Is it really bad to 'top' trees?

There is a common misconception that topping a tree will "revive" it. This is simply not true and no one should be convinced to the contrary by anyone still trying to sell the so called "service" of topping. Without question, topping any species of tree (especially large, mature shade trees) is a harmful practice that almost always leads to structural defects and functional stress. Structural defects can lead to limb and branch failures that, on their own, can damage surrounding property. Severe enough limb and branch failures not properly addressed with pruning can lead to internal decay in trees which only worsens the tree's condition over time, both structurally and functionally. Functional stress can leave trees more susceptible to outside pathogens which can and often does lead to decline and/or mortality. In essence, there are no known benefits to "topping" trees but there are numerous, negative and often dangerous side-effects.

International Society of Arboriculture

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1. I am a Hoover resident and/or business owner and have questions about the trees on my property. Who should I call?
2. Is it really bad to 'top' trees?
3. Who should I hire to plant, maintain, and/or remove trees at my home or business?
4. What's the big deal about trees?
5. My neighbors topped their Crapemyrtle. Should I top mine?
6. I noticed Hoover is a Tree City USA, Tree City. What does this mean?