First Aid for Your Trees, Servicing the Greater Tampa Bay Area

What is Tree Topping? And why we shouldn’t do it

Even though certified arborists and plant tree specialists commonly agree upon the fact that tree topping is both dangerous and unnecessary, this tree care procedure is still often practiced today. However, despite its continued prevalence it should be known that there are far better alternatives to gaining the benefits, one might seek from tree topping. So today, I am going to explain what tree topping is, why you shouldn’t do it, and what alternative tree care options are available.

What is tree topping?

To start we should first address the question, on everyone’s mind. What is tree topping? Tree topping is an archaic tree care technique in which the entire top of a tree is removed. This method may include the removal of large branches and/or the top portion of the tree’s trunk. The result is not only an eye sore but, an unhealthy tree.

What is the Purpose of Topping Trees?

There is an abundance of reasons for why people may choose to have their trees topped. One of the most common reasons is to reduce the height of a tree. Additionally, homeowners may elicit tree topping services for the purposes of reducing shading and wind resistance.

Height Reduction

The desire for height reduction is most often the result of a perceived, but unreal, threat. It is not unheard of for a homeowner to experience a sense of anxiousness as their tree gets larger. However, this seemingly threatening tree may not be a threat at all and topping it would only serve to make the fear a reality.

Thinning the Canopy

It is not uncommon for people to want to reduce the amount of shading in their yard, without having to completely remove the tree. Although shading is often a desirable asset of trees, an excessive amount of shading can hinder the growth of grass and other plants throughout the landscape.

Reducing Wind Resistance

It is true that a tree lacking structural integrity, where the wind can safely pass through its leaves and branches poses as a potential threat to one’s property and safety. No one wants a tree crashing through their home with a heavy gust of wind.

These may be the reasons people choose to have their trees topped but, the fact of the matter is there is NO good reason for having a tree topped.

The Real Dangers of Tree Topping

Tree topping is a dangerous and unjustifiable measure that truly creates a hazardous situation where the tree’s structural integrity and health is severely compromised. The act of tree topping increases the tree’s susceptibility to pests, diseases, decay, and sun scalding. It will also increase your tree care maintenance expenses; because the tree will require additional pruning within a couple years. Where as a healthy tree that is pruned properly only needs to be pruned ones every 5 – 7 years. In addition, due to the tree’s increased susceptibility you could be looking at the added expense of treatment intervention should the tree fall prey to pests and disease. In the event your tree should be determined to be beyond saving, you could spend thousands having it removed.

Why You Need an Arborist

There are structural pruning techniques that can be used to thin a tree’s canopy and improve its structural integrity. In addition, there are special pruning methods, such as thinning to a lateral, that can be used for reduction when necessary. So, rather than just whacking off the top of your trees, seek the expertise of a certified arborist. Your certified arborist can go over all your options and discuss what procedures they recommend, to ensure your trees remain happy, healthy and beautiful. We are available by phone 813-407-9974 or send us an email


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