Tree topping a recipe for disaster

Though a spin through nearly every neighborhood in the area shows that tree topping is a common practice, some local arborist can’t find a good reason for a person to have their trees topped. Once the top branches have been removed, the tree continues to grow in an unhealthy way, requiring even more attention by way of trimming and pruning, putting houses, cars, property and anyone who might pass below the tree in danger.

Because maintenance is frequent, and the health of the tree continues to decline, it will eventually die, not being able to thrive as untouched trees do.

Topping a tree removes much of the leaf coverage on the plant, hindering its ability to produce and process its food. This makes the tree go into its reserves, which negatively affects its health and this deterioration can be seen on the bark.

An unhealthy tree is also unable to repair its wounds, causing large scale decay of the tree because it can’t produce the energy to repair as needed. With the leaves removed, the tree is also often susceptible to sunburn on bark that is used to having coverage. This will weaken the bark and the tree, often resulting in dead branches that can be a danger.

Trying to produce itself more branches and leaves to improve its overall health, a tree will produce new shoots and branches, but they aren’t to the same strength and quality as the originals and also become hazardous. These shoots grow more rapidly than they do soundly and often need to be cut back more frequently than their predecessors. This is expensive maintenance, as well as increasing the chance of a dead limb falling on whatever is below.

We dont blame the property owners’ ignorance as much as the social pressure and pressure from tree toppers who are looking to make extra money.

The numbers just don’t add up in our estimation. Trees on a person’s property can account for around 10-15-percent of a property’s value, but people are often quick to pay someone $800 to service their trees. After years of the decay and decline of the tree, the overall cost to the property owner can be upward of $5,000. If you explain it like that, some people will understand.

City Arborist staff are very educated in this regard and exercises extreme caution in regards to tree topping. We are one of the most reputable and educated tree experts in bay area.