Fall 2002 - Tree Skinning, Lion Tailing and Unschooled Practitioners

By: Paul Markworth, Certified Arborist

2002 Newsletter in Adobe PDF format Tree skinning? Lion tailing? What do these terms mean and what do they have to do with trees? Both of these terms signify bad pruning practices by ill-advised tree butchers.

Tree skinning is the practice of raising up the crown of a tree to unneeded and excessive heights. Many times it is to the height that a bucket truck will reach. Lion tailing is the removal of an excessive number of inner lateral branches and foliage leaving a limb with a tuft of foliage at the end. Both of these practices may result in sunburned bark tissue, watersprouts, less photosynthesis, decrease in food production, reduced branch taper, weakened branch structure, and breakage. In combination, they will surely shorten the life of a tree.

To a worker with a saw, tree skinning and lion tailing are much easier than applying the skill, knowledge and judgment of good pruning. The unschooled practitioner can remove a lot of material in a short time, making it seem like a good deal for the price.

However, when the tree goes into a state of decline and has to be nursed back to health or even mild winds start breaking limbs, it is no longer a good deal.

To know how to prune a tree correctly, an arborist must know and understand the species, the approximate age of the tree and tree physiology. Each arborist at Wachtel Tree Science & Service spends 40 to 80 hours a year attending training sessions and seminars to improve their understanding of tree physiology and to keep abreast of the latest innovations and practices in the field of arboriculture. It is not only our arborists’ experience, but also their continuing accumulation of knowledge that sets them apart from the majority of self-proclaimed tree trimmers in the marketplace.

© Copyright 2002 – Wachtel Tree Science & Service, Inc.

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