There are many dangers to tree topping. From discouraging new growth to creating potential hazards, topping is the wrong way to prune trees. Trinity Tree Services, Inc., based in Beckley, West Virginia, educates homeowners about tree topping so they can learn about its negative impacts and begin pruning their trees the right way.
Tree Topping- A Bad Practice
Tree Topping is the most harmful type of tree-pruning practice. It remains a common practice despite 25 years of education and training in the tree care industry by professional organizations, such as the Tree Care Industry Association, the International Society of Arboriculture, university research teams, state departments of agriculture, national and state forestry services, and local garden clubs.
Unfortunately, untrained tree care companies promote this horrendous type of maintenance for your beautiful and majestic specimens of Creation. That is why Trinity encourages clients to educate themselves before letting anyone touch their trees.
“Pruning is the single best ‘investment’ a property owner or community can make to ensure the survival and lengthen the life span of their trees,” according to Peter Gerstenberger, senior advisor for safety, standards and compliance for the Tree Care Industry Association. However, pruning performed incorrectly can damage or even kill your valuable tree.
Pruning is much more than the simple act of sawing off limbs. Proper pruning is an art based on scientific principles of plant physiology. At its most basic level, pruning trees involves removing damaged, dead or structurally weak limbs, which will improve a tree’s health and reduce the chances of personal or property damage caused by falling limbs.
Professional arborists have the capability to make the tree safer and more attractive by pruning live growth as well. Proper pruning encourages growth, increases flower and fruit production, improves plant health, repairs damage and helps add esthetic appeal to a tree. Pruning at the right time and in the right way is critical, since it is possible to kill a tree through neglect or over-pruning.
Pruning objectives should be established prior to beginning any pruning operation. ANSI A300 provides two basic objectives.
A) Hazard Reduction Pruning
Hazard reduction pruning (HRP) is recommended when the primary objective is to reduce the danger to a specific target caused by visibility defined hazards in a tree.
B) Maintenance Pruning
Maintenance pruning (MP) is recommended when the primary objective is to maintain or improve tree health and structure, and includes hazard reduction pruning.
Hazard reduction pruning and maintenance pruning should consist of one or more of the pruning types noted below.
- Crown Reduction, or Crown Shipping – Alternative to Topping…. Crown Reduction decreases the height and/or spread of a tree. Consideration should be given to the ability of a species to sustain this type of pruning.
- Crown cleaning…. Crown cleaning shall consist of the selective removal of one or more of the following items: dead, dying, or diseased branches, weak branches and waterspouts.
- Crown thinning…. Crown thinning shall consist of the selective removal of branches to increase light penetration, air movement, and reduce weight.
- Crown raising…. Crown raising shall consist of the removal of the lower branches of a tree to provide clearance.
- Vista Pruning… Vista Pruning is selective thinning of framework limbs or specific areas of the crown to allow a view of an object from a predetermined point.
- Crown Restoration… Crown Restoration pruning should improve the structure, form and appearance of trees which have severely headed, vandalized, or storm damaged.