(864) 320-8787 eric@outonalimbsc.com

To Top Or Not

Often you’ll see a group of trees which have been almost uniformly cropped across the top. In addition to not being aesthetically pleasing, tree topping as it is known, can also create serious injury to the tree.

The proper definition according to the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) is as follows: “topping is the indiscriminate cutting back of tree branches to stubs or lateral branches that are not large enough to assume the terminal role. Other names for topping include heading, tipping, hat-racking and rounding over.” The ISA believes topping is by far the most harmful pruning method continually practiced in spite of their 25 year campaign to educate tree owners, arborists and tree surgeons.

Problems created by tree topping include:

  • Weak new growth. Following a tree topping the new branches that sprout are generally weaker, more fragile and the severed part of the branch is susceptible to rot.
  • Large open wounds of a topped tree don’t seal quickly leaving the stub vulnerable to damage from rodents, insects and disease.
  • Leaves are food central for a tree and topping a tree interferes with its nutrient balance. Removing between 50 to 100 percent of a tree’s top leaves, especially on a mature tree, interferes with the tree’s well-developed leaf-bearing crown to root ratio which in turn suspends its food-making ability, sending the tree into shock.
  • The branches and trunk of a tree are protected from excessive sunlight by its leafy crown. When the crown is removed the tissues underneath the bark can become sunburned from sun and heat exposure. This damaged tissue can cause cankers, bark splitting and eventually kill off some of the branches.

Often, especially when the tree is near a utility line, it becomes necessary to reduce its spread. An experienced tree surgeon is familiar with the recommended pruning techniques. After evaluation it may be necessary to remove the entire tree and replace it with a species better suited for the location.

Searching for a professional experienced tree service that will listen to your concerns and work with you on the best solution for your tree’s needs? Call Eric with OutonaLimbSC.com today at 864-320-8787 for more information.

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