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Question DetailsAsked on 9/16/2012

60 ft from our condo roof on front lawn is a mature maple tree.If it falls in wind or snow, it will hit our house, can it be topped off?

central new jersey, sprawling canopy, sister tree died & removed in 2009, roots still problematic on front lawn; my fear is this mature maple will hit our house. if it can't be topped off (shortened) can a notch be cut in it that will cause it to fell in a direction that will not injured any adjacent cars/ homes or will that kill the tree more rapidly than nature itself? Every time we have a wind storm 55-60 mph and/or an ice storm, I worry. Since it is not my property or my responsibility I don't want to have to pay the tree service but I doubt my village new owners will cover the expense. Should I talk to my State Farm agent?

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4 Answers


I'm no arborist, but I do know that topping techniques are harmful to trees' overall health:

I would recommend you check Angie's List and find a local tree service company with a certified arborist on staff. They would be able to provide their best advice on what you should do with the tree, as well as provide an estimate for any proposed work.

Anecdotally, I have heard some people say that some insurance policies may cover the cost of removing a tree if it reduces the risk of damage to the home, so calling your insurance agent couldn't hurt.


Answered 7 years ago by JP


1st off dont top the tree,its the worst thing you can do. within 4 or 5 yrs its could very well be just as tall if not taller . when you top a tree hard the tree will try to recover and it already has roots put out for a 60ft tree it will grow back up to 2 times as fast as it did to start out. and the suckers (the new growth) is much weaker then before. and no u cant notch it and hope it will fall that way. think about it if a 60mile per hr wind is pushing the tree if its going to go its going the way the wind is pushing it,dont care what you do ,plus it will kill the tree .what kind of maple is it? is it a soft maple? or hard maple.? if its soft well i would take it down. if its a hard maple wouldnt worry as much about it. get someone to look at it 2 or 3 differnt people and if it needs to go then go from there.

Answered 7 years ago by deanminor35


As an ISA Certified Arborist- I would without reservation specifically advise against Topping any "tree" (Tree- noun-a plant having a permanently woody main stem or trunk, ordinarily growing to a considerable height, and usually developing branches at some distance from the ground.) Trees aren't to be confused with bushes, it is permissible to shear, or lower bushes- as long as the bush isn't cut too low into the woody tissues.

Tree topping is defined as the indiscriminate cutting of branches or trunks to a predetermined height without regard for growth patterns. See here for an excellent article " Why topping hurts trees"

The likelihood of causing structural weaknesses associated with "topping" a tree are extremely high. When ever a branch or trunk is cut or breaks mid way between what are termed "nodes", the tree has extreme difficulty in producing "wound wood" or "callus tissue". Thus, leaving the exposed tissues open for up to several years, during which time bacteria invades these tissues and decay begins. Often, the resulting "re-growth" from this sort of injury occurs from what are termed "epicormic buds" these are buds that exist just under the surface of the bark in most deciduous trees (trees that shed their leaves seasonally), The resulting growth from drastic wounding from topping are called "watersprouts" and are most often interperated as signs of stress.

In many states across the country, topping is considered an act of vandalization. In some states, a person or tree service, that is convicted of this sort of criminal activity of wounding trees, may be fined or imprisioned.

I would suggest you contact an ISA Certified Arborist to access your situation, and also ask if the arborist if they have the "TRAQ" Tree Risk Assessment Qualification. This could assist if you must document any structural issues with the tree and submit the report to the proper authorities, in your area.



Answered 7 years ago by outonalimbts


Tree from my roof

Answered 3 years ago by AleciaJ

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