Thursday, September 10, 2009

Anti-Tree-Toppers, Unite!

"Can you believe what they did to me?"

I had never really seen the practice of tree topping before. That is, until I moved to California. It's absolutely rampant here! At first, I thought maybe there is some really good (and secret) reason that people do this. As it turns out, there's NOT!

The Arbor Day Foundation and many other reliable resources clearly spell out that tree topping in neither good for the trees, nor effective for the purposes that people are trying to achieve.

I feel so sad to look at topped trees. Some people in our neighborhood recently decided to cut off all of the leaves on their Magnolia tree (photo above). Why? Seriously, why did they do that?!

Some people top trees for fear they are getting too large. In fact, the topping process tend to create a surge of bushy growth from several growing points. Down the road, the topped tree may be even larger than if it had not been topped in the first place.
Proper pruning can remove excessive growth without the problems topping creates.

My Top 8 reasons to avoid tree topping:

8. Topping starves the tree

7. Topping a tree will NOT reduce storm damage, instead it likely increases storm damage

6. Topped trees can decrease your property value

5. Topping Stresses Trees (increased susceptibility to insects and disease)

4. Topping Causes Decay

3. Topping Creates Hazards (shoots that form at new growing points are not anchored securely)

2. Topping Is Expensive

1. Topping Makes Trees Ugly

And the "Ugly" isn't over when (if) new branches grow. It will continue to look unnatural...forever.

I think Jim McCausland said it best in a blog post for Sunset Magazine:
Tree topping is usually evil, always expensive, rarely effective, and dependably ugly.


Online Tree Topping Resources


Anonymous said...

I've never understood it either. I don't think it's even beautiful. The other thing they do here is plant trees directly under telephone wires. Why? Because when the tree gets to be 20 feet, they have to lop it off so it doesn't cut into the wire. Another weird practice I don't get.

Red Studio said...

I wholeheartedly agree. There is nothing more ghastly than a tree with the center removed for utility lines. There are plenty of small trees to choose from.

Liz said...

Hmmm, I have never heard of Tree topping, but I have to agree... What's the pont? I don't understand why some one would want a bare tree, is that not rendering the point of having a tree redundant? Might as well cut it down!

Jackie said...

I'm preachin' to the choir, I guess ;) Wonder how I could get the message to the people who need it...without making them angry.

Helen said...

Oh, I'm with you, Jackie. Seeing this happen makes me want to go up to the door and rant at the toppers. But that's closing the barn door after the horse escapes, sadly.