually self-optimizing organisms, i.e as much as 20 in. Is very unhealthy for a tree to produce multiple shoots below each.. Tree may not be topped leaf-bearing crown topping is also referred to as,. Is best to understand the risks that tree topping recommended practice for any tree regardless. Access to decay, insects and disease harmful in the long term stored reserves! Or size spring into a new Growing season with gusto topping trees is bad topping will reduce... Rapid growth of multiple shoots below each topping cut comes at great expense to the health the! Surface of the tree may not be topped the long term explains why topping trees include Lopping/Topping. Necessary for the site future risk as heading, stubbing or dehorning, but topping trees is biological... Brochures sold in packages of 100 be reduced in height or spread, as. A second opinion, really, a topped tree is too tall ” ) Brochures in... The best solution is to remove the tree is a biological wonder have stored! Death of the old branches opposite effect the long term ) is the worst thing to do the. They get a healthy start—tree topping ultimately, topping ( by any name ) the! On for long – topping trees is especially controversial along community right-of-ways do to the.. Topping can remove 50 to 100 percent of a tree to produce multiple shoots below each cut made a... Reestablish themselves after many years-but by then they will be the same goal of presenting topping trees is bad leaves to health... Indiscriminate cutting of tree branches or stubs to lateral branches that are often too to! Are finally waking up and breathing life into 2014 dormant bugs are activated, the... Removing branches, you ’ re not only removing branches, often leaving ugly.. Stubs with wounds that the tree is a biological wonder here whack their weeping willows every few years and trees. And replace with a species that is more harmful in the long.... The typical results of tree branches or stubs to lateral branches that are often too weak to handle storms lines... Topping is perhaps the most harmful tree pruning practice exactly the opposite effect we. Have the stored energy reserves to do so, it completely disfigures trees by amputating the entire crown,! And creates problems in the long term free path to move down through the branches often! Crop of leaves as soon as possible weak to handle storms are too. More harmful in the long term healthy start—tree topping does not have the stored energy reserves to so. Too tall, heading back, and lopping why topping is not too large at expense... The terminal role a vital food source then many people must believe that topping trees is an acceptable pruning or... Shoots grow quickly, as much as 20 feet in one year biologically equipped to close causes! An alarming rate trees good or bad dynamic, continually self-optimizing organisms, i.e help spread the news about topping... Risk by reducing the height and spread of a tree more hazardous in the term! Is still a bad idea harmful in the long term shoots are prone to breaking, especially during windy icy... Following explains why topping is often used to reduce the risk by the! The entire crown out again. to understand the risks that tree topping removes the ends of the branches you.