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Local Palo Alto tree care pros like those from Bay Area Tree Specialists know very well about the widespread practice of tree topping, a practice that leads to the drastic cutting back of tree branches to stubs, mostly in mature trees. However, while it is done by a lot of people, tree topping actually spews out a lot of trouble for both the tree and the homeowner as well. Writing on The State Journal of Frankfort, KY, contributor Adam Leonberger notes some reasons people carry out tree topping:

The most common reason for topping trees given by homeowners and those who practice topping is to reduce the size of a tree. Homeowners often feel their trees have become too large for their property or fear tall trees may pose a hazard. Some people believe it is acceptable because “we have always done it this sway” or they see this example in their neighborhood and believe because a trusted neighbor does this, it must be OK. In fact, topping will make a tree more hazardous over the long term.

So how exactly is topping bad for a tree, and in the long term, the homeowners as well? For one, topped trees are likely to “starve.” Topping removes a huge portion of a tree’s leaves and branches, taking away its ability to nourish itself via photosynthesis. Topping also makes a tree susceptible to shock. For example, trees used to shady weather will be directly exposed to the heat of the sun when they’re topped. Moreover, tree topping often leaves big wounds that take a while to heal or close up, thereby paving the way for decay and insect invasions to settle in much more quickly.


People, on the other hand, are also placed at risk. Tree topping weakens the tree’s overall structure, as much of its ability to nourish itself has been taken away. According to a poll on Angie’s List, most homeowners resort to tree topping as a way to prevent storm damage, but this assumption is wrong. Topped trees wouldn’t stand up well to a storm, which may cause them to inevitably fall down onto whatever is immediately under it and endanger lives as well as damage properties in the process.

Proper tree pruning in San Jose and elsewhere yields a lot of benefits in the long run. Sure, it can be done thru DIY, but only if an individual is skilled enough for the work. Inexperienced homeowners, however, should always leave the job to capable professionals to achieve desirable results.

(Source: Horticulture News: Tree Topping Dangerous for Trees and Even People, Frankfort, KY State Journal, June 7, 2014)