What it Is
Topping, also known as hat racking, is a type of pruning where most of the canopy is removed from a tree, leaving mostly branch stubs.
The most common reason given for topping and hat racking is to reduce the tree’s size and make it safer. However, removal of branches and leaving stubs disfigures the tree and cuts off the tree’s ability to manufacture nutrients. Also, topping to control height and spread of a tree has just the opposite effect, as it causes rapid new growth that is far more dense than normal growth and is much more weakly attached.
Therefore, the tree returns to its original height in a very short time and with a far denser crown. Topping initiates decay in the trunk and main branches and attracts wood boring insects. Never top a tree or allow anyone to top one of your trees. Topping is equivalent to butchering a tree. Competent arborists do not top trees.
Topping is a violation in Miramar.