Risks Of Tree Topping in Edmonton

The Deadly Consequence: Why Topping a Tree in Edmonton Can Kill It

Trees are an invaluable part of our environment, providing various benefits such as clean air, shade, and beauty. As guardians of our planet, it is crucial to understand the importance of proper tree care. Unfortunately, an Edmonton tree topping service is a destructive method that often leads to their demise. We will explore why this harmful tree pruning practice can damage its structural integrity and the surrounding ecosystem.

Our expert Edmonton arborists at Trusty Tree Services are ISA certified and highly trained in maintaining healthy trees. We have put together this blog to inform property owners about the potential risks of tree toppings in Edmonton.

Understanding Biology

Before we explore the detrimental effects of tree topping, we must grasp some fundamental aspects of their biology. They rely on their larger branches with various amounts of leaves to manufacture a food source through photosynthesis. The foliage acts as "solar panels," absorbing sunlight and converting it into vital nutrients. When topping trees, a significant portion of its canopy (the upper part) is removed, severely limiting its ability to photosynthesize and generate food.

What Is Edmonton Tree Topping?

Tree topping refers to the indiscriminate cutting of a significant portion of the leafy crown or canopy, often leaving behind stubs or branches much smaller than the original limbs. Other names for topping include heading, pollarding, tipping, hat-racking, and rounding over. While topping trees is sometimes used to reduce the size, it is not a recommended method for addressing concerns about the potential risk to property due to the dangers it poses to it.

Edmonton Tree Topping Causes Stress and Vulnerability

Topping trees removes a significant portion of their crown, leaving severe wounds where the branches were cut. These exposed wounds expose the specimen to various threats, making it vulnerable to attacks by insects, disease infestations, and decay. Furthermore, its natural defense is compromised, making it more susceptible to infections that can spread throughout its system. Over time, this can lead to the decay of the trunk and branches, making it structurally weak and prone to rot, failure, and death.

Edmonton Tree Topping Causes Starvation and Decline

With its food production significantly reduced, a topped tree becomes starved of the essential nutrients to thrive. In response to this stress, it may undergo a survival mechanism and deplete its stored energy reserves to regenerate its canopy by producing numerous shoots, known as suckers and water sprouts. These living plant organisms need an adequate leaf surface area to make enough food to sustain themselves. Topping trees forces them to decline due to reduced photosynthesis, increased vulnerability to pests and diseases, weakened structure, and limited nutrient availability. Over time, this nutritional deficiency weakens the specimen, leading to stunted growth and decay. As its health continues to deteriorate, it becomes increasingly susceptible to secondary issues, such as infestations of insects or pathogens. In severe cases, it may not recover from the stresses imposed by topping and eventually succumb to death.

Edmonton Tree Topping Causes Sunburn

Did you know plants can get sunburnt just like people? It's true! Bark and upright branches protect against intense sunlight, helping to regulate temperature and prevent sunburn. When tree topping occurs, removing the protective canopy exposes the remaining branches and trunk to direct sunlight. This sudden exposure to intense light can cause sunburn damage to the bark tissues, leading to cracking, scorching, cankers, bark splitting, and blistering. Moreover, the damaged bark inhibits the flow of nutrients and water through its vascular system, further compromising its health and putting it at risk of developing long-term health issues.

Edmonton Tree Topping Causes Invasive Suckering

Tree topping initiates a survival response to compensate for the lost foliage and canopy by producing numerous shoots, known as suckers or water sprouts. These fast-growing shoots are an attempt to regain their lost foliage. While these shoots may seem like a sign of recovery, the excessive growth of these shoots comes at a cost. They are weakly attached and are more likely to break off during storms or high winds. Additionally, the rapid growth of suckers diverts energy away from essential functions, such as root growth and defense against insect invasion and diseases, further weakening and inhibiting its natural growth pattern.

Edmonton Tree Topping Causes Negative Environmental Impact

All plants play a critical role in maintaining a healthy environment. They provide shade, filter air pollutants, mitigate climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide, and create habitats for numerous species. Topping trees disrupts the ecosystem's delicate balance, affecting wildlife habitat, reducing shade, and altering microclimates.

Edmonton Tree Topping Causes Ugly Trees

Along with negatively impacting the environment, topping trees leaves behind ugly aesthetics. These beautiful specimens grow in diverse patterns and structures to maximize sunlight exposure through their leaves. Tree topping removes the upper branches, resulting in ugly stubs and no foliage for a considerable duration in a temperate climate like Edmonton. Topping trees disrupt their natural shape, making them disfigured and unattractive, compromising their natural form. Consequently, once it has been topped, it can never fully restore its original natural form. This impacts the overall aesthetic appeal of the landscape and reduces your property value.

Edmonton Tree Topping is Expensive

Tree topping incurs more than just the initial job cost. There are additional hidden costs to consider:

  • Increased maintenance expenses: If a topped specimen survives, it will likely require corrective pruning in the following years, such as crown reduction or repair due to storm damage. In the unfortunate event that it dies, it must be removed entirely, incurring expensive costs.
  • Decreased property value: Healthy and well-maintained landscaping contributes significantly to the value of a property, typically adding 10-20% to its overall worth. However, disfigured aesthetics are considered a future expense, negatively impacting the property's value.
  • Heightened liability potential: Tree topping often presents an unacceptable level of risk. Since tree topping is widely regarded as an improper pruning practice, any damage caused by branch failure can lead to a finding of negligence in a court of law, potentially resulting in legal and financial repercussions.

Alternative Methods to Topping Trees

It is sometimes necessary to reduce the height or spread of a woody plant, especially when it poses a challenge to utility lines. Instead of tree topping, however, employing alternative practices, such as proper pruning techniques by qualified arborists, is recommended. Proper pruning cuts that focus on selective branch removal, maintaining the specimen's natural form, and preserving its health are more beneficial in the long run. When dealing with smaller branches, removing them from their point of origin is advised. In the case of larger limbs requiring shortening, they should be pruned back to a lateral branch that is sufficiently large (one-third the diameter of the limb being removed) to take over as the end branch. Reducing branches helps maintain the natural shape, form, and health.

A certified arborist will perform a proper method of pruning on a mature tree by:

  1. Creating an undercut approximately 12–18 inches (30–46 cm) away from the joint of the limb.
  2. Making a second cut from the top, directly above the undercut or a few inches further out on the limb. This cut will remove the limb, leaving a stub.
  3. Eliminating the remaining stub by cutting back to the branch collar. This technique minimizes the risk of bark tearing and damage.

These pruning cuts promote healthy growth and minimize potential damage. In certain situations, the optimal solution may involve the drastic removal of tall trees and replacing them with a more suitable species.

No More Tree Topping in Edmonton

By understanding the destructive practice and negative consequences associated with tree topping, we can make informed decisions about their care and take steps to preserve their well-being while keeping our city of Edmonton beautiful. By respecting and nurturing these species, we contribute to the well-being of our environment for future generations. Instead of topping trees, consult with certified experts who can provide appropriate pruning techniques that promote tree health and longevity and maintain their natural beauty.

What is a Certified Arborist?

ISA Certified Arborists® are tree care professionals certified through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), a globally recognized organization that promotes proper care and management. An ISA Certified Arborist® is a professional arborist who has undergone extensive training, which usually includes education, practical experience, and passing an exam on tree care to demonstrate their expertise in arboriculture. The certification covers a wide range of topics related to tree care, such as biology, pruning techniques, risk assessment, health management, identification, and more.

ISA Certified Arborists® have the knowledge and skills to provide professional tree care services. They are trained in best practices for planting, pruning, maintenance, and preservation. They are familiar with different species of trees, especially around the Edmonton area, are aware of potential health issues, and can make informed decisions regarding management and preservation.

When seeking qualified arborist services, looking for the ISA Certified Arborist® credential is recommended to indicate their expertise and commitment to following the industry standards and practices.

Hire Edmonton's Trusty Tree Services for Expert Knowledge and Service!

With years of experience in the local industry and a team of skilled arborists, Trusty Tree Services provides high-quality service in Edmonton and surrounding areas. Our family-owned company in Sherwood Park prioritizes safety and compliance with provincial laws. We offer stump removal, trimming, cabling & bracing, landscape care, deep root fertilizing, and more. With affordable rates and a commitment to customer satisfaction, we are the top choice for residential and commercial customers. Our ISA-certified arborists ensure expert service and peace of mind. Call 780-860-5500 to book your free consultation in Edmonton, AB, today!

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Preethy Thomas
Preethy Thomas

Left us a 5 star review

Preethy Thomas
October 8, 2023

What a fantastic crew!!! Sarah & Shane came and trimmed my rather large tree. Such a professional, knowledgeable, caring, capable and courteous crew. Very well done from beginning to end.They did a fabulous job!

Greg Demuynck
October 4, 2023
Brenda Moore
September 25, 2023

Trusty Trees did their magic at my Mothers house in Fort Saskatchewan. Mikex2 we’re on time, organized and knew their business. Gave the trees a good haircut as they had a lot of dead areas. Very pleased with their service, would definitely recommend them! Much thanks Mike and Mike.

Dwayne Thiessen
September 10, 2023

We had a crew from Trusty tree services to come and remove 6, 40 foot aspen trees. They did an awesome job. They were very knowledgeable and very considerate of our property and our neighbours property. They had our yard and neighbours yards totally cleaned up when they were finished. I would highly recommend Trusty Tree Services

Ron Tkachuk
August 22, 2023

We had a crew from Trusty Tree Services trim three trees on our property a few weeks ago, sorry for the late review. Couldn't be happier with the whole process. From the estimate to the final clean up, everything went very well. I contacted other companies for estimates, didn't even get a call back. Thanks again Trusty Tree for a great job!

Matt H
August 4, 2023

Trusty Tree Services came out and pruned our Amur Cherry tree in Fort Saskatchewan and did a great job. The technicians were knowledgeable and gave me tips on how to better take care of our tree. The technicians were friendly and polite and cleaned up before they left. I would definitely recommend Trusty Tree Service!

Sarah Wilson
July 25, 2023

Excellent job! I highly recommend this company. I will be calling again this fall! I am very happy.

Cindy Grier
July 7, 2023

We had an amazing experience with Trusty Tree. They gave a prompt estimate for some very difficult trees in our campground. They arrived on time and began work immediately. Their expertise shone through as they brought down the trees on point! Friendly, informative, professional and outstanding workmanship. I would recommend them in a heartbeat. Shout out to Colton, Joe and Adrian - great work!

Deanna Craig
July 5, 2023

We had Trusty Tree out this year to shape and thin 4 trees and 3 Mugo Pine shrubs. I was impressed with a quick appt for the quote and then quick response for booking. Our trees were pruned earlier in the season as this was the recommended timeframe, and the Mugo Pine shrubs pruned later in the spring after the new growth appeared. I'm pleased with the crew that came out, they were polite, professional and experienced. We are happy with how our trees and shrubs look and feel the price was fair. We would definitely recommend Trusty Tree and will have them back in the future. Thanks for taking extra time with us to talk about proper pruning too!

Mark stime
June 26, 2023

Very professional and courteous crew. Difficult tree to cut down with bucket truck given clearances.

christine Maclean
June 22, 2023

I am a new widow and my yard work is so overwhelming, I called Trusty tree to come over and give me a quote. Because my husband who has slways been in love with taking great care of our home,has passed I am here to do it alone.Trusty tree are the most professional people I dealt with..And they actually had the most professional quote,they took pictures of my Tree to elaborate on what needed to be done,and explained why everything had to be done in a certain way...after 3 other companies coming out I realized that Trusty Trees quote was extremely fair. So when the Trusty Tree crew arrived to prune my beloved tree, they were ready, and really understood the sentimental value of my tree that my late husband and I used to sit under every night. The crew members Joe and Shane collaborated beautifully brought down the required amount of my tree..They had a fantastic chipper on site and they also cleaned up the yard so beautifully after the cutting was done...If anyone reads this review,please understand how much that tree meant to me and my late husband. Joe and Shane gave it a loving and caring trim, and they where not only hard working but very informative of the process,and very just great guys,they included their sense of humor to make the trimming process easier on me. THEY were so compasionate and understanding . I thank them for that..... If you are thinking of pruning your gorgeous beloved tree, Trusty Tree has got be your only choice. THESE GUYS ARE THE BEST!!! My name is Christine and if anyone wants to contact me about what a great job this crew did..please do!!!

Sarah Whyte
June 22, 2023

Trusty Tree is a great place to work. Management is caring and hardworking. Equipment is of high quality and maintained professionally. Smooth operation and always great communication between management and team members.Looking for a place to work? This is the place.

Carla Hanak
May 26, 2023

I highly recommend Trusty Tree Services! From start to finish everything was handled promptly, professionally and courteously! They are very knowledgeable and efficient. I really liked how they explained things. We will definitely have them back for some fall work. Thanks to everyone!

Darryl Edinga
May 23, 2023
Karli Butler
May 19, 2023

We were sad to see our tree go, but it wasn’t well and bigger and bigger branches were breaking off; however our Trusty Tree Arborists did a great job. Thanks to @Sarah and @Michael and thanks for the excellent service Trusty Tree.

gary hnatko
May 17, 2023

Excellent, prompt, efficient and professional service. Team was very pleasant to work with. In and out in no time. Clean worksite. Would definitely recommend.

Linda Lankoff
May 11, 2023

The services provided were both reasonably priced and work done was excellent!

Marylyn Reed
May 5, 2023

Very fast professional and thorough work done on both my experiences with Trusty tree Service. Good cleanups and answered all questions. They made valid suggestions which I appreciated. Thank you.

Stephen Davidson
May 4, 2023

Excellent experience. Very knowledgeable experienced crew. Safety is a priority .Highly recommend . Great Job!

Darci White
May 3, 2023

Very speedy and clean-up was amazing. Thanks guys

Gordon Sandberg
April 28, 2023

Thanks to Mike and the crew for doing a great job on Grenfell Ave St Albert. Very professional service.

Colleen Butler
April 27, 2023

Fantastic! The team did an excellent job pruning and shaping our trees. Thank you

Paul Whattam
April 27, 2023

This was the second time I've used this company for mature tree removal. This time 4 fully grown columnar Aspen trees located close to fencing, a deck and between 2 houses were successfully removed with no damage to the aforementioned structures but also nearby concrete curbing. Work was done as scheduled, quickly and neatly. Very satisfied with the work.

Rob Butler
April 25, 2023

Great service by the guys at Trusty Tree Services. Very professional and knowledgeable. They really knew their stuff about how to properly prune each type of tree in our yard. Our trees look so much better now and will have the opportunity to thrive. Good care for our garden ornaments and great cleanup afterwards.Thank-you

Darvin Mills
April 24, 2023

Mike And Shay trimmed 11 trees in and around our complex this morning and did an amazing job. They were professional and punctual. Arrived on time, very efficient and ensured that all branches were clean up before leaving. Very pleasant to work with and we look forward to working with Trusty Tree Service over the summer and fall.

Lionel Grobel
April 22, 2023
Judith Hum
April 20, 2023

The gentlemen took down a long dead tree YAY !!!! Professional, honest and did a super job THX !!!!

Shelley Honey
April 18, 2023

Thank you Sarah for all of your help!

Sherry Honey
April 17, 2023

Sarah was very knowledgeable and walked us through the options of our tree removal. The team was friendly and overall a great experience. Would highly recommend Trusty Tree Services.

Paul Cairns
April 13, 2023

I look for three things when it comes to service: 1) friendly attitude, 2) timeliness, and 3) efficiency. The crew were excellent in all three scores. It was great to see a clean truck, maintained gear, and use of personal protective equipment as well. This is a great choice for tree care. Done in less than an hour!!!

Dean Mason
April 12, 2023

Mike’s crew did an amazing job for us - pruned trees & removed every visible black knot fungus. They picked up every twig & left our yard tidy. Very personal & professional crew - would strongly recommend their services ! 👍

Bea & Randall Huisman
April 12, 2023

Sarah and crew were here this morning and did one terrific job of trimming all of our trees. I highly recommend them to everyone needing any tree services done.

April 11, 2023

Sarah and Danny did a great job removing a large tree from the front of my yard. I was impressed with the time efficiency and clean up. I would recommend.

Christina Colenutt
January 19, 2023

When Trevor came to quote my yard at my new house, he helped me identify all the trees and shrubs, and clearly explained what work needed to be done. When the day came to do the work, Kolton and Carl were friendly and also walked me through what they were doing and why (I'm interested in these things and was asking questions). They did their best to save my cherry that is infected with black knot. Looking forward to having them come back to continue tree maintenance in the future.

Jenn C
September 26, 2022
David St. Jean
April 6, 2022
Ed Clarke
January 25, 2022
Lisan Maclean
September 15, 2021

We had trusty trees! Cut down our tree and put all new grass down in our back yard and it's absolutely beautiful 😊 Also the crew are very friendly and extremely hard workers! Thank again ❣️

Matthew Hudon (Matt SH)
July 6, 2021

Excellent value for the work they provide. Our crew was very professional and cleaned up the area they chipped in, right down to the pavement.

Trevor Small
June 13, 2021

Trusty Tree is great. Had them remove two trees with cleanup and shredding. looks great and would use again!

Jessy Yau
June 8, 2021

We had a tree in our yard that had died a few years earlier and wasn’t sure who to call. We called Sunstar who recommended Trusty Tree to us. Trevor came out to look at our tree. We didn’t realize we had another Tree that was diseased. He sent us a quote very quickly. He was able to book a time for tree removal, stump grinding, as well as planting our new trees. The project was done in the timeline provided. The crews showed up on time or earlier than expected which was amazing! They were very professional. I would hire Trusty Tree again!

Renee Pelech
June 7, 2021
keith b
June 5, 2021

Professional, courteous and reasonable pricing. Keep it local folks!

Rick McBryer
June 4, 2021

Excellent service. Good response time and automatic communication / payment system. Work was done effectively and efficiently.

Jay Lewis
June 4, 2021

Fantastic experience, staff was friendly and prompt. Left our acreage clean and tidy. Defiantly recommend Trusty Tree.

Graham Wyllie
June 3, 2021

They were on time did a great job & would recommend them any time.

David Provost
June 3, 2021
Sales Tech Patrol
June 2, 2021

Great service, Always happy to please. The team is great excellent at cleaning up and making everything look great. Highly recommend Trusty Tree.

Roger Crispin
June 2, 2021

Well done. Good service.

Lisa Johnston
June 2, 2021

Trusty tree has been doing work for a condo association for the last few years. They are always reliable, and thorough and easy to deal with.