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While it certainly has its place in the tree care industry, there is a lot you should know about tree topping before you call an arborist or tree maintenance specialist.  In the simplest of terms, topping is the most radical form of pruning that is practiced today.  All too often during the fall when the leaves have fallen off most trees, you’ll see the drastic results of this practice.  What you may not understand is that tree topping drastically reduces the tree’s height and can severely damage it.


Common Misconceptions


One of the first things that a homeowner in Palo Alto needs to realize is that most arborists and tree care specialists don’t recommend tree topping.  In fact, it is oftentimes referred to as a last resort in the tree care industry and should only be done you have exhausted every other option available to you.  Unfortunately, there are some common misconceptions that would have you believe that tree topping is a smart practice.


First and foremost, it reduces the amount of “leaf fallout” that you experience – for a brief period that is.  The reality is that you are putting a tree’s life at risk when topping it.  As a result, the growth of new shoots occurs much faster and fills out more thereby leaving you with more leaves to clean up than before the tree was topped.  One of the other misconceptions is that topping decreases the risk of the tree breaking and falling over.  However, there is a greater risk of this because the tree’s weight is unbalanced.


3 Reasons You should avoid Tree Topping


While tree topping is a cheaper alternative than pruning it increases your tree care costs over time and increases the risk of permanent damage in the process.  Here are three reasons why you should avoid this practice:


·         It creates additional stress on the tree and in turn will never regain its natural beauty

·         It will cost you more to maintain the tree in the long run and will take years for pruning to help restructure the way in which the tree branches grow

·         It’s a dangerous practice in that it can spurn unnatural growth and make the tree more prone to failure


Furthermore, even if it appears that a tree is going to fall over, only a certified arborist or can determine if the structure has been weakened enough for it to fall over.  Even if you think that one of your trees needs to be topped, you should NEVER consider topping it until you have consulted with a certified professional or skilled arborist.  The safety of the tree should always be a priority and it should never be topped without considering all of the other options that are available.If you do it all on your own, it can leads to severe damage to the tree which might be irreversible.