How Tree Topping Harms Your Trees in Knoxville, TN

Tree topping is an outdated canopy management technique that can kill the plant. In this article, Pro Tree of Knoxville, your experts for arboriculture and tree trimming in Knoxville, explain more about this type of pruning. 

tree topping

What Is Tree Topping?

This is where you reduce the tree’s size by removing most, if not all, of the canopy. Most people attempt this practice when a tree becomes too tall for the space. 

Why Is Topping a Bad Practice? 

When you learn more about tree health, you’ll understand why this practice is so harmful. Let’s look at what can happen when you use this technique. 

The Plant Loses Its Food Source

Tree topping usually entails cutting back 50% to 100% of the canopy. This is one of the worst tree injuries you can inflict because you’re removing the leaves. You’re literally starving the plant, and this can cause its death.

A Greater Risk of Decay, Disease, and Pests

The issue here is that you’re opening up several wounds at once. Even if you make every cut perfectly, that’s a lot of healing the tree needs to do. Under normal circumstances, your plant only has to heal one or two wounds at a time. With this kind of damage, the tree may not have enough time to react before rot sets in. 

The sap dripping from each cut is also problematic. Many insects find the smell irresistible, meaning you could face a pest infestation very quickly.

Finally, you’re putting the tree at risk of catching a disease. The tree’s bark is what protects it from illness. When you leave gaping holes in the bark, you harm the plant’s defenses. Furthermore, because it’s fighting to survive and has less foliage than it should, it’s not able to fight off pests or disease.

The main environmental impact of this technique is that it negatively affects tree health. You’ll be left with a weak plant that might drop limbs easily.

Weak Growth

People often top trees because they’re too tall. If you understand anything about tree care, you’ll understand that this is a mistake. The first thing the plant does is to send out sprouts to replace the canopy. 

These new branches grow prolifically with a focus on quantity rather than quality. The branches grow quickly, quickly passing where the old canopy stopped. Therefore, you’re dealing with a worse height issue than before. 

What To Do Instead of Tree Topping

Your best move is to consult a certified arborist. We can offer many safe strategies that will curtail the tree’s growth. If that’s not an option, we’ll look at whether it’s viable to transplant the tree. In the worst case, we’ll advise you to replace it with a more appropriate species.

Contact the Experts Today

Tree topping is never the right answer. Before taking such a drastic step, call Pro Tree of Knoxville at 865-294-0062. We have the answer to this question and others like, “Will broken branches kill a tree?” 

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