Why You Should Never Lop Your Tree: Words From a Brisbane Arborist

Why You Should Never Lop Your Tree: Words From a Brisbane Arborist

Tree lopping is one of the many forms of tree maintenance that’s commonly associated with arborists. This can be terribly misleading, however, because arborists are NOT tree loppers – at least not if they’re any good. That’s because tree lopping often does more harm than good, and it’s long been considered an unacceptable practice by national tree associations and groups of qualified arborists.


At River City Trees, we’ll never resort to lopping your tree. As qualified and experienced arborists, we know that tree lopping can harm your tree’s health and potentially lead to more problems down the line. Instead, we offer other techniques and alternatives that have proven to be more effective and beneficial to your trees.


If you’re about to hire an arborist or a tree services company, then it’s best to make sure that they don’t lop your tree for whatever reason. Here’s why you should avoid lopping your tree as much as possible:

difference between tree lopping and pruning


  1. It stresses your tree

Unlike proper pruning, lopping often involves cutting away significant sections of your tree. This changes your tree’s crown-to-root ratio, which, in turn, affects its ability to create food and energy. With much less branches and leaves available, your tree’s ability to photosynthesise sunlight is considerably reduced. This not only stresses your tree considerably, but it also affects its health and may even introduce unstable regrowth patterns that are difficult to manage.


In severe cases of tree lopping, the loss of significant amounts of leaves and branches may even lead to your tree dying because of energy deprivation.



  1. It poses certain dangers and risks

At first glance, it may seem like tree lopping provides plenty of benefits to homeowners. From quickly being able to shape your trees to the removal of unproductive branches and parts, it can indeed provide quick and noticeable results. But ask any tree services specialist, and the risks of tree lopping often far outweigh its benefits. This view is shared across Queensland and the rest of the country, with many Brisbane and Sunshine Coast arborists agreeing on this.


First is the danger posed with the tree lopping activity itself. Tree lopping is clearly a high risk activity, often involving work high above ground and in the midst of heavy tree parts and branches. This poses certain risks and dangers to the workers who’ll be doing it, no matter how experienced they may be.


Secondly, tree lopping also promotes the growth of branches and parts that are less stable and more likely to fall later on. Unlike branches that have developed together with the tree itself, the parts and branches that grow from lopped sections are significantly weaker and more unstable. This makes them more likely to break and fall away in the future, whether because of a strong gust of wind or any other external factor. Consequently, this exposes those around the tree to the risk of getting hit or injured by falling branches and tree parts.


With risks like these, tree lopping often isn’t worth it for home and property owners, even if it readily provides results.


tree lopping damages the tree


  1. It’s only a temporary solution

Tree lopping may provide immediate and noticeable results, but like the benefits that it provides, it’s also very much short-lived. Any proper arborist or tree services specialist will tell you that tree lopping is only a temporary solution, at least for the purposes that most people often consider it for (i.e. aesthetic reasons). More often than not, there’s a better and more effective solution than tree lopping for what you need. For example, in some cases, it might be more effective to hire a tree removal service rather than a tree lopper.


That’s because once you lop a tree, you’ll often have to continue lopping it to remove the wild and unstable growth that usually follows it. This makes tree lopping an inefficient solution that makes it a poor choice for most situations.


Due to its temporary nature, tree lopping can also be a very expensive form of tree maintenance. By itself, tree lopping is already a costly activity. But considering that you’ll often have keep lopping your tree once you’ve started doing it, then it’s definitely much more expensive than you may have initially thought.



  1. It introduces harmful conditions to trees

Most people don’t realise that tree lopping not only damages a tree’s health, but also exposes it to a variety of harmful conditions.


Lopped sections, for example, are more vulnerable to tree diseases and other similar conditions that could harm the overall health of the tree. That’s because the tree’s natural defence system is often weaker in these lopped sections, making the spread of tree diseases easier.


The same holds true for insect and pest infestations. Because the tree’s natural protective layers are often weak (or even absent) in these lopped sections, they become more prone to being taken over by insects and pests.


Aside from this, tree lopping can also cause any existing decay to spread even faster throughout the tree.



  1. It could devalue your property

Let’s face it: lopped trees are unsightly and visually unappealing. Whereas healthy, fully grown trees can increase your property’s value based on appearance alone, lopped trees often cause the opposite effect, significantly decreasing its value instead. No matter how beautiful the rest of your property may be, there’s no question that a lopped tree will negatively affect its market value.


That’s because lopped trees usually need additional maintenance. Looks and appearances aside, there are simply several costs tied to tree lopping that many knowledgeable buyers may be unwilling to take on.


Clearly, when it comes to standard tree maintenance and health, tree lopping should never be an option. And while there are certainly special cases when it may be appropriate, the fact is there are plenty of better alternatives for most other situations.


Proper pruning, for example, can shape and structure your tree just as well as tree lopping can. In fact, when done by qualified and experienced specialist like us, it often produces much better results. Not to mention it’s significantly healthier and less stressful for your tree.


If a tree removal company recommends that you lop your tree without any good or reasonable explanation, then that’s a sign to be cautious of them. Good arborists know that tree lopping is a bad practice and not an acceptable standard for tree maintenance.



Want to know more about why you should never lop your trees? Contact River City Trees and we’ll fill you in. We’re specialist arborists who have been providing tree services to the northside and southside of Brisbane and Sunshine Coast wide for years, and we are happy to share our experience and recommendations when it comes to shaping or structuring your tree.







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