Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Don't top trees

The topping and butchering of trees in any community is like a plague from time to time. This destructive pruning practice of cutting back large branches to stubs leaves wounds that invite bugs, decay and disease that can enter a tree.

When the general public sees more and more of this indiscriminate cutting of trees, it becomes acceptable, and it definitely is not.

Topping can destroy a tree's natural shape, its beauty and grace. It saddens me for I know that people pay top dollar to have this done to their trees but don't realize the long range ramifications that can follow after a tree has been mutilated.

Topping of trees is sometimes called heading, stubbing and hat-racking. Trees have a life span like you and I and should be cared for properly.

After a tree is topped, you have a point of entry for decay into healthy tree tissue. When a tree is over pruned, you must understand that it will be more open to sun than it was before.

The canopy or what I call the umbrella of a tree, that shades the interior branches/limbs and bark is very important.When the foliage of a tree is removed, this can allow too much sun inside and the bark can sunburn or sun scald and, when this occurs, it can lead to secondary problems.

A tree also knows its needs to manufacture the proper amount of food through its foliage when it is healthy.

You must understand that the green leaves of a tree are the tree's food manufacturing factory and, without the leaves, the tree can become weak and susceptible to a plethora of invasive bugs and other conditions.

I always say that trees are like people and no two of them are exactly alike and, knowing this, we must respond independently in reviewing tree by tree.

The following are some conditions that can happen when a tree is topped.

· Starvation: with the lack of leaves, the tree can decline quickly.

· Shock: trees can go into shock and lose their food making process of photosynthesis Also trees can become susceptible to bugs and diseases.

· Weak: rapid new sprouts can erupt around the stub cuts and produce small branches that can fail. Topped trees are just unsightly.

· Tree death: some trees can die from this severe butchering like beeches

· Cost: people don't realize that, in the long run, they will be spending more money on tree care and having the trees pruned again and again after topping.

· Shade: for when you lose the benefits of shade that trees produce, you lose a very valuable and important element that all trees can give us....shade.

· Age: the trees around our homes are aging and won't be around forever and should be cared for appropriately. That a healthy tree lives longer is a fact.

There are pruning techniques such as drop-crotching or canopy thinning that can achieve good results as well. You can prune back to sturdy lateral branches to reduce the tree's overall height with this type of directional pruning.

But if it's the wrong tree in the wrong place, maybe it's time to reconsider its removal. I always say, "plant the right tree in the right place." Do your homework when selecting trees and plants around your landscape.

Topping also destroys the overall balance between the roots and the crown of the tree. A good professional arborist employs both science and art in the approach for the proper caring of trees.

Trees and your landscape offer many benefits to your home, so treat them with respect and give them proper stewardship in their life span.

The Sunset Western Garden Book is a good resource of information on plants to refer to. Sunset has been around for a long time and gives you good solid information.

You can also contact the National Arbor Day Foundation for additional information, https://www.arborday.org/.

Roger Boddaert, Certified I.S.A. Arborist, can be reached at 760-728-4297.

 

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