Losing your view? Why tree topping (lopping) doesn’t work!


tree topping northern beaches

Ask Chris, Northern Beaches Arborist and Horticulturist.

“I have recently bought a property that has water views but there is a fairly large tree right in the middle of our outlook. Is it possible to cut the top of the tree off by about 2 – 3 metres? We don’t want the whole tree gone as the lower section gives us privacy from the street.”

At least several times a month I am contacted by Northern Beaches residents asking some variation of the question above.  Each time, I explain the problems that so often occur from tree topping (or ‘tree lopping’ as it is also called).

Problems with tree topping / lopping?

Tree topping, or ‘tree lopping’ as it is commonly referred to, is the practice of removing whole tops of trees or large branches, leaving lateral branches that are too small to assume the role of a terminal leader. Other common terms for this practice include ‘tipping’ or ‘heading’.

Not only is it a form of pruning banned from all council regulations but it is common knowledge in the industry that it is harmful to the tree.

To put it simply, when a tree is topped, the loss of such a large leaf area needs to be replaced by the tree to survive. If the tree does not have enough stored energy reserves, it may be seriously weakened or die.

This regrowth is also weakly attached and can become quite dangerous if left. It also causes decay. On the limbs and trunk that was once sheltered from direct sunlight, they are now exposed to the sun and may suffer from sunburn, which can then lead to cankers (a type of fungi), splitting bark and death of limbs.

Topping your tree will also cost you more in the long term as the new regrowth after topping grows very quickly. So within a short period of time, the tree will be obstructing your view once again. In some species, it will be denser than before.

This means to keep your view, the tree would have to be topped every year, jeopardising the tree’s health making it more hazardous in the long term which then results in escalating costs in trying to rectify this problem.

We have had many clients over the years who have asked us to top their trees for views and in every case we have recommended thinning of the tree canopy as an alternative. Clients have always been extremely happy with the end result. With this technique, you have your views and retain a healthy and safe tree.

— Chris Allchin, Arborist and Horticulturist. 

Got a plant or tree health question for Chris?

For advice on how you can maintain happy and healthy trees on your property and neighbourhood, don’t hesitate to contact Chris direct or scroll down to complete the online enquiry form below. Chris is passionate about the environment and is always happy to impart his expertise in plant care to his clients.

arborist northern beaches

About Banksia Arborcare

All tree services Northern Beaches and North Shore Sydney.

Chris Allchin, owner of Banksia Arborcare, is a qualified arborist who has undertaken 8 years of study in arboriculture to gain a broad and varied understanding of tree and plant care. A member of the National Arborists Association of Australia & International Society of Arboriculture, Chris has years of experience in a wide range of tree services, making Banksia Arborcare is a trusted choice in providing trusted landscaping advice and solutions.

Affordable and reliable tree services

Safe and reliable tree services.

The team at Banksia Arborcare use only the highest quality, most advanced equipment to ensure all our tree services are safe, reliable and completed on time. We always try to endeavour to educate the public on the significant positives of maintaining a green environment and as a result, we always perform our tree services with the environment in mind.

Arboriculture is a dangerous profession and Banksia Arborcare follow all Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines;

  • The Banksia Arborcare team wear protective clothing during emergency tree removal and use well-maintained equipment;
  • Removal of small and large trees, leaving the area neat and tidy. Banksia Arborcare can offer experience advice on the planting of new trees and they can supply and plant trees;
  • All pruning work complies with Australian Standard AS 4373;
  • Stump grinding – unattractive stumps can be turned into fine mulch and used in the garden;
  • They will discuss any problematic trees you may have and suggest an appropriate course of action.

Arborist reports.

Chris and the team at Banksia Arborcare are leading Northern Beaches arborists who have the necessary Level 5 qualification to prepare any arborist report.

Our arborists can often save problem trees.

Trees make our world a better place, but sometimes they can cause problems, and emergency tree removal becomes necessary. That’s why we recommend you employ an arborist to regularly inspect your trees to predict and, importantly, prevent serious tree problems from arising.

When you suspect a tree problem, whether it’s sick or dangerous, in most instances a tree be saved with just a few maintenance steps.


For advice on how you can maintain happy and healthy trees on your property and neighbourhood, don’t hesitate to contact Chris direct or scroll down to complete the online enquiry form below. Chris is passionate about trees and the environment and is always happy to impart his expertise in plant care to his clients.

The team at Banksia Arborcare service Sydney’s Northern Beaches, North Shore and Northern Sydney areas 7 days a week.