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Topping Pines

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From: Tony Borowiecki
Mount Pleasant, SC
I have 3 large (50'+tall) pines from 15 feet to 30 feet from my house. I'd like to severely trim them, 1. to minimize wind load in case of severe winds, 2. to lower the amount of needles falling on my roof, 3. prevent damage to my house should they tip in storms/hurricanes. I do not want to just cut them down and replace, and feel that topping and add'nal pruning (limbing) would be an acceptable experiment, even if it results in "non-beautiful" or "non-standard" looking trees. And, if in several to many years the result is that they need to be completely cut down, I'm no worse than completely removing them now. So, can I have 10' - 15' of top taken out of them without them dying virtually immediately? Thanks. An e-mail response would be great.

Extension Message
From: Jay Hayek
Extension Specialist, Forestry
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
Hi Tony:

I would be a complete fool to give you a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" answer to the question without visually assessing the trees, site, and adjacent property(s).

Therefore, you will need to seek advice and technical assistance from a local resource, such as your Extension office, a professional arborist, or your local state forestry agency.

Best of luck!

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