Saving a Topped Tree: Is It Possible?

Is it possible to save a topped tree? According to Georgia Tree Services, Locust Grove’s professional tree service, it may be if you take the right steps. In this post, the company’s qualified arborists explain more about the topic and how you can stave off tree death.

What Is Tree Topping?

Tree topping is different from pruning in that you remove the crown of the tree rather than simply dead wood. This technique can stimulate the formation of a new lateral branch in smaller shrubs and bushes, causing the plant to bush out. 

The same is not, however, true with a tree. While healthy trees can survive this treatment, they will take time to recover. Therefore, pruning to shape the tree should never include cutting off the crown. 

How Do I Deal with a Topped Tree?

A topped tree is in distress and requires additional care. It is best to consult a certified arborist because the tree may be:

  • Unstable, making it a hazard
  • Unable to withstand an insect invasion 
  • More prone to contracting a disease
  • In need of support healing the wound
  • Saved with expert assistance

Our team will evaluate the tree’s condition and advise you accordingly. We may suggest a range of interventions like corrective pruning, nutrient supplements, and correct supportive techniques. 

We advise not taking any further corrective action without professional advice because it may make the situation worse.

Can the Tree Recover on Its Own?

Nature is surprisingly resilient. When you top a tree, you reduce the amount of energy-producing leaves available. The tree will try to recover as quickly as possible by sending out epicormic shoots. 

These thin, vertical branches may look a little sickly, but they are vital in your tree’s recovery. While trimming them off is tempting, please resist the urge to do so. The branches are likely unstable, and you must carefully evaluate which ones to remove and the best time to remove them.

Reshaping Your Tree

Choose the Right Time

Our team is happy to help you reshape your topped tree, but we encourage you to be patient. It’s best to let those straggly shoots keep growing for at least a year to allow your tree to recover properly.

We suggest that you let new shoots harden off and wait for winter before making the first cut. Cutting the new branches before this delays your tree’s recovery. 

Identify the Leaders

The leaders are shoots that will form the dominant branches going forward. They are usually among the tallest and damage-free. Leave these alone.

Cut the Weak Shoots

Look for damaged, diseased, or cracked branches and cut them right down to the trunk. Identify other healthy shoots that look strong but are not quite as tall as the leaders. Prune them until they are about half as long as they were. 

Make sure the leaders have enough space to grow by saving between one and three shoots on every cut made when you originally topped the tree. 

Future Cuts

You will continue this process every second or third year for another ten years. Doing so trains the branches and allows the leaders to put out strong growth. Many homeowners choose to let professionals handle this task going forward. 

Get Professional Help Today! 

Your first step to help a topped tree recover is a tree risk assessment from Locust Grove professionals. Contact Georgia Tree Services at (404) 751-8743 to ensure your tree can recover and that it is not hazardous. Our team will take the proper corrective action, ensuring your tree has the best chance of a successful recovery. 

Call Now Button