Tag Archives: stormwork

Topping is evil

Previously topped Manitoba Maple, that had had failed leaders in the past – photo credit: Jillian Creasor

We recently had a storm event that resulted in a lot of damaged trees throughout Brandon and the Westman area. With few exceptions, the reason that these trees failed was because they had been previously topped. I am not talking pineapple on pizza (which is delicious) or sprinkles on ice cream (literally the worst) Read on to find out what topping is, why people have done it in the past, and what you can do differently to take care of your trees.

What is topping?

Topping in the tree world is an outdated pruning practice that does not deliver. Generally, “topping” is just that – taking the top or upper crown off a tree.

After topping, many epicormic shoots arise and develop into weakly attached branches. These
branches, and the multiple leaders, continue to develop girth and weight and have an
increasing potential to fall and cause damage to people and property.

Linda Chalker-Scott, The Myth of Tree Topping, PlantAmnesty, https://www.plantamnesty.org/wp-content/uploads/The-Myth-of-Tree-Topping.pdf

Why do people top trees?

Trees may have grown and are interfering with power lines or properties. People may think that it is safer to have a shorter tree or that getting a serious pruning will give the tree a chance to “fill out” Topping promises a safer tree, but does not deliver.

How does topping a tree affect it?

Initially, the loss of leaves results in less food for the tree. The tree is more susceptible to disease, decay and insects through all the cut off stubs and limbs.

Trees understandably freak out after losing their top or upper canopy (how upset would you be if you lost your head?!) Trees react with rapid growth, which results in poorly connected branches in an attempt to replace as many leaves as quickly as possible.

Eventually the new branches grow to the original height, but are tied in poorly, which restarts the whole cycle again.

(You can use a chainsaw for proper pruning!)

What is the alternative to topping a tree?

Excellent question! A healthy, well pruned, watered tree is the safest. Depending on the age, placement, and species of tree, there are several effective tree pruning techniques that can be employed. Selective crown reduction, or crown thinning are two ways we can respond to some of the concerns that motivate tree topping. Bottom line, if you are considered topping a tree, you may want to consider tree removal and stump grinding and replace with a tree that will more comfortably fit into the space.

You can consult with an arborist, who can assess risk, and make suggestions!

You can request a visit online here Request a quote ! Or call Reta at 204-730-0368

Is there a tree on your house? 

We can help! The summer storms that are becoming all too regular (read also – it seems like we have had destructive storms every year since Chris and I moved back from Winnipeg four years ago)

During the storm season of 2014 or ’15, Chris was photographed and interviewed by the Brandon Sun. He was quoted as saying that “a downed tree is a spring loaded death trap.” Now to be clear, he is not trying to scare people. What he wants to make clear is that a downed tree presents many, many risks – some of which are not obvious at all.

One of the challenges of storm work is how to remove trees and branches without further damaging your property. Maybe something is fully on your house, but depending how it is removed, there is a possibility to damage eavestroughs, soffit and fascia. Or perhaps, as a post is taken apart, there is the possibility of logs sliding down the side of your house, damaging siding or stucco.

While there is no 100% guarantee in storm work, we deploy a host of tools, trucks and expertise to safely make your home tree-free. From using a pole saw to cut branches from a safe distance (logs/posts can turn or shift suddenly depending on how their weight is distributed) to using jacks, straps and chains to support trees as we take them apart, we enjoy solving the challenges presented by a downed tree.

We would rather take down a marginal tree on purpose, than come clean up after an accident.

If you would like to know if we can help, call Reta at 204-730-0368