Common Tree Mistakes

Tree Topping

A topped tree versus a healthy tree, please do not top trees

#1 Topping can cause trees to become hazardous



Why do people top trees?


People don't know how harmful it is to the tree and they see it as a way to decrease the tree's size. Certified arborists and other legitimate landscape professionals do not practice tree topping. 

The biggest reasons people choose to top trees. They want to:

  • Fix trees that interfere with electrical wires.

  • Shorten trees that grow too tall near their home.

  • Prevent the tall tree from coming down in a storm.

These are all good reasons to take action and care for your tree, but tree topping is not the way to do it.

How do I reduce the size of my tree without topping it?


Hire a professional.  Find a City approved contractor or a licensed arborist.

  • Tree topping is never a justifiable pruning practice; it increases tree health problems and is aesthetically unappealing 
  • A topped tree will require more maintenance and has an increased potential to become hazardous 
  • Hazardous trees are a liability and ultimately the property owner is responsible for any damage hazard trees cause

What if I already have a topped tree?


In some cases the tree will have to be removed and replaced. If it is a street tree (a tree between the curb and the street) you may be eligible for the 50-50 Program which helps residents with some of the costs associated with removing and replacing street trees. You will need a tree permit.

Resources


Tree planted too close to a house

#2 Planting too Close to a Building



That tree is little now, but it is going to grow until it reaches its mature height and width. We see many trees removed because they are growing too close to a home.  Avoid this mistake by using the guide below.


 Tree Size  Minimum Spacing from Building
Small Trees (30' or less)
 10'
 Medium Trees (30'-70')
 15'
 Large Trees (70' or more)
 20'

Resources