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There’s more than one way to cut a tree, but not every method is right. Inexperienced or untrustworthy tree care companies may suggest tree topping as a suitable option for managing tree growth. Learn what options you have, and why homeowners should avoid this method of tree care.

What is Tree Topping?

The term “tree topping” makes it sound like the top of the tree is being chopped off – and that is essentially what’s happening. With topping, the upper most branches are cut to stubs, giving trees a less than appealing appearance. Removing the tops of branches in this way removes the tree’s leaves, which are its primary food source. This disrupts the trees natural growth cycle, meaning that its likely for the tree to grow at a faster rate to compensate for what has been cut – resulting in more trimming for the homeowner.

Why Shouldn’t I Have my Trees Topped?

Certified arborists and general tree trimming services agree, there are very few instances when tree topping is a viable option, and there’s a reason for this. Tree topping can create serious health issues and lead to an increased chance of your trees becoming sick. Shortened limbs are highly susceptible to decay, disease and various types of insect infestations. The practice of tree topping also interrupts the tree’s natural growth cycle, which can lead to new branches forming and growing to the original height of the tree. This makes the tree less structurally sound, meaning that if heavy rains or strong winds come, your tree is more likely to topple over or break.

Pruning: The Alternative to Tree Topping

Pruning is the best alternative to tree topping and a great way to ensure the health of your tree. There are many different types of pruning, but crown reduction is the most common. Crown reduction is a type of pruning where arborists selectively trim back overgrown branches and reduce the height of your tree without compromising its structural integrity.

Pruning helps maintain the tree’s original shape while taking care of extra growth, allowing the tree to continue its natural growth cycle. Pruning is best done by a professional certified arborist who will ensure the right branches and/or stems are cut.

When taking care of the trees in your yard, tree topping should never be thought of as an “easy-fix” for tree maintenance. The best way to ensure the health, safety and appearance of your trees is to contact a certified residential arborist to assess what steps need to be taken to control growth. Believe us, your trees will thank you.

For over six decades, Townsend has provided vegetation management and tree care services to local communities. For trustworthy tree trimming services, contact Townsend Residential today!