Tree Canopy

Why Topping Trees Is a Bad Practice

Trees are some of the world’s oldest living organisms and a key aesthetic for many of today’s home properties. From paper to lumber, trees offer a wide variety of resources, and in recent years, trees have become an integral part of the landscape value of many homes.

However, many homeowners consider trees a hazard, especially during storms. Some resort to topping trees to resolve their problems. This article covers the truth behind tree topping and why you should never do it.

What is Tree Topping?

Topping is the haphazard way of cutting the tops of mature trees, turning the tree’s top branches into stubs. Oftentimes, topping is also called ‘heading’, ‘tipping’, ‘stubbing’, or ‘rounding over’. One of the biggest reasons homeowners top trees is to reduce the threats they may pose during storms. Another is to stop trees from interfering with running electrical wires. Others do this to enhance the view from their properties.

Whatever the reason may be, it doesn’t change the fact that topping trees is inefficient. It is ineffective in lessening both the tree’s height and potential risks. Contrary to popular belief, stubbing treetops only increases risk in the long run.

Effects of Topping Trees

Topping trees can cast negative effects on the trees on your property. It’s best to steer clear of topping your trees to avoid these outcomes. Here are some of the effects of this tree cutting method that make it a huge “no-go” for any trees on your property.


When you stub the top of your trees, you are stripping away its ability to make food to sustain itself. Because of the lack of foliage, photosynthesis becomes difficult. This results in starvation. During this time, the roots stop growing makeing the transport of nutrients and water to the leaves more complicated. Starving the tree reduces its lifespan.


Most people do not recognize that plants can become stressed. When you give a tree a sudden cut, more so on its topmost areas, they undergo some shock. It will then respond to the stress by growing shoots or suckers near the exterior of the old branches. Normal branches develop out of overlying wood tissues. However, these new suckers or shoots are weak. They can only attach themselves to the outermost layers of the parent branches. Because of this, they are more prone to breaking.


The dense foliage serves as the trees’ natural protection from direct sunlight. When you take out this canopy, the tree’s bark will get sudden exposure to high levels of light and heat. This will cause the tissues beneath the bark to get sunburned.

The sunburnt tissues of the tree bark can cause cankers or bark splitting. In worst cases, it can even cause branch death.

Weak Limbs

When you stub the top of the trees, it forces itself to make a quick growth of new limbs from the larger, cut branches. Because of the fast development it had to undergo, these new limbs or branches are weaker. They also only attach themselves to the parent branches. Because of this, these limbs are often unable to withstand storms or heavy rain. Many people resort to tree topping to avoid or lessen the threats during calamities. However, tree topping only increases the chances of branches falling.

Diseases and Decay

The stubs that remain after topping trees rarely close or undergo proper healing. This puts the tree at risk of many types of tree diseases. Not only that, but the open wounds are also a huge invitation sign for the spreading of decay fungi. When decay becomes present in the tree’s limb, cutting it will only speed up the decaying route.


The result of topped trees is inevitable. Whether you like it or not, when the tree starts growing back, it will be anything but pretty. Because of the round-over method, the tree’s natural branching structure changes. This will cause the formation of dense balls of foliage. Not to mention, topping trees will only destroy the tree’s natural form. This makes it look mutilated and disfigured.

Lower Home Property Value

When you have topped your trees, it begins to grow back to a mutilated lump of lumber and leaves. A big opposite to its original regal-looking state. It’s best to be aware that it will reduce the value of your property. Like any well-maintained landscape, trees are a great addition to your home’s property value.

Professional landscape appraisers can deduct hundreds of dollars from your property because of a topped tree. They can do it by following certain landscape appraiser guidelines. Worst of all, it may not only be your property that gets the brunt of it but your neighbors’ too.

Tree Topping vs Tree Pruning: The Best Way to Do It

There is no good thing that can come out of tree topping. Understand that there are many alternatives to topping your trees. Those won’t put them into permanent harm. One of the best alternatives is pruning your trees. Pruning is a great way to maintain your trees without having to sacrifice their health. A good tree-pruning can also increase your tree’s appraisal and home property value.

If you think your trees need a good trimming, be sure to contact the best tree service available. It’s best to check their reviews before thinking of availing of their services.

Why You Should Avoid Topping Trees

If you’re feeling conflicted about the trees on your property, don’t resort to tree topping! Having your trees topped will not only affect the health of the trees, but the long-term effects can be damaging, irreparable, and even costly.

Are you looking for better alternatives to topping trees? That’s where we come in. Contact us today to find out the best alternatives for your tree concerns.