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Can tree roots safely be pruned?

  • Tree roots 1″ in diameter and larger are considered main structural roots maintaining stability of the tree.
  • Cutting roots 1″ in diameter or larger put substantial stress on the tree and my cause it to decline or die.
  • If root pruning is required it should only be performed at a distance equal or greater than 5 times the diameter of the tree being pruned.
  • Root pruning leads to an increased liability due to the compromised stability.
  • Alternatives to root pruning should be used if possible.
  • Proper tree selection during new construction can avoid the need for root pruning in the future.
  • Younger trees respond better to root pruning than mature trees.
  • Removal of the tree and replacement with a more suitable selection for the area is most often the safest solution to mitigate an invasive root system.

What is the difference between heading and topping a tree?

  • Heading reduces the height properly by making the cut at a lateral branch at least 1/3 the diameter of the parent stem.
  • Topping reduces the height in a improper or illegal way by removing most if not all the apical buds from the tree.
  • Topping violates Palm Beach County landscape code and could become a large expense if found in violation compared to proper pruning.
  • Heading maintains health and beauty of the tree.
  • Topping greatly compromises the health and could lead to death; it permanently ruins the aesthetic value of the tree.

Can a tree be brought back to a natural state after topping?

  • If you are found in violation by Town/City or County or simply want to try and save a tree which has been topped, contract a professional arborist.
  • In some cases corrective pruning can save a tree and return it to a more natural state after topping has been performed, which could save you from having to remove and replace the tree if you have been found in violation.
  • Corrective pruning usually takes a series of pruning over the period of a few years.
  • The epicormic growth which forms the crown after topping has been done is more susceptible to damage in inclement weather because of weak connective tissue, but it will strengthen over time if proper restoration pruning has been maintained.


Call for a FREE ESTIMATE (561) 846-0123

Michael Casey