Tree Care and Topping Beliefs, Knowledge, and Practices in Six Western U.S. Cities
Arboriculture and Urban Forestry
A survey of households was conducted in six cities in the interior western United States to determine homeowners’ knowledge of tree biology and tree care and their knowledge and practice of topping. Tree biology and tree care knowledge was low, depending on the specific subject, and few respondents had any formal training in tree care. Respondents’ topping knowledge was moderate to poor if they had topped trees before, regardless of whether they received a topping-related educational brochure. Those who had not previously topped trees were fairly knowledgeable and the brochure increased knowledge in some cases. Topping was fairly commonly practiced, even by those who cared about trees, and often was done for safety and to improve tree appearance and tree health. Amongst those who had topped trees, the survey explored who performed the topping, why it was done, and their satisfaction with the practice. Examples of ways the tree care industry and others may be contributing to misunderstanding, such as inconsistent practices, are discussed. Recommendations are made for changing knowledge and attitudes about tree care as well
Kuhns, M.R., and D. Reiter. 2009. Tree care and topping beliefs, knowledge, and practices in six western U.S. cities. Arboriculture and Urban Forestry 35(3): 122-128.