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Tree Topping

Tree Topping

One pruning practice that should never be used is tree topping. Topping is done in an attempt to control height or size, to prevent trees from growing into overhead power lines, to allow more light onto a property or to prevent a tall tree from potentially topping into a building.

Topped trees are ugly, weak, and hazardous. A tree can be killed by the tress of losing so much of its photosynthetic growth, or by the gaping, slow-to-heal wounds that are vulnerable to attack by insects and wood-rotting fungi. The heart-wood of a topped tree rots out quickly, resulting in a weak trunk. The crotches on new growth also tend to be weak. Topped tress, therefore, are susceptible to storm damage and blowdown. Hazards, aside, topping trees spoils the aesthetic value of the tree and of the landscape it is growing in.

Excerpt from "Tree & Shrub Gardening for Ohio" by Fred Hower and Alison Beck. Available for purchase here.

When To Plant