City of Carmel’s Recommendations for Tree Pruning

With trees in the full bloom of Summer, it’s important to keep your lawn and garden looking trim and neat. Many Carmel people take to their yards each weekend, putting pride into their poseys and pansies. But make sure you aren’t doing more harm than good. When it comes to pruning trees, there are a few important tips everyone should follow to ensure the tree stay in good health. Follow the guidelines set by the City of Carmel for Tree Pruning to maintain the beauty and value of homes and businesses in the Carmel community. When working in the yard or with landscape professionals, think about the dangers of “tree topping.”

Tree topping is a wide spread practice in pruning trees. Unfortunately, this method does more harm than help to the tree. Tree topping can cause damage and even death to the trees in your yard. Topping means to excessively and arbitrarily remove all part of the tree above a certain height without regard to the tree’s structure or growth pattern. People do this because of a number of myths. Many believe that if a tree is too tall that indicates a poor species selection, improper placement or that the tree might cause damage in storms.

Many believe that topping reduces the risk that a tree may damage your house in a storm. However, the reduction in height only reduces this risk temporarily. In fact, it increases the risk that the tree will cause damage in the event of a storm, because tree topping makes it structurally weaker. For similar reasons, some lawn workers engage in tree topping because of nearby power lines. There are better ways to resolve danger issues between power lines and trees including better tree placement and different pruning techniques.

When a tree is topped, instead of pruned, it experiences a number of issues. The practice destroys the balance between the roots and the crown of the tree. Sometimes, as a result, bark tissues become exposed to the sun resulting in what is known as “sunscald,” where the trunk develops burned and diseased cankers. Often this method leaves gaping wounds in the trunk of the tree that cannot heal, leading to decay that will spread throughout the tree. Tree that have been topped are actually more likely to blow over in a storm. Plus this method ruins the natural beauty and form of the tree.

Instead of tree topping, make sure your trees are planted in the right place. It is possible to remove a tree and replace it in another part of your yard. To ensure healthy trees, follow proper pruning procedures. Remove limbs that are attached to larger branch or trunk. Consider wind resistance in the selective removal of limbs.

In short, the City of Carmel does not recommend the practice of Tree Topping, which can ruin trees in the long term. Instead, the city urges green thumbed citizens to consult with a certified arborist to receive professional tree care. Look for companies who have professionals certified by the Society of Arboriculture.

After a hard day’s work in the yard, treat your family to any of the many Carmel events in Carmel downtown. Or grab a delicious dinner at any of these Carmel restaurants. After your meal, cool off with a refreshing drink from any of these Carmel bars. Stay tuned to for all the latest on fun things to do in Indianapolis and fun things to do in Carmel. Get out in Indy and its surrounding suburbs and find some fun! Make the most of the Circle City!