Selective Limbing verses Topping Trees

Working on tops in Lynden WA

Working on tops in Lynden WA

Topping trees is a heated topic in the tree industry.  I have met other tree professionals that will not top trees under any circumstance, and others that have no problem lopping off 30′ of a giant doug fir or cedar.

For some reason here in Whatcom County we haven’t pursued selective limbing as an option to topping.  Selective limbing is exactly what it sounds like; taking out selective limbs to improve the health of the tree, let more light into an area, and reduce the sail affect of the top. Thus reducing the risk of the top breaking out.

Personally, I am not excited about having a large tree next to the house. I have seen where branches have gone through roofs during storms, trees tip over and crush through houses, branches spear through roofs, gutters damaged, and gutters and roofs destroyed from moss and debris.  Thank goodness I wasn’t the cause of any of these events.   With proper branch removal, a homeowner can reduce the chances of these events happening.  There is no way to eliminate the treat but you can really reduce the chances.

Trees have characteristics that are common with each other.  Maples for example, will shed a huge branch, do mostly to the excess weight of the branch.  It may be as healthy of a tree as can be, but the weight distribution causes the branch to break off.  Poplars will loose stems that can become spears on the way down and puncture right through roofs.  Willows will have branches break off, just like the maple.  And birch and alders will start to die from the tops and large pieces will eventually break off.

By removing key branches, trees can be made to enjoy a long life and create a safer environment for your family.  

A lot of times trees are shaped and reduced to keep the tree from growing over roofs, roads, and the mess the leaves make cause many people to want to just eliminate the whole tree.  At least by just reducing the size of the tree, it can remain for years of enjoyment.

Wildwood Resort called us last January and we spent seven weeks limbing 200 cedars.  The cedars were so full of branches that the resort would be dark by 3:00pm everyday.  Now the light shines through, and the trees have more resources to improve the health of what’s remaining.  

Topping trees can get contentious between neighbors.  Recently we were asked about topping and thinning some douglas firs in Lynden, WA.  The neighbor with the most concern spoke with the contractor before buying the home and was assured the firs would be taken out.  He and his wife went away for a couple of weeks just after purchasing the home and when they returned the foundation for the home next to them was in but the trees were not gone.  When the contractor was asked about why he didn’t remove the trees he just said he changed his mind.  Well, that has resulted in this couple being terrified every wind storm.  The doug firs are not very big yet but they will be.  They are around 80′ tall right now.  There are nine of them in a row between the houses.  Pretty unusual for firs to break out tops but it happens and the concerned neighbor doesn’t want the top of one of them to come crushing down through the house. Don’t think that will happen but can’t blame him for being concerned.  The owner of the trees says let them grow.  Terrible place for a row of doug firs but they’re hers to do with as she likes.DigLynden.jpg

So at the end of the day, I am for doing what the property owner wants done. I give my recommendations, which seldom involves topping, and go from there.  

Hope you’re having a great day. If we can help with any of your tree service needs, just call. 360-318-9795 and schedule a free estimate.

Thank you….


About timbento

I believe that, " ...all things work together for the good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His Purpose." Romans 8:28
This entry was posted in Tree Maintenance and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.