Tree Topping

Did you know? Tree topping is illegal and is finable up to $500! Experts agree don't top that tree!


The City of Lake Saint Louis has a Tree Preservation Ordinance that includes the prohibition of the practice of topping trees. This is defined as, "the indiscriminate removal of tree branches to stubs or lateral branches that are not large enough to assume the terminal role." Other names for it include "heading," "tipping," "rounding over" and "shaping." Whatever you call it, it is the worst thing you can do to a tree.

The City Ordinance section that pertains to topping reads as follows:

Section 245.060 Tree Care & Maintenance 

E. Tree Topping by any persons or firms engaged in the business or occupation of pruning, treating or removing any public or private tree is unlawful and punishable by a fine of five hundred dollars ($500) per offense.


Proper pruning can remove excessive growth without the problems topping creates. In addition, many arborists say that topping is the worst thing you can do for the health of a tree. It starves the tree by drastically reducing its food-making ability and makes the tree more susceptible to insects and disease.

Companies performing tree work in the City of Lake Saint Louis must follow the American National Standard Institute A300-Standard Practices for Woody Plant Maintenance and are specifically prohibited from topping trees.