Dangers Of Tree Topping

Oct 07th 2019

Regular trimmings and prunings are a common part of a tree’s life cycle. When performed properly, these routine tree care services can provide the tree with health benefits as well as improved aesthetics. Unfortunately, correct practices aren’t always followed, leading to dangerous conditions for both the tree and surrounding structures. Extreme trimming methods such as tree topping can leave a tree susceptible to disease, instability, and even death. At SkyFrog Tree Service,  we safely cut back and maintain overgrown trees, leaving them healthy and looking great without imposing long-term damage in the process. 


What Is Tree Topping?

Topping is an extreme form of tree trimming, utilized to reduce the size of a tree when it has grown too large. During the tree topping process, large branches, or even the entire top half of the tree, are cut away, removing all leaf-bearing limbs. Nothing more is left behind than a few stubby branches that are unable to provide the support a tree needs. A reputable tree trimming company will know to avoid these practices and will instead use safe trimming methods when a tree has begun to grow unruly. 

Common Reasons For Tree Topping

In most cases, tree topping is done much for the same reason as tree trimming. Trees that have grown too large for residential and commercial areas, trees that have grown too close to power lines, and trees that require tree limb pruning prior to the start of a large storm are all common recipients of the tree topping process. For homeowners that are unaware of the proper methods associated with tree trimming, topping a tree may seem like a cost-effective way to reduce a tree’s height, but in reality, the dangers heavily outweigh any immediate advantages. 

How Topping Harms The Tree

Damages associated with tree topping include the following.

Limits In Nutrient Intake

Trees require food just like any other creature on the planet, and the leaves on a tree’s branches are a necessary component in food production. Without them, a tree loses its ability to send nutrients throughout its root system, causing the tree to starve. If the tree lacks stored nutrients or is unable to quickly regrow branches, its health can swiftly decline. 

Increased Infestations

Any limbs remaining after the topping process are going to be susceptible to decay, pests, and disease. Typically, a tree is able to protect itself from invasive insects and infections, but when excessive pruning occurs, the tree has to focus its energy on repairs instead of protection. Decaying or infested trees are prone to losing stability, causing the tree to further breakdown or fall over, leading to damages that many home and business owners were likely trying to avoid by scheduling tree topping. 

Reduced Limb Strength

When a tree suffers severe damage, much like in the case of topping, it naturally begins to heal in order to restore the damaged limbs. These branches are unnaturally attached to the parent branch, with many connections occurring in a single, flimsy area. These branches can easily detach during a storm, leading to potential property damage, and requiring the help of a tree removal company.    

Likelihood Of System Shock

Any severe, spontaneous changes in a tree’s limb structure can send a tree into a state of accelerated growth and repair as it attempts to mend the lost branches. This rapid growth and repair cycle stimulates new branches to be grown, with most branches eventually growing back larger than before. If a tree can survive the initial shock that occurs during a tree topping, it may expand to a much larger burden than if the tree had been properly maintained from the start.  

Alternatives To Tree Topping

If a tree has become oversized, there are options property owners can take before serious alterations are made. With regular tree pruning services, branches can stay maintained and under control, and drastic changes that leave a tree damaged and looking withered can be avoided. Our mature tree care services can provide the care and maintenance needed to keep a tree healthy. Contact the certified arborists with SkyFrog Tree Service today to keep your trees looking their best!