More about Pruning: The Bane of Topping

More about Pruning: The Bane of Topping

Homeowners generally get their trees chopped when they get too big. However, topping trees isn’t as straightforward as it seems. It’s harmful for many reasons.

In fact, many areas are trying to stop tree topping, like the city of Tacoma.

Here’s everything to know about it:

What is tree topping?

Tree topping refers to the indiscriminate chopping of tree branches to stubs. Tree topping may also be referred to as heading, tipping, rounding over, or even hat-racking.

It’s generally done to make a tree shorter and reduce its width. Homeowners that feel the trees in their backyard have become too tall to the point that it’s a threat to their home tend to get them chopped. However, it isn’t a viable way to reduce the height of a tree. It does more damage and increases the risk of that tree falling in the long run.

Tree topping stresses a tree

Tree topping can remove up to 100% of a tree’s crown that grows its leaves. Leaves are sources of food for a tree. Cutting them off starves a tree and triggers survival mechanisms in it. The dormant buds come alive and begin growing multiple shoots below each cut since the tree must now grow out leaves at a rapid rate. If a tree isn’t able to do so due to a lack of energy reserves, it runs the risk of dying.

Trees that have been chopped down in this manner are referred to as stressed trees. They have pruning wounds that make them susceptible to disease and infestations. Once again, a stressed-out tree will lack the energy reserves to fend off and protect itself from infestations and disease.

Tree topping promotes decay

Trees that are pruned effectively are trimmed just above the branch collar. Trees are able to close such wounds if they’re healthy enough. Cuts made during tree topping create stubs with deep wounds that the tree isn’t able to heal. The exposed tissues begin to decay at a rapid pace. Usually, trees can localize decay to a particular area, but the way tree topping is performed puts the whole tree at risk.

Tree topping increases the chances of sunburn

Sunburn doesn’t just happen to humans; trees can also suffer at the hands of the harmful rays of the sun. The branches that shoot out of a tree’s main crown are known to produce the most leaves. This is located at the top of the tree so that they can effectively absorb sunlight and photosynthesize. When these leaves are cut off, as a result of tree topping, the trunk is exposed to the rays of the sun, causing sunburn, which eventually leads to a split bark, dead branches, and cankers.

Have your home’s trees trimmed by our professionals. We provide pruning services in Montana, tree removal, tree trimming, and stump grinding. Get in touch with Champion Tree Trimming Services LLC via our number (406) 471-3026.

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