Tree Topping: Why It Hurts Trees in Burnaby

​Tree topping is a practice that has been going on for centuries. The idea is that by cutting off the top of a tree, you will create a more appealing shape and reduce the maintenance required to keep it looking good. There are several problems with this practice, though, and if you want to learn more about why tree topping hurts trees, read on.

​What Is Tree Topping?

Tree topping was originally done in the days before lawn mowers were invented, but even today, it is still sometimes used as a form of pruning. When tree topping is done correctly, it involves removing all branches from the top of a tree with no damage to its trunk or roots. 

However, in most cases, this does not happen; instead, people remove large chunks of branch material, leaving ugly stubs where they once grew. It can lead to problems for both people and plants alike.

Why Tree Topping Hurts TreesThere is a common misconception that tree topping is a good way to make your trees look better. The truth is that it can cause more damage than it fixes. When you have a tree that’s too tall and overgrown, it can be tempting to top it. But tree topping harms your tree, your yard, and the environment. Here’s why:

It Damages the Roots of Your Tree

Tree topping damages trees by removing large branches or entire tops. When you remove part of a tree’s canopy, it also removes part of its root system. It results in less stability for your tree, which makes it more susceptible to stressors such as wind and rain damage.

It also means that the crown is no longer supported by the tree’s trunk and root system, which causes them to break down over time. The resulting stresses on the remaining branches can also cause them to die. Without healthy roots, your tree will have difficulty absorbing water and nutrients from the soil, making it more susceptible to disease and pests.

It Weakens Your Tree’s Growth Pattern

When you remove part of a tree’s canopy, you also remove part of its ability to photosynthesize properly – leading to stunted growth and poor health over time. Tree topping also affects a tree’s natural growth pattern. When the top is removed, it forces the lower branches to grow upward to reach the light.

Suppose you decide later that you want more shade in your yard or would like to prune your tree down low again. There will be several branches at different heights on your tree instead of one single layer, as there should be if left untrimmed after planting time.

It Destroys The Natural Shape Of A Tree

The most obvious consequence of topping is that the tree loses its canopy — the crown or upper part. Removing this portion of the plant causes stress, which can be fatal to some trees. Seeking professional help from a tree service company can help.

The stress from topping may also expose the trunk and roots to sunburn and fungal infections. In addition, topping can cause limbs to break off due to a lack of sunlight reaching them. When you cut off the tops of trees, they will often grow back unnaturally, which doesn’t look nice!

The Job is More Complicated Than it Looks

Topping a tree can result in dangerous accidents, as limbs can fall on you or your home. It also makes the tree more likely to break during high winds because its center of gravity has changed. And topping can cause permanent damage if done incorrectly, which means the tree may need to be removed in the future.

It Doesn't Solve the Problem

It doesn’t work long-term. If your idea of getting rid of a tree is cutting off its top, it won’t work. All that will do is stimulate more growth in other areas of the tree as it tries to compensate for what was taken away from it. You’ll have more branches than ever and be back where you started in no time flat!

If you’re trying to reduce the height of a tree by topping it, there are other safer and more effective methods than topping alone. You can hire an arborist.

Pruning removes small branches while leaving larger ones in place. It allows sunlight and water access through the canopy of leaves and branches to keep your trees growing strong and healthy.

Your Tree's Health is at Risk

It’s stressful to the tree. Topping a tree can kill or make it suffer for years. The stress of topping can make the tree less resistant to disease and insects, leading to more pests and disease problems.

Tree topping can stress the remaining branches, which may cause them to die or become diseased over time. In addition, the wound created by removing the branch tips may leave an open area that could allow disease or pests into the tree’s system.

Tree topping damages nearby plants and shrubs by exposing them to weather extremes they’re not accustomed to. If you live in a region that has cold winters or hot summers (or both), you should keep this in mind when considering whether or not you should top your trees.

It's not Safe for People or for Property

When you take off part of a branch on an otherwise healthy tree, you expose live tissue that could be damaged by weather or someone walking into it. In addition, if any decay is present in the wood where you cut — even just a little bit — then it could easily spread throughout the rest of the branch when exposed to moisture and insects after being cut off.

It’s Time to Protect Your Tree. The main problem with tree topping is that it cuts off the flow of nutrients from the leaves to the roots, which can cause serious damage over time. It can lead to diseases or even death if the tree does not receive proper care after being topped.

If you still need to have your tree topped, you should hire an arborist to do it for you so they will know how far apart they should cut each branch. They can also perform maintenance afterward to ensure your tree’s health remains intact. Contact us today for professional help.