- Author: Brenda Altman
Ouch! Recently when I looked out my bedroom window I was shocked when I saw this tree with overly excessive pruning cuts. I don't know why this drastic type of pruning was needed for this tree. Perhaps the landowner was fed up with raking the leaves in the fall, or maybe the tree was blocking the light to a newly planted garden. Nonetheless, tree topping is rarely a solution.
The tree now reacts to the loss of leaves by going into an accelerated growth phase. The tree will use its stored energy to create new branches and leaves. There will be many new weak branches sprouting from just beneath the cuts. The use of the stored energy will leave the tree vulnerable to infection and stresses. Stored reserves in drought times may have to be used to grow new roots, now the tree cancels new root growth for new leaf growth. The pruning cuts are not in areas the tree can readily form bark to seal off the wound. Each cut is an open gateway for rot, disease and insect infestation. Stressed trees slowly recover and tree life maybe shortens its lifespan.
The new growth resulting from these cuts will be prolific and now there may be even more leaves to rake than before. In addition, all these new branches will have weak attachments to the tree and in a strong wind storm might break off causing damage to cars and other objects below. If this tree's weak branches were to fall and damage someone else's property the tree owner could be held liable for those damages
Tree topping is not tree pruning. In fact, many local municipalities have ordinances that regulate tree pruning within the city limits. The National Arbor Day Foundation recommends: “Don't top trees and never remove more than 1/3 of a tree's crown.” Consult your local city ordinances before topping or removing a tree. In Vallejo. “Per the Tree Ordinance, in most cases, residents are responsible for the maintenance of trees located on their property.” “Tree trimming and tree removal permit may be required.”
Consult a certified arborist on how to prune your trees. Tree topping is not an answer.