Tree Topping vs Tree Trimming

Tree topping and tree lopping, or the outright removal of the tree's upper canopy is certainly an effective pruning method—in the short term. It's a relatively inexpensive way of reducing the tree's height, and its effectiveness (along with the cost) can make it an appealing choice when a tree's growth has become unruly. However, here are a few reasons to look into tree trimming instead.

Horizontal Line

Tree topping is never performed for the aesthetics of the tree's growth. The cut is made at a horizontal line at a predetermined height in the tree. The results are not particularly attractive. Instead of using a contractor who only performs tree topping, arrange for professional tree trimming, which is far more precise and is better for the health of the tree (not to mention its appearance).

Uneven Removal

Trees need foliage to perform photosynthesis. When a large proportion of their foliage is removed unevenly, the tree will attempt to compensate. In the weeks and months after topping, a tree can produce a considerable number of what are called epicormic shoots. These shoots are the tree's attempts to replace its lost foliage and are not strongly attached to the tree's trunk and branches. 

Fragile Connection

Because of their fragile connection to the rest of the tree, epicormic shoots can fall very easily. Depending on the size of their growth, falling shoots may cause injury. At the very least, a multitude of fallen epicormic shoots can make your yard far less tidy than it was before the tree was topped. Additionally, there's the unpleasant appearance of topped trees which you're now left with. And because the topping was performed without any regard for the tree's ongoing health, the tree's sapwood and cambium cell layer can be exposed. Trimming avoids this issue.

Sustainable Minimum

Sapwood transports hydration throughout the tree, and cambium cells regulate new growth. Proper tree pruning ensures that larger branches are not removed, but reduced. This keeps any sapwood or cambium cell layer exposure to a sustainable minimum and doesn't create wounds in the bark capable of causing any real damage. When there are overt wounds in the tree bark, the tree is vulnerable to fungal infections—and overt wounds are all too easy when the tree has been bluntly topped. 

A professional tree services company or arborist will evenly trim a tree's canopy and outer branches, allowing the tree to retain an appealing appearance and its health—simply making it a more practical size.

To learn more, contact a tree trimming service in your area.