Stop the Top

TreePeople has been planting and caring for trees all around LA for more than 50 years and we know a thing or two about tree care.

We’re spreading the word about tree “topping,” which is a pruning technique that involves cutting away all or most of the upper branches and leaves on a tree’s crown, and can leave trees susceptible to starvation, disease, disfigurement, and even death. In the process, it also destroys critical shade infrastructure that keeps our communities cooler.

In some cases, topping is unavoidable—like when a tall tree is planted below power lines and other types of pruning aren’t an option. But in many other cases, it’s the result of poor understanding of tree biology or misplaced cosmetic standards.

While many people believe that you need to prune trees annually, that’s simply not true. In reality, mature trees don’t need pruning unless they are Dead, Diseased, Damaged, or have Deranged branches that rub against each other. And if you feel height is an issue, other pruning techniques —like thinning or pollarding—do far less long-term damage to the tree

Please stop topping trees on your property and instead only prune as necessary. If you need to, tell your gardener or landscaping company to stop topping!

Tell your friends, neighbors, landlord, and city officials to STOP THE TOP!

Check out our information and resources below to learn more about proper pruning techniques, and how you can spread the word to help save our urban canopy!

Featured Blog Posts

Pruning 101: the TreePeople guide to proper tree pruning

If you’re a homeowner, a landscaping professional, or someone who just cares a lot about the health of your local trees, you’re probably familiar with the practice of pruning.  In its simplest form, pruning involves removing branches from a tree for a specific purpose. But how often should you be doing this? Which branches should…

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Stop the Top

You’ve undoubtedly seen it, and may aggravate you as you drive by it. The sight of a mature tree that has been cut well below the height it should be reaching. This tree, sadly, has been Topped. It is as unnatural as it seems, a huge trunk with a tiny sphere of leaves. This is,…

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DON’T Make This Tree Pruning Mistake: Q’s to Ask a Professional

This is the third blog in a three part series. Visit part one (on why tree topping is harmful) and two (on when and how much is appropriate to trim) here. So, you’re ready to prune your trees?  Not so fast! Here at TreePeople, we strongly recommend hiring a professional tree trimming service to ensure…

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The 4 D’s: Dead, Diseased, Damaged, or Deranged!

Dead, diseased, damaged, or deranged – think this is not the description of a horror film character? Guess again! At TreePeople, and in the field of arboriculture, they are known as the 4 D’s. It is the simple way to remember what to prune out of a tree to help ensure it is happy and…

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