What is Tree Topping?

Tree topping is a form of pruning that entails the removal of the top parts of a tree, mainly the central stem and its upper branches. While many people do it for aesthetic purposes, tree topping may damage or kill a tree.

After tree topping, a tree might continue growing by extending several thin branches upwards. These branches are called water sprouts. Since water sprouts are weak, they may occasionally break off and create entry points for infection, leading to a decline in the tree’s health.

Consult the tree service experts in Sandy Springs, GA, before and after carrying out a tree topping exercise for tips on good tree care practices.

When to Carry Out Tree Topping

Although used interchangeably with tree pruning, tree topping is not entirely the same. Tree topping drastically injures a tree and exposes its wound to agents of decay. In contrast, tree pruning helps shape a tree while removing excesses.

Tree topping should not be the first option when you want to create an entry point for light or beautify a surrounding. Proper pruning would do just that. Tree topping is only necessary for the following reasons:

To Avoid Power Lines.

A single tall tree is enough to disrupt a power line and cause an outage or the loss of life (human or animal) if not acted upon fast. The disruption may happen if a tree is growing right below a power line or if it falls on the power lines.

To Reduce the Impact of Storm Damage.

In areas susceptible to storms, trees are easily struck down, and their debris is carried away by the wind and unloaded onto property and roads. In the past, such debris has led to the damage of property and even the loss of human lives.

For Emergency Purposes

It might be hard to conduct a rescue operation or connect power lines in an area with a dense tree canopy. In such time-sensitive matters, forest services might recommend tree topping instead of entirely cutting down the trees.

 How to Top a Tree

  • Depending on where you live or where the trees are, you may need to get a permit
  • Make sure that you have the right gear, e.g., a ladder, helmet, a saw, pruners, and other safety equipment
  • Identify the branches you may want to prune
  • Establish the stem and rest the ladder on it
  • Start with the small, diseased, decaying, or dead branches
  • Proceed to the medium branches while making proper cuts
  • If the pruning hasn’t helped solve your problem, only then you can proceed to tree topping

If you have never topped a tree, seek help from an experienced tree removal expert.

Why Do People Top Trees as Opposed to Pruning


Tree service by pruning is quite expensive and consumes a lot of time. Pruning requires one to carefully remove a tree’s branches and leaves while tree topping takes it out altogether.


Some people have believed that a topped tree is a valuable asset that adds value to a property. This misconception not only damages trees but also the appearance of the neighborhood.

Reach Out to The Tree Removal Experts in Sandy Springs, GA Today!

Some people think tree topping does more harm than good, while others believe there is a proper way of doing it. Still, it is indisputable that the appropriate pruning of trees is necessary in some situations, especially ahead of seasonal weather. Learn more about tree trimming in the winter and prepare your home for upcoming seasonal changes.

Get in touch with SoutheastTree in Sandy Springs, GA, at (770) 977-8733 (TREE) to learn more about tree topping and get your free quote.


SoutheastTree is one of the best, top rated full-service tree removal companies serving the Atlanta, GA area. Our team of trained arborists are experts in the art and science of removing trees.

Contact Us

4710 Lower Roswell Rd. Suite 100
Marietta, GA 30068

Phone : 770-977-8733 (TREE)

24/7 Emergency Tree Removal:
(678) 631-7382

Email : info@southeasttree.com

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