No wait, please don’t! Topping is a popular but damaging method of controlling a tree’s height. Certified arborists and anyone with half an iota of aesthetic sense rail against this practice, and yet it persists. Why? Ignorance, most likely.
Sadly, these young-ish trees in my neighborhood, in no danger of growing into power lines or falling over onto anyone’s house, were recently topped (i.e. butchered), by “professional” gardeners no less. It makes me so sad and angry to see them when I pass by, to think of how nice they used to look and how ridiculous they seem now.
Trees for the parking strip need to be carefully chosen with the site’s limitations in mind. Of course, this is true of any site, and any tree. If you don’t want a tall tree, plant a dwarf variety! You can’t just hack off the top every few years and expect it to look, and be, fine.
I will freely admit that I know next to nothing about correct pruning and always make a hash of anything I try to shape. For trees, I leave it to the pros, the real ones, certified arborists who really, truly know what they’re doing!
In other tree-pruning news, did you read this squib in the New Yorker about “citizen arborists”?