What happens when a tree is topped?

By Dan Bailey, in Landscaping

Topping a tree is an unacceptable way of reducing the height of a tree.  It may provide short term control of the size of a tree, but it causes serious problems in the future.

A few things happen when a tree is topped:

  1. The points on the tree where it was cut will produce vigorous irregular growth.  The irregular growth ruins the trees natural growth habit.
  2. Because the tree is going to try and regain the foliage that it lost the tree will soon be just as tall as it was before it was cut.  Now the crown of the tree will be thicker which will require more time to cut the next time.
  3. Now that the crown of the tree is so thick from the irregular growth the interior of the tree is not going to get enough sunlight causing inside branches to die back.
  4. The last thing is that the new growth is weakly attached so the chance of breaking is much higher.

If the size of a tree needs to be shrunk more than 20% it is probably planted in the wrong place and needs to be removed and replaced with something better suited for the location.

Selectively pruning a tree so that it keeps the natural shape is a much better way to go about maintaining the trees on your property.  Not only will the be healthier, but they will also look much more appealing in every season.

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