It's that time of year when many well-meaning people decide to prune their trees or pay someone else to do it. Unfortunately, instead of pruning properly, some may still be using an outdated practice known as "topping." Topping is the drastic cutting or removal of large tree branches down to stubs or small branches, which are not able to handle that primary role. A topped tree is easy to spot. It looks like someone gave their tree a bad haircut.
Aside from the fact that topping trees can be very expensive, the practice is harmful and creates hazards. The cut branches actually grow back faster, and instead of one branch, the cut end will grow numerous branches, which are attached weakly and are prone to decay and insect infestation. Topped trees are more likely to fall in winter storms or strong winds.
Our trees provide immense benefits, such as shade, clean air and clean water, to homeowners and the entire community. It's well worth either learning how to prune properly or hiring a certified arborist to care for one of your property's best assets: trees. Vancouver's Urban Forestry Commission urges everyone to think before you top and get the facts on proper pruning. Information is available at Urban Forestry.