In the previous post, we started to explain the many reasons why tree topping is not a proper arboricultural practice. In continuation, we would like to offer even more reasons why 770-Tree-Guy cannot recommend this practice.
1. Topping exposes your tree to sunburn!
Think of the leaves at the top of the tree like a pair of sunglasses or a coat of SPF 55. Leaves provide protection to the branches below by absorbing the sunlight. Exposure to too much light and heat causes the tissue beneath the bark to become sunburned which can lead to splitting, cankers, and ultimately death for some branches. Keep your tree out of the heat by refusing to top your tree.
2. Topping is risky for you!
Many homeowners will choose to top trees to avoid fall risks and minimize danger. The opposite happens by topping—trees become even more dangerous. The survival mechanism which kicks in and causes rapid new growth through new shoots produces branches which are weak and likely to break off. Branches are designed to grow from the proper socket of layered up tissue which will anchor them for support in the long-term. Because these branches grow so rapidly, as much as 20 feet in a year for some varieties of trees, these branches can cause serious damage when impacted by hazardous conditions such as wind, snow, or ice. The original goal of being “safer” has the opposite effect as these new branches are even more likely to fall. Protect your home and property by only employing proper pruning techniques.
3. Topping is stealing the natural beauty of your tree forever!
Topping is so much more than giving your tree a bad haircut. Although an ugly haircut will grow out and remedy over time, topping damages the very core of the tree so it will never shine with its former natural splendor. Trees are designed to grow with an intended structure which will allow their leaves to fully absorb the natural sunlight. When a tree is topped, not only is the tree less attractive for the moment with unsightly stumps, but the tree is impacted forever and will never regain its original ideal structure. Topping can leave a tree without proper leaf coverage for up to 6 months. During that time, the tree will look disfigured, but it will also absorb far too much light and heat. Topping is a decision believed to be a temporary solution, which has long-term consequences.
Look out for the concluding blog post in this series which highlights a final impactful reason and the best alternatives to tree topping.