There’s a plague in the South. Once beautiful trees suddenly lose up to 90% of their branches… leaving only leafless nubs jutting into the air. And the most terrible thing is this is a manmade plague. These trees have been “topped” (“stubbing”, “heading”, “tipping”, “rounding over”).
WHY do people do this???
To start with, it’s just monkey butt ugly. Seriously… is *this* what the owners want to gaze out their windows at… be greeted as they come home by… be the first impression people have of their home?
Besides being ugly, it is terrible for the tree. It weakens it thru starvation as there aren’t enough leaves to support photosynthesis. It weakens the structural integrity of the tree crown by forcing the growth of spindly shoots. It promotes rot and disease entry at the site of the multiple wounds
And it’s dangerous. The tree produces new growth that is only a shoot popped out from the main branch. It is not a branch supported by the powerful trunk of the tree. And these shoots grow FAST (the poor tree is starving… it’s trying to get as many leaf producing branches out there as fast as it can). Shoots can grow 20 feet in the first year after topping. That’s a lot of weight to be supported by the cambium growth area. Guess what happens the first big wind storm?
Oh, did I mention it is ugly? Unless you *want* kindergarten lollipop trees in your yard…