You might be killing your trees without knowing!
Have you ever heard of the pruning technique called Topping? It is the forceful cutting of tree branches to stubs so they are unable to function as limbs and branches. Topping is completely misunderstood to be an effective way of pruning a tree, and it actually has the opposite effect causing your tree to get sick, look terrible, unable to grow back limbs and even die.
You may have heard topping be referred to as heading, tipping, hat-racketing and rounding over. All of these terms have the same wounding effect on trees!
Some of the reasons why someone will choose to top a tree is due to it being oversized, too tall, too wide, blocking a view or perhaps you may feel some limbs have become unsafe. In fact, topping a tree can make your tree more unsafe.
Have a read below to discover the devastating effects topping can cause to your beautiful trees.
- 1) Your trees become stressed
I know it may seem outlandish to say trees can become stressed, but it’s a true and saddening fact! Leaves are the food factories of trees, therefore once they have been chopped off along with limbs and branches, a tree simply famishes. On top of this starvation reaction a tree with try and save itself by producing dormant buds which causes the chopped branches to suddenly be covered in new growth. This may appear to be a good sign, although if the tree does not have enough energy left to repair and grow after this reaction, it could die.
- 2) Topping can result in Decay and Sunburn
Here lies the vast difference between pruning and topping. When a tree is pruned, the massive branches are not chopped, instead the smaller limbs are cut just beyond the branch collar allowing the tree to heal this cut easily. When a large and wide branch is topped, the tree cannot heal over such a large wound. This leads to decay which in time, can slowly spread through out the tree. Also without it’s leaves and upper foliage, a tree will become sunburnt due to the high levels of heat and light it will ensure without a protective layer of leaves. This can result in cankers, bark splitting and death of branches.
- 3) Your tree will become unsightly
A tree naturally grows up and out because it is trying to get as much sun as possible. Hence why leaves are at the top of a tree and not the bottom, they absorb the sunlight. When the top of a tree’s limbs and leaves are chopped, it cannot function properly. Although the tree tries to revert back it’s natural form, after being topped, it will never be able to grow the same again and will always look disfigured and unnatural.
Most trees take at least 10 – 30 years to grow to full size. If you choose to top a tree, all of it’s hard work growing would be put to waste. Stay tuned for Dickies upcoming blog where you can discover Topping alternatives that won’t hurt your trees.
Give us a call and we’ll whack it on the head with a Dickie!