Salem Tree Care Practices
In years past, topping was often regarded as an effective way to control the growth of a problematic tree. However, it’s been proven that topping should actually be avoided because it not only weakens a tree but causes it to become unstable, creating unsafe conditions while increasing its overall maintenance. That’s why Westcoast Tree Care would like to provide you with the following information about topping as well as some preventative tree care alternatives to this outdated practice.
Tree topping is when the top of a tree is cut off, reducing it’s remaining top branches to stumps. As a result, topping leaves a tree weak with unstable limbs and a bare, unnatural appearance. Furthermore, topping a tree will leave it more prone to breaking and overall failure that can potentially cause unwanted property damage or harm to those nearby. While many homeowners feel that topping is a good way to handle the height of an overgrown tree, it is a very unsafe method of height reduction and actually increases future risk.
Tree Topping Dangers
Topping eliminates up to 50-100% of the crown of a tree. While this may sound like it will save you time and maintenance raking leaves, removing them will actually starve a tree which will trigger a number of survival instincts. As an alternative to starving, a tree may activate its dormant buds, forcing the growth of multiple shoots below each cut. Even worse, a stressed tree with large, open wounds due to topping is much more vulnerable to disease and insect infestation.
When you hire a certified arborist to prune a tree, they will make cuts just beyond the collar of a branch at the point of attachment. Why? A tree is then capable of closing this type of wound as long as its healthy and the wound isn’t too large. However, cuts due to topping create stubs that a tree will struggle to close. This, in turn, will cause the exposed tissues of a tree to decay while giving nasty organisms like bacteria, fungi, and insects the ability to move down the branches and cause additional damage.
Just as we get sunburned without adequate protection like clothes and sunscreen, a tree without leaves to absorb sunlight can be burned. When the leaves of a tree are removed due to topping, the remaining branches and trunk will become exposed to higher levels of heat and light. This can result in the sunburn of tissues beneath the bark causing cankers, splitting, and the death of certain branches.
Take a moment to think about the beauty trees provide. Not only are trees unique with their own colors, shapes, and sizes, each share the goal of exposing their leaves to the sun. Topping a tree, however, removes the ends of the branches of a tree, leaving behind unsightly stubs. This completely destroys the aesthetic appeal of a trees natural form resulting in an ugly appearance. Without its leaves and branches, a topped tree appears mutilated and disfigured. Furthermore, a topped tree will never regain its full natural form.
Alternatives to Topping
Now that we’ve covered the dangers of tree topping, it’s important to understand some Salem tree care alternatives to maintain the health and safety of a tree.
Starting from the ground up, a certified arborist will prune and remove lower branches at a level that will make a tree looked balanced and not top heavy. As a healthy alternative to tree topping, skirting removes lower branches that use less energy making a tree more capable of handling bigger cuts.
Windowing removes branches from the trunk of a tree to help frame a desired view. During this process, the branches located above and below the “window” are left intact.
Thinning is done by selectively pruning branches to reduce crown density. By keeping the overall shape of a tree intact, thinning allows wind to easily pass through the crown, increasing durability while keeping a tree structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing.
If a tree has become hazardous due to declining health, landscape renovations, disease or even storm damage, you may want to consider a tree removal service. A certified arborist can assess the health and stability of a tree and provide you with safe, and efficient solutions.
How Westcoast Tree Care Can Help
When it comes to tree care services, no company performs higher quality work than the professionals at Westcoast Tree Care. As a premier Salem tree care company, our methods are always in accordance with ISA practices, so you never have to worry about the safety and beauty of a tree being compromised. When you contact us, we will do everything we can to trim or prune a tree so that it can continue to thrive. If you would like to learn more, contact us at 1.800.767.8733 or fill out our form online. We would be more than happy to assess the trees on your property and provide you with a no-cost, no-obligation quote.