top of page
  • Aaron Kinvig

Don’t treat your yard like a logging clear cut - Spiral Pruning and Topping Trees.

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

Forestry and Arboriculture, both industries manage trees, but the management plans are very different. While foresters sustainably manage forests for timber harvest the practices that are used for retaining trees left in a recently cleared area should never be used on your property. Topping and Spiral Pruning are used to minimize windthrow in trees that use to be surrounded by a forest and now on the edge of one. Topping may seem like a solution for a tree blocking out light or getting too big but topping creates a bigger problem than what you had.

Problems caused by Topping

- Multiple Regrown Leaders (Tops) that grow from the side of the stem resulting in weak and poorly attached growth.

- Expensive to manage the regrowth (Crown Restore) Topping is quick, dirty and cheap but not in the long run.

- Top Heavy Canopy from multiple lead growth which can cause whole tree failure.

- Stress caused from topping will cause the tree to put on reaction growth to replace the foliage removed meaning less light in your yard and more frequent pruning.

- Large cuts open a pathway for disease, pests and decay which can condemn your tree.

Spiral Pruning is used in forestry to open gaps in the canopy to minimize windthrow but opening up gaps in a canopy may be a solution for the forester, it causes problems for the stewardship of the tree.

Problems caused by Spiral Pruning

- Opens gaps in the canopy resulting in branch failure. Branches in gymnosperm trees (Conifer) need each other to buffer against in the wind, creating gaps in between them removes the buffer and causes branches to fail.

- Removing the inner canopy of a tree leads to lions tailing and branches remaining will become heavily weighted/overextended due to all the trees energy/growth going into them causing branch failure.

Get in contact today to book your appointment with Strathcona Tree Care and our ISA Certified Arborists to discuss alternative solutions for your trees and stewardship of your property.

Spurless Climbing

Spurs are tools used by tree climbers to access a tree for the purpose of removing it. When pruning trees it is arboriculture industry standard for tree climbers to access trees spurless. Spurs cause damage that leaves your trees open to disease, pests and decay it is also unsightly. At Strathcona Tree Care we prune trees by installing a climbing line or access platform (Bucket Truck). Make sure to ask if spurs will be used to prune your trees, ISA Certified Arborists should say NO. Get in Contact with Strathcona Tree Care to discuss how we access your trees.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page