Why Topping Hurts Trees?

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Why Topping Hurts Trees

Trees are believed to be some of the oldest living items on the planet. While they are not immortal they can certainly live incredibly long lives.

But, that doesn’t change the fact that they have a place. A tree that looks stunning in the garden can still become overgrown or too tall. Trimming trees is really a job for a professional tree arborist Sydney. This is because there are safety concerns involved when climbing into any tree, large or small. You also need to consider the damage that you can do to the tree.

That’s why you need to understand tree topping properly.

What is Tree Topping?

As the name suggests it simply means removing a section from the top of the tree. It’s the easiest way to reduce the height of a tree, although not necessarily the best approach.

When a tree is topped the top piece is removed and the stubs that are left are not big enough to support new growth, making the tree topping a permanent feature.

It is worth noting that tree topping hurts all trees abut some are better at recovering from it than others.

Why Tree Topping Hurts

Removing the top of the tree means removing a large percentage of the leaves on a tree. You may be surprised to learn that at least 50% of the leaves of a tree are at the top.

Leaves attract sunlight and insects, helping the tree to get the nutrients it needs to survive, they don’t all come from the soil. If the top is removed and the number of leaves dramatically diminished the tree may not have enough nutrients in reserve to survive and flourish.

The tree will become immediately stressed and send out lots of shoots to create new leaves, these leaves are dependent on the stored energy in the tree if that’s not present they won’t appear and the stress caused to the tree is likely to be terminal.

Infections and Decay

Another issue with topping is that you’ll be removing some large branches. This creates a large wound that is exposed to insects and air-borne bacteria. The wound can become infected, the larger the wound the greater the risk of infection.

Of course, an infection will deplete the tree’s reserves even further. If it doesn’t have enough chemicals in reserve to fight the infection then the tree will become diseased and die.

It’s worth noting that some insects are attuned to the chemical signals given off by trees. They will know that the tree is weakened and specifically target them.

Sun Damage

You may not think of trees getting sun damage but the simple truth is that they can! When you remove the top where the majority of the leaves are, you’re allowing more light into the rest of the tree. This extra light can carry heat that will actually burn branches. These branches are not used to the direct effect of the sun.

The result is splitting bark, cankers, and even dead branches.

It’s better to get the professionals to trim the tree for you, reducing the risk of losing the tree.