Tree pruning – a healthier alternative to topping


Despite all the efforts made for explaining the devastating effects that topping has on trees, it still remains a common practice among people. When homeowners decide that an oak is too large for the backyard or that the size poses a high risk for the safety of the family, they resort to topping it. Instead of stubbing your oak, you should call in an arborist specialized in pruning and tree removal Dublin.  Besides the fact that topping is not a viable method for cutting down the height, it is inefficient for preventing risks as well.

What is topping

Topping is a technique used to reduce the size of a mature wood plant, such as an oak, and it implies cutting off its branches, which are thus to nothing more than stubs. These stubs are so small that they cannot assume the terminal role. The common misconception is that the oak actually benefits from the stumping. On the other hand, some people are under the impression that topping has the power to stimulate new growth. The main reason why people top their trees is the aesthetic appeal, in other words, when they block the view or interferes in the collection of solar energy.

The harmful effects of topping

Topping eliminates up to 100% of the oak’s leaves. Leaves are extremely important for the life of the oak since they are responsible with the production of food. To survive and grow, any wood plant requires a large leaf surface. By topping the wood plant, the homeowner deprives it of its food-making potential and the oak is doomed to starve. While many of them resort to survival mechanisms, not all have enough stored energy to make it through. Topping is also directly responsible for stressing the trees. An oak that is both stressed and has open wounds is subject to attacks from caterpillars. The open wound also invites insects to penetrate inside and the insects can kill the oak. Decay can also come in the form of fungal infections.

The only possible alternative: pruning

Pruning helps the wood plant to develop a good branch structure, which means that pruning plays an important role in the growth of an oak. Only with proper pruning can an oak develop to a specific configuration and maintain its structural integrity. By ensuring the oak’s structural integrity, you will be able to avoid any broken limbs or falling branches. Proper pruning actually spares the life of the oak and it improves its general appearance as well. When you decide for pruning instead of topping, you should call in a tree surgeon (arborist) to handle your oak. Ideally, pruning should take place in late fall, or even in winter, because during this time the oak is less prone to stress and damage.

To conclude, trees are susceptible to stress just like any other being. By completely removing its branches you cause more damage than good and this is why topping is not recommended. If you desire to control the height of an oak and keep it healthy, then you should choose the viable alternative, which is pruning.


Share This Post