Tree topping is a serious NO!
I mean, mulch volcanoes are pretty bad, but anyone can pile mulch up against the trunk. Tree topping, however involves someone that knows how to climb trees, thus ass-u-ming they may have been around professionals that would know how very wrong this is.
Tree topping is when the leader (the lead/tallest limb) is abruptly pruned and/or the tree is heavily incorrectly pruned. Unless the tree is very young and a new leader can be trained to grow upright, there may be structural problems in the near future.
The tree will try to recover from it’s loss of leaves by growing ‘sucker branches’ which are grown in defense from the leaf loss. Sucker branches don’t make flowers, so they are not aesthetic and serve very little use for the tree. These branches are from buds that had been held back from growing by the tree because they were too close to the barks surface to attach correctly, thus they tend to break off in the slightest wind.
Trees that have been fully pruned like this don’t have the ability to compartmentalize all the wounds efficiently, causing the larger limbs to become unstable and fall.
Many times the tree’s bark will become sun scald which opens up the bark to cankers and other pathogens.
There are safe and humane ways to reduce the size of your trees, by using ‘Crown Reduction’ methods.
© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl