Homeowners' Opinions on the Practice and Effects of Topping Trees
David D. Close, John W. Groninger, Jean C. Mangun, and Paul L. Roth
Abstract: Utility (involuntary) and voluntary tree topping continues to be a common practice despite the efforts of various anti-topping advertising campaigns. A survey questionnaire was conducted to gain insight into homeowner motivations and knowledge of the consequences of topping, whether topping is consumer or service driven, and whether sociodemographics are related to levels of satisfaction with topping. Results indicate that topping is viewed more favorably by less educated homeowners and is consumer driven. This study also revealed people do not understand the consequences of topping. Differences also were apparent between voluntary and involuntary topping with the latter group more likely to recognize the negative effects of topping on tree health. Future anti-topping, advertising campaign creators should use information from this study to direct their message toward the most appropriate audiences.
Keywords: Topping; homeowner opinion; community forestry; anti-topping campaigns; utility line clearance.