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topping off bradford pears???

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by dirtbikernas, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. dirtbikernas

    dirtbikernas LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    In my neighborhood the commerical guys have started to top off the Bradford Pears. A lot of my neighbors asked me if I could do those kind of jobs and I told them I would look into it and see if I can. I was wondering around how much should I charge to top off these trees, and take the limbs off to the dumb?
  2. treedoc1

    treedoc1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 319

    Why bother topping the trees?

    make one cut at the base and save your clients the time and expense of watching the trees slowly decline

    TURF DOCTOR LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,138

    my 2 cents stay out of the tree biz,my experience with trees if you bid a job at 500 double the bid.
  4. TrentSteel

    TrentSteel LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    As an arborist, I strongly advise against tree topping. It is an extremely detrimental way of pruning a tree. It creates large wounds that will not seal properly and will result in an ugly, dangerous stump. It will also make you look like a complete hack. Just my 2cents
  5. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Posts: 793


    I agree.

  6. i_plant_art

    i_plant_art LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 558

    tree TOPPING is the WORSTH thing that you can possible do to a tree OMG i cant believe a tree company would do such a thing. wait until this comming fall, next year , three years from now and then take a look at the health of the tree, not to mention the UGLY look it will have. quickly run to the garage, get the chain saw, and cut the trees down. this is the best thing you could do for the trees, besides convincing them to stop work. tree TOPPING is the absolute worst thing you can do to a tree.
  7. Gene $immons

    Gene $immons LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,028

    I can't believe that this is such a common practice.

    People pay to have their trees disfigured??

    I see these trees that have been topped and they look terrible.
  8. Neal Wolbert

    Neal Wolbert LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 407

    Bradford Pear is a bad tree and will never be good but topping sure won't help, it'll just makes things worse and super ugly...yuk. Be smart and tell folks to remove and replace with a better flowering tree like some of the new Crabapple varieties. They'll spend less money in the long run and have nice trees to enjoy. Check out treesaregood.com, ISA's website for good info. Neal
  9. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Posts: 793

    Topping Stresses Trees

    Topping often removes 50-100% of the leaf-bearing crown of a tree. Since the leaves are the food
    factories of a tree, this can temporarily starve a tree. The severity of the pruning triggers a
    sort of survival mechanism. The tree activates latent buds forcing the rapid growth of multiple
    shoots below each cut. The tree needs to put out a new crop of leaves as soon as possible. If a
    tree does not have the stored energy reserves to do this, it will be seriously weakened and may

    A stressed tree is more vulnerable to insect and disease infestations. Large, open pruning
    wounds expose the sapwood and heartwood to attacks. The tree may lack sufficient energy to
    chemically defend the wounds against invasion, and some insects are actually to the chemical
    signals trees release.

    Topping Causes Decay

    The preferred location to make a pruning cut is just beyond the branch collar at the branch's
    point of attachment. The tree is biologically equipped to close such a wound, provided the tree
    is healthy enough and the wound is not too large. Cuts made along a limb between lateral
    branches create stubs with wounds that the tree may not be able to close. The exposed wood
    tissues begin to decay. Normally, a tree will "wall off" or compartmentalize the decaying
    tissues, but few trees can defend the multiple severe wounds caused by topping. The decay
    organisms are given a free path to move down through the branches.

    Topping Can Lead to Sunburn

    Branches within a tree's crown produce thousands of leaves to absorb sunlight. When the leaves
    are removed, the remaining branches and trunk are suddenly exposed to high levels of light and
    heat. The result may be sunburn of the tissues beneath the bark. This can lead to cankers, bark
    splitting, and death of some branches.

    Topping Creates Hazards

    The survival mechanism that causes a tree to produce multiple shoots below each topping cut
    comes at great expense to the tree. These shoots develop from buds near the surface of the old
    branches. Unlike normal branches that develop in a socket of overlapping wood tissues, these
    new shoots are anchored only in the outermost layers of the parent branches.

    The new shoots grow very quickly, as much as 20 feet in one year, in some species. Unfortunately,
    the shoots are very prone to breaking, especially during windy conditions. The irony is that
    while the goal was to reduce the tree's height to make it safer, it has been made more hazardous
    than before.

  10. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    I'm wondering if the word "topping" was misused by the original poster. I ask this because Bradford Pears, as most of us know, grow a very dense crown that catches a lot of wind which breaks its weak branching (if not the trunk). If there is a consistent effort in this neighborhood to prune pears specifically, I would think it is to thin the crown rather than topping the already weak trees.


    Is it topping that they are doing, or is it some other type of pruning?

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