What is Topping?

Topping is the random cutting of tree limbs to stubs or to lateral limbs that are not big enough to take on the terminal role. Other names for topping are rounding over, tipping, heading, and hat racking. People may feel that a tree has gotten too large for his or her property, or that tall trees may be undue risk. However, topping isn’t a useful technique of height reduction and certainly doesn’t lessen future risk. Topping will raise the risk over time.


The Stress of Topping Trees

Topping can eliminate anywhere from 50% to 100% of a tree’s crown. Leaves are the food supply of a tree. Removing them can momentarily starve a tree and initiate several survival mechanisms. Dormant buds are triggered forcing the quick growth of many shoots below every cut. The tree must put out a new group of leaves ASAP.

Tampa Tree Service Topping Trees

Topped Trees Trying to Recover

If a tree doesn’t have the reserved energy to do so, it will weaken and die. A strained tree with open, big wounds is more susceptible to diseases and insects. The tree may lack adequate energy to defend the wounds against invasion. Some insects are primarily attracted to the chemical signals trees give off.

Topping is possibly the most harmful tree care practice known. Though, despite over 20 years of seminars and literature describing its adverse effects, topping is a common practice. A tree specialist can decide if your trees will benefit from tree topping or not.


Topping Makes Trees Ugly

The natural branching makeup of a tree is a living wonder. Trees produce an assortment of growth habits and shapes, all with the same objective of showing their leaves to the sun. Topping trees eliminate the ends of the branches, usually leaving ugly stubs.

Topping damages the natural form of a tree. Without leaves, a topped tree looks mutilated and disfigured. With leaves, it’s a dense ball of foliage, missing simple elegance. A tree that has been topped can’t wholly get back its natural form. If you want your tree topping service, arrange a consultation with a Tampa arborist.