This practice chops large branches back to a pre-determined limit, into stubs without sufficiently large leaf-bearing branches (also known as a “terminal leader”) nearby. Some trees decline and eventually die, or terminal ends hold moisture and rot because of periodic topping.
Topping is a temporary solution at the expense of overall tree health. Other more sustainable tree care solutions, like thinning and size reduction, could have been implemented with the same resources.
Maintenance frequency for a topped tree (to remove new weakly attached shoots) can run up to once every 3 months. In contrast, a well-managed tree can go for 3 or more years without attention.
Often, we just hire tree services with the lowest bid or a friend of a friend. Who doesn't want to save some money, right?
Problem is, poor "cheap" pruning can permanently ruin the look of your valuable trees, increase liability from decay and cause poor attachment of branches leading to personal or property damage costing you money in the future.
Fun fact, pruning over 30% of tree foliage can increase growth to a matter of months versus the standard 2-3 years. Why do companies overprune? It reduces their estimate cost by decreasing time, why not make 10-15 large cuts instead of 20-30 properly placed smaller cuts, it also guarantees them return work by expedited growth caused by the stress of improper pruning.
Certified Arborists are individuals who have achieved a level of knowledge in the art and science of tree care through experience and by passing a comprehensive examination developed by some of the nation’s leading experts on tree care. Certified Arborists must also continue their education to maintain their certification and adhere to a Code of Ethics. Therefore, they are more likely to be up to date on the latest techniques in arboriculture. (Comparable to a BS Degree)
Norcal Arborists are your only local tree service that has these credentials as an ISA Certified Arborist and provides you one at the start of every job.
Unskilled labor often removes far too many large lower branches in an effort to raise the canopy. What you end up with is a very tall bare trunk with a small amount of foliage canopy left at the top.
Limbs are subject to higher stresses if too much of its foliage and lateral growth have been removed. Trees that contain long limbs with foliage only on the tips will be more likely to break than limbs that contain many smaller, outward growing limbs and an even amount of foliage. The even amount of outward growth and foliage help distribute the stress load from high winds along the entire length of the limb instead of concentrating it at the tip.
Tree longevity should always be kept in mind when pruning. Done by a skilled operator, pruning can improve the overall structure, stability, and health of the tree. Done poorly, higher maintenance costs and hazards from unstable sprout production are likely.
Tree topping is the harmful process of chopping off the tree's crown at the very top, resulting in far less foliage, and often an unappealing shape. Tree topping does not encourage greater bloom growth, nor does it provide a long-term solution to large trees planted in small areas. Ultimately, tree topping does more harm than good, and the tree is often left weaker and more vulnerable in the process.
A very common tree trimming mistake when removing branches is to cut them off too close, or flush, to the main trunk. By doing this, you remove the branch collar; an area of tissue with specialized cells that help heal the wound. The callous that the branch collar cells creates will prevent disease from entering the trunk. When you cut that branch off flush to the trunk, you're opening a wound that can allow in disease and pests, putting your tree on a path to an early demise.
No more than about 20-30% of a mature tree's foliage should ever be trimmed off at one time. When you remove too much of the canopy, you'll leave the tree unable to produce enough food, transfer nutrients, and structurally support itself.
Over pruning is one of the worst and most common mistakes in tree maintenance. Why is it so common? There is a general lack of understanding about how a tree functions or a lack of current information about tree health.
Except in very rare circumstances, there is no valid reason to over prune a tree. The Tree Care Industry Association’s (TCIA) standards for tree care specify that no more than 20-30% of the foliage should be removed in any year. Over pruning has a detrimental effect on tree health, structural integrity, and aesthetic value.