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Why is Topping Trees Harmful?

Trees are not like bushes, they contain different vascular systems. Topping trees by cutting off the top to reshape may be tempting but will end up causing tree damage.

If you remove the top of the tree, the leaves that were cut cannot pull sap up the tree. Bushes are short enough to pull up what they need from surrounding leaves and support, but the height of trees is too far from the ground to rely on similar support.

Instead of topping, Southern Arbor Source recommends our pruning service for a healthier result.

Proper Pruning Cuts

Southern Arbor Source is proud to be certified as part of the International Society of Arborists. It is our job to know about the best cuts for your trees.

One common cut is a Crown Reduction Cut. In the event that you have to cut around the top of the tree, whether it be from power lines, a Crown Reduction Cut can be an appropriate substitute for topping.

A Crown Reduction Cut involves cutting a branch that has a twin branch next to it that can take on its job. The rule being that the diameter of the uncut branch must be at least 50% or bigger of the one that you cut. This allows for sap flow to reroute.

Crown thinning will allow for light to seep through and thins overlapping or extra branches that make the tree look messy.

Crown Lifting removes the bottom areas of the tree to a specified height. Lower hanging branches can be trimmed.

Tree Root Plates

In the scenario you have to dig around a tree, it it important to know that there are maximum root plate distances. Cutting too close to tree on the ground will remove many of the trees roots, inhibiting its ability to feed.