Beaverton loves its trees, don’t top yours!

Beaverton loves its trees, don’t top yours!

The city of Beaverton’s Urban Forestry section within the Public works department is responsible for the care and management of the city’s trees. As part of their responsibility, they ask that citizens do not top trees. Tree topping is a harmful method of reducing the size of a tree by arbitrarily removing a majority of tree branches. Topped trees are not only unsightly but they weaken the tree against diseases, insect infestation and weather-related problems. Topping street trees within the public right-of-way or on city of Beaverton property is a code violation (5.05.102) unless it interferes with overhead or utility wires.

When a tree’s leaves are all removed it sends the tree into sort of a survival mode and it grows many shoots to make up for the missing limbs. Trees need their leaves to produce food in the form of carbohydrates which is why it sends out these fast-growing limbs (epicormic growth), which are not as strong as a normal limb. These quick growing limbs become entangled, are difficult to prune, and weak at their connection point and may fail as they increase in size. The topping of a tree also invites many insects and diseases to infect a tree through the open cuts made. This will weaken the tree even more and may even cause it to die in the future.

If canopy reduction is a warranted, a crown reduction can be done by a professional certified arborist. Hiring a certified arborist would be the best option, they will know exactly what maintenance a tree would need to stay healthy for years to come.

For more information, contact the Urban Forestry section within the city’s public works department.

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Beaverton Resource Guide June 2021

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