Topping is possibly the most harmful pruning practice for your trees. Despite all the talk of the long-lasting, harmful effects it has on your trees, topping still remains a very common technique. This procedure consists of cutting off entire tree branches that are then not large enough to receive proper nutrients and grow to their full potential. There are many other practices that far outweigh the benefits of topping, but let’s just take a moment to explain why topping is so bad for your trees:

Dangers of Topping

1) Causes Internal Decay

Cuts are made just beyond the branch collar at the point of attachment in safe, effective pruning techniques. Trees are equipped to close small wounds, but indiscriminately cuts made from topping are far too large for a tree to heal by itself. The exposed wood tissues from this large will begin to decay. This decay will spread down the branches until the entire tree is diseased if there is no treatment.

2) Disfigures the Natural Structure of Trees

Trees are one of the most beautiful aspects of nature. They form a variety of shapes and growth habits. Topping removes the ends of branches – including their colorful leaves – leaving ugly shrubs. Without leaves, a topped tree will appear disfigured and mutilated. Unfortunately, a topped tree can never fully regain its natural form.

3) Stresses Trees

Topping your trees can remove anywhere from 50 to 100 perfect of a tree’s crown. Removing a trees’ leaves results in temporary starvation of that tree. This can lead to lack of energy, which makes the tree vulnerable to insect and disease infestations.

4) Increases Maintenance Costs

A tree will require serious maintenance to repair it’s now mutilated form if it survives the decay and disease brought about from topping. However, even with spending hundreds of dollars on repairs, your tree will never be able to go back to their natural form.

5) Reduces Property Value

A healthy, well-maintained tree can add up to 20 percent to the value of any property. Disfigured, mutilated, and ugly topped trees are considered an impending expense and may drive people away from your property.

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