Bismarck arborists say “stop topping”:
“Topping” a tree — that is, removing 50 to 100 percent of the tree’s canopy or top, is extremely damaging, causing weak branching and in some cases the death of a tree, say Bismarck city arborists.
The city arborists say they have observed “topping” of trees in the community and want people to be aware of its hazards.
With at least 50 percent of the canopy being pruned out, the tree will rapidly produce shoots right below the pruned section to compensate for the lost leaves. Since these shoots are formed quickly and profusely, the attachment is not strong.
The wound left from topping can become a hazard of its own because of potential decay and rot issues. Since so many large stubs are left behind from topping, the tree is not likely able to callus over all of the open wounds. These wounds leave an open path for insects, diseases, and decay to form in the tree. Branch failure is prone to happen due to the added weight from the shoots growing off of a weakening branch stub.