Why tree professionals are saying “NO” to tree topping:
Weakens the Tree
When a tree is topped, 50-100% of its leaf-bearing crown is removed, seriously weakening the tree. If it does not have enough reserved energy, topping could be fatal to the tree.
Topping a tree just makes matters worse: trees are topped to eliminate branches or sections of the tree that are in less than ideal locations. However, topping it actually causes rapid growth of weak shoots- which can grow up to 20ft in just one year.
Topping is a vicious cycle: you cut unwanted sections or branches, which causes the tree to grow new shoots (with thinner, weaker branches). If your tree survives, maintenance will be required more frequently. If your tree dies, removal can be costly.
Without leaves, trees are exposed to high levels of heat and light. This new stress can result in the death of branches and diminish the tree’s natural disease resistance.
Topping a tree produces open wounds. This damage makes the tree vulnerable to insect and disease infestation. Without energy (provided by leaves) the tree may be unable to defends its wounds against invasion.
Leaves help the tree produce energy to chemically defend itself- without them, it may be unable to defend wounds from topping against insect invasion. Additionally, open wounds from topping make the tree more vulnerable to insect and disease infestation.
When a branch is naturally wounded, the tree will sort of “wall off” decaying tissue. When a tree is topped, the wounds are so plentiful and severe that few are able to self-preserve. The trees new stubs are an open pathway to decay, which moves down and throughout the tree’s branches.
The natural form of a tree includes the big, leafy crown. Without its “top” the tree appears mutilated. Topped trees never fully regain their natural form.