Tree topping is a detrimental occurrence commonly found across the United States. Topping,1or heading, is the practice of severely pruning the top branches of a tree, drastically reducing the size of the tree. People often top trees as a way to avoid power lines, because they have always done it, they fear branches falling down, or they are trying to remove vines. This practice, performed with good intentions, actually damages the tree physically and aesthetically. Once a tree is topped, decay sets in, new branches are structurally weaker and more prone to fall, and the tree loses its symmetry and integrity.
Areas of Interest: Networking, Looking Around, Teaching
Ingredients: Comfortable shoes, pen and paper, a good eye
Directions: The purpose of this activity is to deter the unhealthy and costly practice of tree topping. Begin by determining how common tree topping is in your area. It may not be present at all or it may be the community norm. You will not know without looking. Select an area — your street, block or neighborhood — and take a walk. Look for trees that have many cuts on high branches. Tally the number of topped trees. Alert your newspapers to the damages caused by topping, or create a flyer promoting the elimination of tree topping in your community.
As fall approaches, people often prune their dormant trees. Keep your eyes out for a person beginning to prune and remind them that topping is detrimental.
To exist as a nation, to prosper as a state, and to live as a people, we must have trees.
– Theodore Roosevelt