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Fixing a topped tree

How Often Should You Prune To Fix A Topped Tree?

July 25, 2019
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If you’ve read up on the steps to repairing a topped tree, you know all about the important role pruning plays in the process.

But it’s not just the act of pruning that helps a tree recover; the timing matters, too. For instance, how long after a tree is topped should you wait to start the repair process? And, as one Davey blog reader asked, how many times per year should a topped tree be pruned?

Help your tree get on the road to recovery with the timing tips below.

Pruning Tips for Correcting a Topped Tree

With patience and proper pruning, it’s possible to bring a topped tree back to good health.

Should I Wait To Start Corrective Pruning?

Yep, you’ll want to give your tree a little breathing room before starting the repair process.

After a tree is topped, it grows a bunch of thin limbs called sprouts. That’s the tree’s way of trying to replenish energy after the stressful and draining topping process. You’ll want to let those sprouts grow out for at least one to two years. That way, you’ll have a clear picture of which spouts to prune, and which to keep, once you start the corrective pruning process.

How Often Should I Prune My Topped Tree?

No two trees respond the same way to being topped. So it’s hard to pinpoint a pruning schedule that works across the board. The type of tree you have, the height it was trimmed down to and its overall health all affect the recovery process.

Some trees will quickly send out new shoots, and they’ll need more frequent pruning to keep up with the growth. Other trees are slow to grow out, and require more down time between prunes. And for all trees, the time of year should be taken into account. There are things to keep in mind before attempting to prune a tree in summer or trim a tree in spring.

In general, topped trees should be pruned once every one or two years until a decent structure is established. If you’re looking for a more accurate timetable for your tree, get in touch with a certified arborist in your area. An arborist can provide a detailed assessment of your particular tree and recommend the best pruning schedule.

Use this step-by-step guide to help a topped tree regain natural form.

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