Please Don't Top Trees
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Please Don't Top Trees

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Please Don't Top Trees

Urban Forestry Information

Urban Forest Management Division
Department of Public Works and Environmental Services
Fairfax County, Virginia
Summer 2013

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  • 1. Urban Forestry Information Urban Forest Management Division Department of Public Works and Environmental Services Fairfax County, Virginia Summer 2013 Please Don’t ‘Top’ Trees
  • 2. Please Don’t Top Trees • Tree topping means cutting back large branches or stems, usually at the top of the tree • Cutting off a large portion of the tree will harm the tree and may cause it to die
  • 3. Please Don’t Top Trees • Tree topping may cause property values to drop • Topping causes wood decay • Once this improper cutting is done, large, open wounds may subject the tree to invasion by harmful insects and diseases • Fewer leaves or the reduction of leaf surface may cause damage to the root system
  • 4. Please Don’t Top Trees • Without the full complement of leaves, a tree cannot process nutrients and water into the food sources it needs for proper growth and development • It may be more costly and dangerous to remove a tree that has been topped than a tree that dies from natural causes • A tree that has been topped may die
  • 5. There Are Other Names for the Practice of Tree Topping: • stubbing • heading • tipping • hat racking • lopping • roundover
  • 6. Topping is Detrimental No matter what the name of the practice may be, topping is detrimental to the tree The row of trees on this country road have been severely topped
  • 7. A Topped Tree Is Easy To See • The natural shape of the tree has been destroyed • The tree on the left has been topped • The tree on the right has a more natural shape
  • 8. A Topped Tree Is Easy To See • Topped trees require more attention in the future • Topped trees are more expensive in the long run
  • 9. Topped Trees May Become a Hazard • Topped trees send out shoots that are weakly attached to the tree • A topped tree may die and become a hazard
  • 10. Topped Trees May Lower Property Values • Topped trees need to be topped again and again • Topping will not invigorate a tree
  • 11. Professionally Pruned Trees Look as if No Work Has Been Done • Proper pruning is an important part of caring for and protecting the health of a tree • An arborist carefully selects and removes branches, maintaining the natural shape and beauty of the tree • The pictured tree has been damaged by topping
  • 12. To Find a Professional Arborist When searching for a tree care company and before making a selection, please consider: • certification or credentials • professional affiliations • insurance • references • estimates
  • 13. The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) encourages tree care companies to have ISA-certified professionals on staff • To find a professional arborist visit the International Society of Arboriculture webpage at www.isa-arbor.com/publicOutreach/findATreeCareService/index.aspx
  • 14. For more information about trees call or email the staff of the Urban Forest Management Division Public Works and Environmental Services Fairfax County 12055 Government Center Parkway Fairfax, VA 22035 703-324-1770, TTY 711 email pestmail@fairfaxcounty.gov http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/environmental/trees.htm A Fairfax County, Virginia publication Summer 2013 Thank you.