There are many reasons why people choose to plant trees on their property, which include to improve the appearance of the landscape and to provide shade. It's often necessary for homeowners to contact a tree service to trim their trees, care for diseased trees and to remove trees. We aren't affiliated with tree service professionals but we think homeowners should understand the importance of tree specialists and why their services are needed. We researched tree care and talked to professionals in the tree service industry to obtain the information we needed for this blog. As you read these articles, you'll learn when it's necessary to contact a tree service to maintain and care for your trees.
When residential property owners decide they want professional tree trimming service, they may have some ideas about how this should be done. There are some forms of trimming that many tree service technicians and arborists will not do, even at a customer's request. One is a practice known as topping, in which the upper part of the crown is cut off.
Why Customers Request Topping
Property owners might request topping if they are worried about the tree growing too tall. It might be nearing power lines. The owners fear that the tree could blow over in a storm and land on the house. It might simply look awkward in the yard because of its dramatic overgrowth compared with the other trees.
Problems With Topping
Dramatic Reduction in Photosynthesis
This type of trimming is only temporarily effective, and it causes serious damage. The tree quickly develops an enormous number of small shoots on the upper branches, sending those shoots several feet upward. This happens because so much leaf cover has suddenly disappeared, abruptly reducing the amount of photosynthesis taking place. The process of photosynthesis converts sunlight to organic compounds for nutrition along with oxygen.
The tree essentially senses it is starving for the nutrition that was being generated. It responds with those new branches on which leaves will grow. This response may fail to keep the tree alive, with the plant dying from malnutrition within a year.
A Weaker Structure
If the tree survives, it will be much weaker. The small branches are not connected to the trunk, and their growth from the limbs is unstable. They have no strong anchor.
Producing those branches requires a significant amount of resources, which makes the entire structure weaker. The new branches can become relatively large, but their unhealthy growth pattern has made them more susceptible to breaking. The tree is vulnerable to being seriously damaged by wind, something the owners were trying to prevent. Also, within a few years, the tree will be as tall as it was previously.
This has a substantial negative effect on the aesthetic quality. The abnormal growth makes it look unusual and disfigured. The issue is very noticeable.
Tree service technicians can advise their customers how best to manage this problem. Tree removal may be the most reasonable option. Although this can be distressing for the property owners, damaging the tree by cutting the top off is not the solution.