Topping a tree is the indiscriminate and drastic removal or cutting back of large mature limbs. The tree is left with stubbed branches. Topping is sometimes called heading, stubbing, or dehorning. Unsuspecting homeowners fall prey to fast-talking trimmers as they give out misinformation. There are no benefits to topping. Some incorrectly believe reducing the tree height decreases the chance they will topple in wind or ice but this is not the case. Even though the harmful effects have been known for decades, the practice continues.
Why is tree topping bad?
Topping trees leads to unnecessary stress by weakening the tree. You are cutting away the trees food making potential.
It can also lead to sunburn as all of the trees covering is being removed and causes the tree to decay, creating the potential for more hazards in the future.
Also tree topping just makes a tree downright ugly. A tree that has been topped can never fully regain its natural form.
Tree topping can also be expensive in the long run. It increases tree maintenance costs, can increase liability potential and reduce your property value.
There are alternatives to tree topping an a certified arborist through NTS can guide you through this process. They can help preserve a trees natural form by pruning the correct branches, or, if necessary, remove the tree and replace it with a species that is more appropriate.