Topped Pine

Posted by Randy - December 30th, 2010

Topped Pine

Weak growth caused by topping cut

This large Scots Pine in Wenatchee was topped about 10 years ago. As is often the case after a topping cut, the tree was unable to re-grow a new top, and instead was forced to concentrate all new growth into the tips of its remaining limbs. As a result, these limbs became very long and heavy enough that some of them broke off completely. Some of the other branches developed stress cracks, and were in danger of breaking off onto the street or sidewalk. There was also a large stub of decayed wood at the top of the tree, left over from the topping cut, which was splitting apart and in danger of falling off onto the street. Maybe the topping was done in a misguided attempt to make the tree ‘safer’, but the end result was quite the opposite. This tree, which had the potential to become a beautiful and long-lived specimen, was recently removed to eliminate the hazard it presented to persons and property.

This is just one example of why topping is bad for trees. Although the topping cut did not kill the tree outright, it forced the tree into an abnormal growth pattern, which weakened its structure enough to greatly shorten the tree’s life span. Kile Tree Service does not recommend topping of trees, unless to resolve valid safety issues or to clear utility lines.

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