Learn / Ask The Landscape Professional
My neighbor told me it was a good time of year to have my large tree topped, but I wanted to ask you first.
This is a great time of year to have your trees
inspected, pruned and dangerous ones removed because
the leaves are off now and the overall structure of the tree is
visible. It is also important that this work be done as soon
as possible before winter storm damage occurs from wind
and heavy snow loads.
"Topping" trees, however, is a very bad idea at any time
of the year. In fact, in Connecticut, tree pruning can only
be performed by arborists licensed by CT DEEP and if
an arborist "tops" a tree, he or she can lose their license.
Topping is a process where a major portion of the canopy
of a tree is cut off with a straight cut to shorten the height
of a tree. Not only does this look bad, it greatly improves
the chances a tree will become diseased or pest infested
because of the multiple open wounds. Even more importantly,
though, is that the tree's ability to make food by photosynthesis
is greatly impaired, certainly shortening the life of the tree and many times killing it.
When a tree is topped, it will start growing what are called "water sprouts" (not true branches)
that appear to fill in the tree, but are not well attached structurally. They generally grow out at
odd angles and will break easily in the wind. Tree height reduction, if needed, can be made
by proper pruning techniques to remove selective limbs where they originate at a larger stem.
Sometimes, this process should be done over several years. The best advice, though, is to
plant the proper tree in the first place. Do your research or call us and we can help select the
correct tree for your property. Sprigs & Twigs, with trained and licensed arborists on staff,
provides expert tree care services whether it is tree selection, planting, proper pruning or free
consultation. Untold and irreparable damage is done every day by bargain tree companies
that are not licensed and offer little, other than a cheap price.
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About Linda Lillie
Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier
landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry
service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of
Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national
award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.