Why You Shouldn’t Top Your Trees

Why You Shouldn’t Top Your Trees

If you have a tree that is getting larger than you’d like or is creating a safety hazard, don’t simply chop off the top. It may seem like the best choice at the time, but it creates complications for the health of the tree. There are three main reasons why people top their trees:

  1. For aesthetics because the homeowner (or neighbors) thinks the tree is too tall.
  2. To prevent the tree from obstructing or interfering with electrical wires.
  3. An attempt to prevent the tree from falling down during high winds or storms.

Topping trees causes damage that is irreparable and threatens the durability of your tree’s life. So, we’re going to give you double the reasons for not topping trees:

  1. Causes stress: Your tree will go through a great deal of stress once the top has been chopped off. In response it will grow quick, weak shoots close to the old branches. These shoots will likely break, but any that survive will continue to grow to the pre-chopped height, negating all your efforts.
  2. It won’t look good: Topping trees will damage the natural form of a tree and it will grow back disfigured and oddly shaped. Trees can’t repair from this and will continue to grow in weird ways to try and protect itself.
  3. It starves the tree: Topping trees cuts off their ability to make food. The tree will not be able to provide for its roots, which means they will stop growing. This prevents the roots from transporting nutrients and water to the tree’s branches and leaves.  
  4. Sun damage: Yes, a tree can sunburn just like you. Removing the top canopy of a tree will suddenly expose the bark and branches to sunlight. The tissues under the bark will get damaged, leading to splitting, cankers, and even branch death.
  5. A welcome call for insects: The large wounds on the tree release chemical signals. Some insects are attracted to these signals, possibly brining in hordes of harmful bugs that the tree may not have enough energy to defend against.
  6. Vulnerable to diseases: Large wounds from topping rarely heal completely, which makes the tree vulnerable to diseases or decay. Cutting open large portions of the tree speeds up any decaying process and lessens the life of the tree.

But you still have that massive tree; what are you supposed to do? The solution is trimming. Trimming or pruning a tree correctly will help keep it healthy and strong and also allows for shaping in an effective way. Being proactive with tree trimming maintenance rather than reactive with hasty topping will save you money because you’ll be on top of any concerns before an issue arises. Address any potential hazards before they become a problem, detect diseases or infestations before your tree becomes weak and sick, and increase air circulation while providing the right sunlight for your tree with wise trimming practices. Keep your trees attractive and healthy by calling us today for all your tree service needs.