Why Tree Topping is Harmful

And What to do Instead


Your tree looks like it needs a little trimming, so you decide to take a little off the top. It doesn’t look even, so you take a little more. Next thing you know most of the top is gone, and it’s in worse shape than before. Whether done on purpose or not, tree topping is not good for your tree. Learn more about what it is and what to do instead.

What is Tree Topping

Exactly what it sounds like. Cutting the top of a tree off. When all that’s left up top is branch stumps, you’re left with a weaker tree with unstable limbs and an unnatural appearance. In this state, your tree is more of a safety hazard.

So why do people do it? Those who don’t know how to properly prune a tree may look at its current height and decide it’s too close to electrical wires, or it’s hanging over their roof, or the top branches sway too much in a storm and they want to prevent damage. While these are all legitimate concerns, there are better ways of pruning a tree.

Why It’s Harmful

Other than the bare appearance, tree topping is very unhealthy for a tree. You’re not only removing branches, you’re removing leaves, which takes away a vital food source. The shorter limbs are more prone to decay, insects, and disease. In order to overcompensate, the tree is forced to grow new limbs fast, which are still likely to be too weak to handle storms. Plus, these new branches will eventually grow back to the original height you were trying to prevent.

Pruning Alternatives

Before you even plant a tree, stand in the spot you want it to grow and look up. Are there any structures or power lines that will eventually get in the way? Better go with a different spot then. Pruning a tree correctly will also help keep it healthy. If you’re not sure how, contact the specialists at Elite Tree Care to ask how to safely shorten your tree.

Tree Pruning Guide

Download Your FREE Tree Pruning Guide

Learn how, when, and how much to trim or prune your trees to maximize their health and beauty. This guide covers the factors that go into tree trimming (pruning) and will help you make a more informed decision about hiring a professional tree service.