Topping is a tree pruning method designed to manage the size and height of trees, particularly in residential areas where oversize trees can cause serious hazards to homes and property. While this method has become popular with certain companies providing tree service in West Covina and across the country, it is actually quite harmful to trees. Here’s why you should be extremely wary of any company that recommends topping as a tree service in West Covina.


Topping Starves Trees

Since topping involves lopping off all of the branches above a certain height, it removes a significant portion of a tree’s leafy crown. Without those leaves, the tree can’t convert enough sunlight into energy, and it will begin to starve. A starving tree becomes weak and vulnerable to pests, disease, and fungus. If the tree can’t replace the leaves quickly enough, it may even die.

Topping Creates Too Many Wounds

Normal pruning practices involve making just a few carefully chosen cuts that the tree can easily recover from. Topping, on the other hand, results in way too many large cuts. Trees naturally produce chemicals designed to help close and heal wounds, but if too many cuts are made, their ability to do this will suffer. Open or improperly healed wounds become vectors for disease and decay.

Topping Gives Trees Sunburn

It may be strange to think of a tree getting sunburn, but the fact is that trees rely on their leafy canopies to shade lower branches and trunks from the sun. When the leaves are suddenly removed, the tissues beneath the bark suffer from overheating and UV damage. This is especially true of thin-barked trees.

Topping Spurs Unhealthy Growth

In order to compensate for the lost canopy, topped trees send out tons of long, thin, fragile shoots. These shoots are relatively weak and unable to resist high winds or storms. When they break—and they will break—they create more wounds and place more stress on the tree.

Topping is Ugly

As if the unhealthiness of topping weren’t enough reason to avoid this unprofessional pruning method, topping is ugly too! Freshly topped trees look naked and have an awkward, stubby shape, somewhat reminiscent of a hand will all the fingers chopped off. When the tree begins to send out little shoots from all the stubs, the appearance is hardly improved. It will take a long time for the tree to recover its natural, beautiful shape after topping.

Please, for the health of your trees and the beauty of your yard, don’t choose topping as a pruning method for your trees! Instead, hire a professional tree service in West Covina staffed by qualified arborists and get the job done right.