To control canopy growth and stop roots from causing havoc in their yards, homeowners have been topping their trees. Some people are under the false impression that topping trees makes them safer. In reality, topping creates structural problems that will weaken a tree over time. Here are 5 reasons why Growing Earth Tree Care will not top your trees.
Stops Photosynthesis and Sprouts Suckers
The first reason why we don’t top trees, is that trees use leaf surface areas to photosynthesize sunlight to produce the food and energy they need. When you remove a large area of leaves, it inhibits photosynthesis and threatens the tree’s health. In a desperate attempt to feed itself, the tree sprouts suckers that grow three times as fast but have only one-third the strength of normal branches.
Creates Wounds, Rot and Harbors Insects
Flat-topping cuts produce brutal wounds that never properly close, which allows water to pool. It also allows decay and insects to attack the tree from the top down. The central rotting process begins within each growth ring. The situation becomes increasingly more dangerous as new growth above the decayed area gets heavier. High winds and heavy snow often break these weak branches.
Makes Trees Weaker
Many topped trees will die. Those that don’t, suffer structural damage that makes them more likely to lose limbs and branches during winter snow, summer storms, and high winds.
Creates Faster Root Growth
Root growth is not slowed by tree topping. In fact, it can make roots grow faster causing more risk to your property. If you are concerned about damage to foundations, sidewalks, driveways, pipes, and so forth, ask a Certified Arborist about proper root training and pruning.
My Tree Has Been Topped, Now What?
If your tree has already been topped, it should be examined by a certified arborist to determine the best course of action. If the tree can be saved, the arborist can use remedial measures, such as correcting the topping cuts.
Healing the Wounds
A tree wound triggers a reaction that signals the tree to form boundaries around the wounded area. This is called compartmentalization of decay in trees, and it is the tree’s first line of defense against decay and insect infestation. When topping cuts have been properly corrected, the tree forms a cambium ring that closes around the wounds. This helps the tree in defending against decay and insect infestation.
Tree Crown Restoration
Crown restoration can improve the look and structure of a topped tree. Selected sprouts on each main branch stub are chosen to become the permanent branches. These sprouts will eventually form a more natural-looking crown. Restoration will usually take years and may require frequent pruning to be effective.
If the height or spread of a tree has to be decreased, crown reduction may help solve the problem. Limbs are cut back to laterals that are at least one-third the size of the parent branch. This will maintain the structural integrity and natural form of the tree. It will also delay the next pruning. Another solution is to apply a plant-growth regulator.
If you have concerns about a tree that is growing too high or close to your home, contact a Certified Arborist from Growing Earth Tree Care. We can inspect your tree, assess its health, and make recommendations like reducing its crown or pruning.
Of course, it’s always better to avoid problems in the first place by planting the right tree in the right location.