Imagine if someone removed half or all of your energy sources overnight. That’s what happens when a tree is topped—it loses 50% to 100% of its leaf-bearing branches, which are crucial for photosynthesis. The tree, now starved of food, is forced into survival mode. It sends out a flurry of weak, spindly shoots called suckers from its trunk to try and regrow leaves. Without enough stored energy, the tree may weaken significantly or even die.

Stresses Trees
Causes Decay

Proper pruning involves precise cuts, but topping leaves behind large, ragged wounds. These wounds are too big to heal, leaving the tree vulnerable to decay. As decay organisms invade the exposed wood, they compromise the tree’s structural integrity from within.

The new shoots that sprout after a tree is topped are weakly attached to the outer layers of the branch or trunk. Unlike normal branches, which grow from the tree’s core, these shoots are prone to breaking off easily. Combined with decay in the trunk, this can make the tree even more hazardous than before it was topped.

Leads to Decay
Ruins a Tree's Beauty

Trees naturally grow in a way that maximizes their exposure to sunlight, creating a graceful, balanced appearance. Topping disrupts this natural form, leaving behind ugly stubs and a disfigured shape. When new growth eventually sprouts, it forms dense, unnatural clumps, making the tree look more like a bushy ball than a majestic specimen.

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