Pruning a tree is one of the most complicated and difficult aspects of landscaping. It requires specialized knowledge, and it should only be done by a certified arborist. Certified arborists understand that the pruning technique called “lion’s tailing” is very harmful to trees, and they will never do it.
Lion’s Tailing Definition
Lion’s tailing is the practice of “gutting” a tree to expose its branch architecture. In other words, the inner branches are all trimmed off, removing the foliage from the inner canopy. The result is branches that feature only a “puff” of foliage at the end, similar to a lion’s tail. Lion’s tailing is problematic, resulting in adverse health and safety effects.
The larger branches on the interior of the tree require a certain amount of shade. When the inner foliage is removed, the shade is also eliminated. The sun can then burn the sensitive cambium layer on the large limbs, causing the loss of water and nutrients. This problem then has a domino effect. As the water and nutrient loss cause further loss of foliage, the sunlight on the area increases, causing even greater sunburn.
Lion’s tailing is often done out of the mistaken belief that removing the interior branches reduces the risk of branch breakage, and consequently keeps pedestrians safer. Unfortunately, the reverse is true. By placing all the weight of the branch at its tip, it becomes more vulnerable to breakage, especially in high wind.
Epicormic sprouting is a reaction that occurs as a result of over-pruning from harmful techniques like lion’s tailing. It causes the formation of water sprouts or suckers. This results in a cluster of branch growth along the limbs and trunk. As a result, the overall structure is weakened.
At Complete Landscaping, we only hire knowledgeable, certified arborists who prioritize the health of the trees they work with. We follow industry standard pruning practices that never include lion’s tailing or other harmful techniques. To find out how our certified arborists can care for your trees, call our landscaping service in Tucson at (520) 323-8918.