As trees grow and reach heights which many consider to be unsafe, tree owners would often top their trees by reducing the tree size. This is by heading back most of the large, live branches from the tree. However, topping trees proves to be more damaging than beneficial.
Topping trees can cause decay, weak branch attachments, and an increased likelihood of failure. If we do not top our trees and leave them to develop naturally, the structural strength of the trees is stronger than those that are not topped. The extensive root system, when left undisturbed, provides adequate support for the trees.
This publication titled What’s Wrong with Topping goes in-depth on the implications of topping and provides better alternatives to topping.
To view other urban forestry publications and video resources, check out Purdue Extension’s The Education Store website.
Planting Your Tree Part 1: Choosing Your Tree, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel
Tree Planting Part 2: Planting a Tree, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel
Tree Selection for the “Un-natural” Environment, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Tree Installation: Process and Practices, The Education Store
Tree Pruning Essentials, The Education Store
Tree Pruning Essentials Video, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel
Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forestry Specialist
Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources