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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 could 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 a tree and replacement with a more suitable selection for that 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 dominance from a tree.
  • Topping violates Palm Beach County landscape code and could become a large expense if found in violation.
  • 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 a 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 restore a tree and return it to a more natural state after topping has been performed, which could save you from having to remove the topped tree and install a replacement.
  • Restoring a tree takes a series of prunings over a 2-10 year period depending on the size and species of the tree.
  • The epicormic growth which forms the crown after topping has been done is more susceptible to damage in high wind because of its weak connection, but the connection point will strengthen over time if proper restoration pruning has been maintained.

Call for a FREE ESTIMATE (561) 846-0123

Michael Casey

FL-9268A