top of page

Why do people top trees?

You’ve seen them while driving down the street. Bare looking trees that resemble a fork. Major limbs have been severely trimmed back leaving limbs with little to no foliage.

There are a few reasons why someone would destroy the natural beauty of a tree in such a manner.

The most common reason is lack of knowledge. Some people assume trees are just as hardy as their woody cousins hedge and bushes. They assume it’s “just a hair cut”. It is not.

Pruning a tree affects its growth pattern, its stability, and overall health.

Trees that are “topped” will undergo tremendous shock. They just lost a big portion of their food making ability (leaves=photosynthesis=food).

In response, the tree will go into “survival mode” and a chemical reaction will cause a regenerative reaction.This “regenerative reaction” will cause a multitude of dormant buds to sprout on the end of the limb.

What was once a single limb will turn into 3–5 limbs!

These “new limbs” will have a weaker attachment point, be prone to breakage and grow at a faster rate.

The overall shape of the tree will be unnatural and the tree will require more maintenance than before.

So why else do people top trees?

Sometimes the wrong species of tree is planted and is too big for its place. In such case removal and replacement with a more suitable species is recommended.

Lazy untrained tree workers sometimes will top trees because it is much easier than performing an adequate height reduction.

In some instances, a certified arborist might recommend removing the "top" of a tree if it is dead, diseased or is a hazard.

What can you do after a tree has been topped?

Trees that have been topped can somewhat be restored to a more natural shape. This involves carefully removing excess limbs and only leaving limbs securely attached with proper growth projectile.

Our Certified Arborist have helped many clients in the Cupertino, Palo Alto, and San Jose are bring restore topped trees. We offer professional tree services that included, canopy height reduction, canopy raising, thinning of trees, and tree removals.

33 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page