I had a note the other day from landscape architect Larry Moss decrying the recent butchering of some eucalyptus trees on Angeles Crest. I haven't seen them (I'm out of town this week), but I gather from his comments that someone engaged in the all-too-common practice of topping trees instead of properly pruning them.
It's quicker work to just hack back the nether reaches of a tall specimen instead of taking the time to choose the right branches, but topping weakens the tree. It sets up the potential for disease, and, in the long term, can make the tree more dangerous than it was before. It turns a once-beautiful tree downright ugly. Have you ever driven along Lynnhaven and Princess Anne right after the liquidambars on one side of the street have been topped to keep them from damaging the power lines overhead? It's a ghastly appearance.
"They'll blame it on the wires . . . [but] have they every heard of lacing out?" Moss writes of whoever took a chain saw to the eucalyptus. Then he describes a deodar, one of La Cañada's "protected" trees that he spotted on Alta Canyada Road, north of El Vago: "There's one deodora that looks like it was amputated."