The Truth on Topping Trees

The Truth on Topping Trees


What is tree topping?

Topping a tree is the process of cutting the main stem and most, if not all, of the canopy. Vastly reducing the trees' size while leaving it looking ugly and unnatural.


Why get you tree topped?

The only valid reason to top a tree is to remove branches that are in the way of power lines or other objects.


The disadvantages of topping?

  • Destroys the natural beauty of a tree

  • Increases risk of decay, disease, and insect infestation

  • Promotes weak limb growth

  • Promotes fast growth of new shoots (water sprouts)

  • Heavily impacts natural nutrients

  • Increased odds of tree death

  • Costs more in the long run for future treatments, trimmings, or removal

  • Topped trees can drop property value by as much as 15%


What to do instead.

  • Plant appropriate trees – Make sure when planning your trees/landscape to take note of any areas that a tree might outgrow. Then choose a tree that will not grow tall enough to cause an issue or put the tree in an area that won't be a problem.

  • Talk to a Certified Arborist* – A professional will never suggest tree topping. An arborist will inspect the tree and see if there is a way to thin the canopy or trim branches without compromising its health and beauty.

  • Remove the tree/s – If nothing else can be done it will be more cost-efficient just to remove the tree now. Topping a tree can lead to more costs in the future.


Topping myths.

  • Topping a tree will control size – Topping a tree will promote new shoots to grow rapidly to try and replace nutrients. These growth spurts can be faster than the trees' natural growth.

  • Topping will make the tree safer – A topped tree will not heal properly, which allows access for disease, decay, and insects to invade the tree. Making it unsafe. As well as all the new growth being much weaker than the original branches, leading to a higher chance of limbs falling off.

  • Topping a tree is cheaper than removal – In the short run yes. But, as you can see this unhealthy practice can lead to a lot more issues that will start piling up and costing you more money.



Tree topping is a practice that should be avoided at all costs. Many non-professional companies try to push this option as it is cheaper and you are more likely to go with the cost-efficient option. They try to push this with no care for future problems or the trees' overall health. The best option is to talk to a Certified arborist. They will be able to help you find alternative measures.

You can also help avoid this by making sure to keep this a factor when choosing your landscape design and where you plant trees. Make sure to keep trees away from power lines and plant trees that will not grow taller than you want. Topping trees will only lead to more issues down the road. All while leaving your trees looking unnatural and ugly.


*JoJac's has a certified arborist to help you properly care for your trees.



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