Should I ‘top’ my trees?

Topping or severely cutting back of a tree’s crown is a poor arboricultural practice and should not be used for healthy tree maintenance. The common reason given for topping is to limit the growth of a tree, but this does not occur. In reality, the fast-growing watersprouts will actually outgrow a similar-sized tree that has not been topped in about 5 years after the topping. Taking the top from a tree:

  • destroys the trees branch structure
  • gives multiple points of entry for wood decay organisms
  • can turn your tree into a hazard, creating a liability for which you could be held responsible
  • does not limit tree growth as advertised by tree toppers

Though topping often leads to many large, fast-growing sprouts, these sprouts are attached to stubs that soon become rotten. The sprouts then become hazards, as they grow larger.