Most people know that tree trimming and pruning consists of strategically removing the branches off of trees for health or aesthetic purposes. But few have been exposed to tree topping. Before considering this service for your trees, you should arm yourself with some basic information. With that in mind we at Milam’s Tree Service would like to share some basic information of what you should know concerning topping.
What is Tree Topping?
An extreme form of pruning trees is topping. By cutting the main trunk at a certain height or by removing large limbs, the tree’s height is drastically reduced in topping. Two practices used in the wood harvesting industry are coppicing or pollarding, which has practical uses; however, residential trees are rarely required for topping.
Does Tree Topping Reduce Amount of Falling Leaves?
There are many misconceptions concerning tree topping. Topping services are generally not recommended in the residential application, but on rare occasion, is still needed. Once all other options have been exhausted, topping is frequently used as a last resort. Unfortunately, some people are lead to believing topping trees is the only solution due to the surrounding misconceptions about topping trees. Some myths point to topping trees will reduce the volume of the mess made by leaves. Where this holds true, the benefit is for a limited time and it puts the tree’s life at a high risk. Leaving you with even more leaves to deal with, the new shoots that grow from the topped tree will typically grow in faster and fuller than before.
Will Topping Minimize Chance of Tree Falling on House?
Another false notion is that topping trees will minimize the risk of the tree falling over. The truth is that topping can result in increased risk of falling over because of unbalanced weight. It is important to keep in mind that despite a tree initially appearing as it might fall over, the tree may not be in any kind risk at all. A certified professional can determine if the tree will collapse after evaluating it for any undeniable signs of structural weakness. If you believe your tree is in need of being topped, it is essential you get the opinion of a certified specialist, especially if you intend on doing the work yourself. Seeking the consultation of a professional can present several optimal solutions to the problems you believe point to needing a tree topping project.
Tree Topping Damage
As previously mentioned, tree topping is only done as a last resort. In many scenarios topping can result in severe stress damage, which often leads to the tree’s untimely death. Topping can be extremely dangerous to the health of a tree for a plethora of reasons. A very large portion of the tree’s leaves is removed through topping, leaving the tree without the ability to sustain itself through photosynthesis, causing it to die. Additional issues that can occur with excessive leaf loss is leaving the tree susceptible to sun scald, bark damage, and decay-causing organisms; resulting in the tree’s death as well. The new growth and the stub that was left behind from the cut are also highly susceptible to insects and pathogens from the consequences of tree topping.
Will a Topped Tree Grow Back?
A topped tree will grow back. Trees lose necessary energy when topped and due to the energy loss caused by topping, trees will react quickly to try and regain what they lost. The top of your tree will likely soon be covered in thin, vertical sprouts that look like twigs. These are called water sprouts. As your tree tries to recover, water sprouts will quickly grow right below the pruning cut. Soon, your tree will be just as tall as it was before unstable with an unflattering silhouette.
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Tree topping is a dangerous task, not only for the tree, but also for the person doing the cutting as well as any spectators on the ground in addition to the potential property damage. In the event your residential trees require tree topping services, count on a trained professional such as Milam’s Tree Service to do the work to ensure the safety of others and to avoid property damage.