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tree topping

03/04/2011 in gardening

Why do people still do it?
I saw where a group of pear trees were getting ALL of their limbs cut off at mid height yesterday….

I failed to get a picture… But these trees were covered in bloom!

Ok… first question, hasn’t anyone told the tree service to wait until the trees were done blooming before doing anything to them?

Second question… What did he think he was doing by topping any tree? When I first saw all those limbs on the ground, being loaded into the dump truck, I thought… ok, they’re getting rid of some bradford pear trees… good idea… they are a short-lived nuisance at best…

But… they LEFT the trees AFTER cutting all the limbs off!


Doesn’t anyone check with the extension service before doing something like that?
WHY are people still topping trees?
Topping trees destroys them… If you’re going to cut all the limbs off the tree, go ahead and get that thing out… plant something more appropriate to the location… that tree will NEVER be anything after being topped…

Trees should never be topped. It destroys the branching control and the natural shape of the tree. Topping trees makes them ugly….

…From a pamphlet by the GA extension service…

They also never recover their natural appearance… Are prone to disease & storm damage…

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3 responses to tree topping

  1. Nice observation Stone. Topping will not allow the tree to grow upwards correctly. My grandmother topped an elm for us as children… so it would remain ‘dwarf’ for climbing. I just don’t get destroying trees like that pic!
    BTW, I have given some of mine a ‘leg up’ to allow for some light below them… by removing a few lower branches. It doesn’t destroy the shape of the tree or create an illness.

  2. Greg F said on 06/26/2012

    I never wanted to top my 20 year old pear trees but the top limbs were bending over and breaking. I had to cut several of the high growing limbs out. They had bent over and were laying towards the ground. I cut every third limb. Really had no choice my pear trees were topping themselves. I’m happy with the way they look now and wouldn’t get rid of them for anything. My trees are still big pear prouducers! And in good healthy shape!

    • stone said on 06/26/2012

      Hey Greg,
      Thanks for the comment.

      I’ve seen where bearing pear trees have limbs that get too heavy, and flop, and even break.
      (The bradford pears that I described above are non-fruiting)

      I would see benefits in a bit of thinning of those broken limbs, if they couldn’t be salvaged with a bit of panty hose or other tying implements.

      Judicious thinning of damaged limbs is a very different thing from the wholesale destruction that I decried in this post.

      Glad to hear that your trees remain good producers!

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