Trees are a vital part of our urban neighborhoods and should be cared for, but often they are seriously harmed with bad pruning practices. Have you ever seen this? It’s called “topping” or “whacking,” and it’s all too common.
Topping, heading, tipping or rounding-over all refer to the practice of cutting off branches or trunks without consideration, leaving stubs where branches once grew. Not only is this unattractive and ugly, it also weakens the tree. Radical pruning like this forces the tree to grew back quickly to replace leaves. The rapid growth results in weaker tissue and, ultimately, the new growth is not as well attached to the tree, making it susceptible to breakage in strong winds.
TreePeople, a non-profit devoted to planting trees, recommends that homeowners avoid hiring tree trimmers who use this harsh method of pruning. Instead, find a knowledgable tree trimmer who will take the time to properly prune the trees, thinning branches to allow more light…but not so dramatically as to stress the tree. Arborists generally recommend pruning lightly but more often – annually is usually sufficient. Controlling the size of the leaf canopy will also help control the girth of a tree.
Take care of our urban canopy and prune carefully.