Tree Topping . . . what is the alternative?

In our last blog we discussed several points on why tree topping is harmful to your trees. Trees that have been topped suffer starvation, shock, insect infestation, decay, weak limbs, and even death. There are no situations when we would ever recommend having your tree topped. So, what can you do instead of tree topping? Here’s what we recommend.

Canopy Reduction. This practice is the removal of small limbs from their point of origin. No more than 25% of the tree’s foliage should be removed, based on its species and health.

Crown-Raising-Before-AfterInterlimbing or Thinning. This method is best when you prefer your view to be through a tracery of green. Removing selected branches up the trunk provides partial views through the tree and will let more sunlight into your back yard if your trees were blocking it out. Thinning also creates paths for strong winds to move through the tree instead of pushing against them, allowing your tree to withstand those winds.

Raising the Canopy. This process opens up a view by removing the lower limbs of a tree. All branches are cut from the ground up to the desired level. These lower limbs give less energy for the tree’s growth, so the tree can tolerate their removal. To achieve a pleasing shape, be careful not to limb up higher than half the visual height of the tree. If the tree looks top heavy, you can thin out some of the higher branches.

Although these techniques are simple to understand, tree pruning can be dangerous and complicated and is best performed by a professional. To ensure your trees have an aesthetically pleasing shape, consult with a Certified Arborist and make sure to stay away from anyone who suggests tree topping as an option.