Topping is the indiscriminate cutting of tree branches to stubs or lateral branches that are not large enough to assume the terminal role. Other names for topping including “heading,” “tipping,” “hat-racking,” and “rounding over.” Topping is perhaps the most harmful tree pruning practice known. It is usually done to reduce the size of a tree. Often, homeowners top their trees because they feel that they have become too large for their property and are a hazard. However, topping will make a tree more hazardous in the long term and is very harmful to the health of a tree.
When is tree topping appropriate? When land clearing contractors are preparing a lot and trees are too tall for them to drop, they call Tree Kings to bring them down to a manageable size. Trees growing under power lines, may need to be reduced, but should be monitored if any large limbs are removed as they might decay over time and cause a hazard to pedestrians and property underneath.