There are some ‘tree services’ with very nice bucket trucks, chippers,chip trucks and stump grinders. They look professional, don’t they? Well, sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Following are pictures of recent hack jobs. Two of the trees are sugar maples in Sandpoint, and the other a Norway maple in Bonners Ferry.
I’ve observed these sugar maples over many years. Lovely trees, yet showing some signs of decline in recent years, likely a result of being located next to a road and driveway. There are treatments which may restore some of their lost vigor, such as mulching.
Anti-topping speech….skip to the photos if you get bored.
Unfortunately, the trees were topped. Topping is an old, discredited practice which may cause many problems for the tree. Each wound is an entry point for harmful insects and pathogens. Trees respond to wounds by converting stored energy reserves into pathogen resistant barriers, attempting to wall off the affected area. This is called compartmentalization. It’s energy intensive. Lots of wounds, such as you see in the pictures, mean lots of compartmentalization. This depletes the stored energy reserves in the tree. Not good for an already stressed tree! Much of the canopy has been lost (leaves are the energy/food source for the tree via photosynthesis). The maples will develop sprouts around each cut trying replace what’s been lost. Instead of one branch, there will now be several. Or not,…..resulting in an unsightly dead stub. The sprouts grow quickly the first year, and less so in succeeding years. They often develop weak branch attachments which can lead to future hazards. Topped trees are ugly, especially in winter.
So why do “supposed”professionals continue this ancient, destructive and thoroughly discredited practice of tree topping ? $$$? You decide.
What’s the lesson. Check their credential’s. An ISA Board Certified Master Arborist (me), or an ISA Certified Arborist are both required to sign a code of ethics. It’s not a total guarantee of ethical behavior, but a place to start. As a test, ask if they top trees. If the answer is yes, send them down the road.