TREE TOPPING DOES MORE HARM THAN GOOD
Some Edwardsville homeowners aren't aware that tree topping is an incorrect pruning technique that does more harm than good to trees. The practice of tree topping has many detrimental long and short term effects and often leads to the death of the tree.
Tree topping involves drastically cutting back large tree branches, resulting in stubbed off branch ends throughout the canopy of the tree. Oftentimes multiple new branches will sprout up where a topping cut has been made. Although this may look like a healthy result of tree topping, in actuality the sprouts are weakly attached and become more hazardous as they become larger.
Branch stubs from tree topping never heal correctly and are prime targets for decay pockets and infection by decay fungi. This increases the likelihood of any resprouted branches eventually breaking off in a storm.
If a tree resprouts from tree topping the growth usually develops quicker than normal growth. While the succulent new growth may look healthy in reality it is more attractive to insect pests than normal tree growth would be. Tree borers may also be attracted to the large number of fresh topping cuts on a tree.
Trees grow as balanced organisms. The roots supply water and nutrients from the soil and the leaves produce sugars that the tree uses as food. Some trees that are topped are never able to recover once this system is thrown out of balance. The decline may be gradual, eventually ending in the death of the tree.
As for aesthetics, topping simply disfigures a tree. Trees that have been topped develop a broom-like appearance that doesn't have the beauty and natural form of a tree that has been properly pruned.
Many times tree topping is considered because a tree has outgrown the space where it was planted. The best way to avoid having to top a tree is to plant the right tree in the right space. It may be best to remove a tree that has outgrown its space and plant a tree species that won't outgrow its planting location. Trees that will grow in Edwardsville and mature at a height less than 25 feet include:
- Amur Maple
- Fringe Tree
- Japanese Maple
- Japanese Lilac Tree
- Kousa Dogwood
- Serviceberry (tree-form)
- Star Magnolia
- Tatarian Maple
- Trident Maple
- Weeping Cherry
- Weeping Crabapple
- Weeping Mulberry
- Weeping Pine
- Weeping Spruce