Topping of trees is a service for which many new customers request. However, we do not offer this service; as it is not a proper or ethical pruning practice. Topping a tree seems like a practical way to reduce the height and wind sway of a large tree, or to keep fruit in reach for harvesting. The result of topping doesn’t produce those results, and can even lead to the failure of the plant. If the tree does survive, it will regrow rapidly; with many more branches than the original plant. This new growth is attached to the sapwood of the tree (not throughout the limb as a healthy branch grows from), and therefore has little support. The topping cut also decays, making it even more unstable from which the new growth is sprouting from. This can make some trees extremely hazardous, especially larger species of trees. Further, the tree almost always loses it’s natural shape.
Once a tree has been topped the damage is permanent. Depending on the species and condition, in a few cases we can try to restore a crown to it’s natural shape(after several prunings). However, in most cases a topped tree is now a hazardous tree. Once it’s deemed as a hazardous tree, we will only offer our services to remove the tree.
Some trees simply out grow their space. Careful planning before planting can save the tree from frequent prunings or eventual removal. A suitable species for a given location is always the best option.
If an existing mature tree has issues in it’s space, there are other pruning methods that could keep it maintained and healthy. However, keeping a tree smaller than it’s natural state is costly and sometimes best to remove.