WARNING—Topping is Hazardous to Tree Health (PPFS-OR-W-32)

Topping is the drastic removal or cutting back of large branches in mature trees. The tree is pruned much as a hedge is sheared, and large branches are left as stubs.  Topping damages numerous large, beautiful trees each year in Kentucky. Topped trees are unnatural substitutes for shade trees meant to offer several lifetimes of beauty and enjoyment.

This newly revised fact sheet discusses the reasons trees may be topped, how topping is detrimental to tree health, and alternatives to topping.

WARNING—Topping is Hazardous to Tree Health (PPFS-OR-W-32) is available online.

For additional publications on problems affecting woody ornamentals,   visit the UK Plant Pathology Extension Publications webpage.


By Cheryl Kaiser, Plant Pathology Extension Support, and Paul Vincelli, Plant Pathology Extension Specialist

Posted in Featured Pubs & Videos
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