Shown here is an example of a topped tree courtesy of Tree City USA.

Cameron finalizes tree topping ban

Tree topping in Cameron is officially against the city code of ordinances thanks to a unanimous vote by the Cameron City Council.

Although banning tree topping, which Cameron Public Works Director Drew Bontrager as indiscriminate trimming of tree trunks and limbs, Bontrager added residents will not need a permit from the city before pruning their trees.

“This does not prohibit the pruning of trees on your own individual property. That’s the most important thing,” Bontrager said. “There are proper methods to reduce the crown or size of your tree. That’s the majority of the time what topping is used for - the owner believes the tree has become too large for the property or the crown is too big. It’s hanging over a house or an electric line or a neighbor’s yard so they want to reduce the crown, but there are many, many different methods and alternatives for proper pruning methods for reducing the crown of the tree.”

The banning of tree topping coincides with the city seeking a Tree City USA designation. As part of the designation, the city would become eligible for a variety of grants.

According to a press release by city officials, [Cameron] would like to become a Tree City USA is because such a designation commits the City to a number of key arboreal accomplishments. Among these are that it helps protect public investment in City infrastructure, and it also helps create a healthier and more resilient environment. It helps guard residents from injury from improper tree maintenance, and it assists with protecting property values. Additionally, this designation also opens up more grant opportunities. And finally, it would help maintain the attractiveness and economic vitality of the city in addition to encouraging environmentally responsive development practices.

“What happens when you [top a tree] is that branch, that stub that was left off, shoots - because the tree is stressed - grow out with only a thin layer of bark,” Bontrager said. “As those branches grow fast, exponentially fast, the weight of those branches can’t support it so they end up breaking and causing more risk in the long run. Another really important factor with topping a tree is it really stresses the tree and when a tree is stressed it is more prone to disease and insects which spread to healthy trees on an adjoining property.” 

The press release further stated, the ordinance also rescinds the previous requirement that residents obtain a City permit to remove trees on private property.  The ordinance further describes what kinds of trees cannot be planted in the City in the right of way or in public places.  Examples of the prohibited species are listed in the Missouri Department of Conservation invasive species list.


“It’s an aesthetic aspect to it and a topped tree is an ugly tree and not a healthy one,” Bontrager said. “It does not prohibit pruning or crown reduction. It’s just the worse and improper method of pruning a tree that we would prohibit.”


My Cameron News

BB Highway
P.O. Box 498
Cameron, MO 64429
PHONE: (816) 632-6543
FAX: (816) 632-4508

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