Threats to Trees

Tree Topping

Here is an excellent summary of “Why Topping Hurts Trees” by the International Society of Arboriculture.

Another good publication from the Virginia Cooperative Extension, “A Guide to Successful Pruning: Stop Topping Trees!”

  • Stresses Trees by removing the leaf-bearing crown
  • Leads to decay
  • Can lead to sunburn
  • Development of weak shoots can create a hazard
  • Mutilated branches are UGLY
  • Can be expensive

Human Error

  • Improper Planting, Watering
  • Volcano Mulching
  • Pruning Mistakes
  • Root Damage
  • Construction

Environmental Conditions

  • Drought or Floods
  • Fire
  • Lightning


Examples of insects in our region and information about them:

Spotted Lanternfly
Emerald Ash Borer
Gypsy Moth
Hemlock Wooly Adegid
Southern Pine Beetle


Oak Wilt


Invasive Species of Trees in Virginia

  •  Chinaberrytree (Melia azadarach)
  •  Princesstree, Paulownia (Paulownia tomentosa)
  •  Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)
  •  Silktree, Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin)
  •  Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)

Click here for more information about non-native invasive plants (shrubs, vines, grasses, etc.) of southern forests.