What is tree topping?

Tree topping is the process of removing large branches from the canopy of a tree. This is frequently done in an effort to make the tree smaller, safer, and more manageable. The opposite is often true, however.

Tree topping is not an accepted pruning practice. Topping is detrimental to the health of the tree. It drastically reduces or removes the tree's ability to feed itself through the process of photosynthesis due to the lack of or reduction of its leaves. The large wounds left on a tree after topping are more susceptible to disease, decay and eventual failure. A topped tree will put all of its energy into regaining its height by sending out numerous small and bushy branches that are weakly attached at the removal site. Topping may then need to be repeated regularly, costing the homeowner more money in the long run.

Show All Answers

1. Do I need a permit to remove a tree on my property?
2. Do I need a permit to plant a tree on my property?
3. My neighbor’s tree is growing over my property line, can I cut it?
4. Who is responsible for the maintenance of my street tree?
5. I am concerned about a tree located within a critical area or buffer zone. What should I do?
6. Does the City have an urban forest ordinance or an ordinance protecting trees?
7. Is the practice of “windowing” or “skirting up ” trees allowable in the City of Washougal?
8. How do I find a certified arborist or tree care professional?
9. What is tree topping?
10. Where can I go for more information?
11. Are there recommended trees for street planting?