Almstead Tree & Shrub Care Blog

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lion's Tailing

En route to an early appointment, I couldn’t help but notice this “pruning” job along the way and imagined the request that led up to it:

“We’d like to get more light to the house and raise the tree up so the branches won’t cause any damage if they break off in a storm.”

There’s no doubt that they got what they asked for, of sorts... Unfortunately, in fulfilling the homeowner’s request, the tree has been become more liable to fail than before the job was started.

The practice of removing all but the most extreme limbs is known in the trade as “lion-tailing” and it may cause irreparable damage and drastically alter the trees ability to withstand moderate to heavy winds. The dampening effect the lower limbs once provided is gone and all the weight is now at the very end of the branches. As even moderated wind gusts occur, the top of the tree will sway excessively leveraging the end of the limb against the branch collar, the point of connection below and if it’s at all weakened the limb comes off crashing to whatever waits below.

There are ways to effectively reduce the canopy of a tree to help protect it against high-winds and ways to prune to allow more sunlight into an area; this unfortunately does not fit that bill.

-Bob Bociek, CT