tree care knoxville

Green Tips : Tree Care, Knoxville TN

At Arbor Care, we often get questions from clients about whether it's best to prune or top their trees. We are happy to provide information on this topic to our clients. Read on for the Arbor Care of East Tennessee definitive answer!

Tree Pruning
Tree Topping
Branches are removed back to
growth origin.
Branches are shortened, leaving
stub ends.
Future storm damage is minimized.
New growth (shoots) are weakly attached and break easily in storms.
Lengthens time needed
between pruning.
Tree regains original size quickly
with weak branches.
Works in a natural process of
tree growth.
Extremely destructive to entire tree.
25% of the leaf-bearing crown is selected throughout the entire tree.
50-100% of leaf-bearing crown removed.


1. Topping stresses trees

When topping a tree, 50 -100% of the leaf-bearing crown is removed.  However; based on industry recommendations, no more than 25% of the

leaf-bearing crown should be removed. Since leaves produce food for the tree, removing 50 - 100% of those " food factories " can cause the tree to starve.

2. Topping can lead to sunburn, insects, disease, and decay

Leaves absorb the sunlight. When a high percentage of leaf -bearing branches are removed, the tree is exposed to high levels of light and heat.  This may lead to the tree's tissues, under the bark, to burn.  Possible outcomes may be cankers, bark splitting and once alive branches to die. The location and size of cuts to the tree can cause the tree to become highly vulnerable to insects, disease and decay. The tree is in a high stress state and lacks the energy to fight off these "invaders ".

3. Topping tress creates weak and hazardous limbs

New shoots grow off the limbs that were topped. They grow very quickly and are attached to the outer layer of the limb rather than to the interior layer. As a result, these limbs are extremely weak and prone to breaking.

4. Topping trees have a high hidden cost

You may get a low price on topping but if your tree survives it can require

reduction in those fast growing shoots quicker than you planned.  All those shoots are also potential storm hazards. If the wind is out!

5. Topping causes trees to be an ugly sight

Topping your trees leaves unsightly stubs and destroys the natural form of the tree. What is a tree without a leaf-bearing crown? A trunk.  Ever driven by a house and said, " Look at the beautiful Silver Maple trunk! "


Arbor Care of East Tennessee LLC
Providing Tree Care in Knoxville, TN!
7676 Lakeland Dr
Knoxville, TN 37772

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