Topping off a tree may seem like a good idea if you want to prevent a tree on your property from growing too tall or in a way that creates a safety hazard. In reality, tree topping is not a good idea if you want healthy trees that increase the curb appeal of your property.

At Lineage Tree Care, we provide expert tree maintenance services in Snohomish, Washington, and nearby areas.

topping off a tree


What Is Tree Topping?

Tree topping is the process of removing multiple branches from the crown of a tree, leaving nothing but stubs at the top. Many people think topping a tree is a good way to control a tree growing near power lines or in another dangerous way in order to reduce the chances of an accident. However, tree topping costs you healthy, beautiful trees more often than not.


How Does Tree Topping Work?

Tree topping works by removing any branches growing too tall or in a way that creates a safety hazard. Topping can remove the entire upper canopy, leaving an exposed trunk and several stubs protruding from it. 

Some homeowners top their trees if they block the view on their property or grow too close to powerlines. While the reasons behind topping are valid, it’s not good for trees, and homeowners find that out the hard way. Topping off a tree has many downsides, and most people don’t realize the extent until it’s too late.


Why Is Tree Topping Bad for Trees?

Tree topping is a bad idea for several reasons. First, it makes trees look unhealthy and exposed. No one wants to look out at the landscape and see trees struggling after they’ve been topped. 

Second, after you’ve topped a tree, it is more likely to develop disease or die completely. As a topped tree struggles to regrow in order to survive, the branches that grow are significantly weaker than the branches you cut off when you topped it. You create a cycle that results in weak trees that fight to survive until they succumb to disease or infestation.


Alternatives for Tree Topping

Your local arborist can suggest tree topping alternatives that are appropriate for your local climate and the trees on your property. For example, professional pruning can remove dead branches before they fall and cause damage. Pruning can also address areas of the tree that grow too close to power lines or to your home to lower the chances of a serious accident. 

If a tree needs so many branches cut off that it will likely not survive, the best choice may be to remove the tree and replace it with a species that won’t grow too big for the space.


Hire a Professional Arborist 

The safest way to handle a tree growing too close to power lines or in another hazardous way is by hiring a professional arborist instead of topping off a tree yourself. 

Our Lineage Tree Care team serves Snohomish, Washington, and the surrounding areas. To schedule service, fill out our online contact form, and we will reach out to you.