Lion Tailing and other crimes

Stumpsprouts

Branched out member
Location
Asheville
I’ve been searching for a term to describe a very light trimming to maintain a tree in a lower height than it is want to be. I’m experimenting with some black locusts around my house maintaining at a 15’ height. Sort of a large bonsai, not pollarding. Looking to see what happens as the years go on. In the couple years I’ve been doing it, the trees are getting more full and bushy as you’d expect, but by doing it constantly I think I’ll avoid the need for anything like a ‘heading cut’, just chasing the last apical spring and calling it. Anyone else play around with something like that?
 

Birdyman88

Branched out member
Location
Arlington
I’ve been searching for a term to describe a very light trimming to maintain a tree in a lower height than it is want to be. I’m experimenting with some black locusts around my house maintaining at a 15’ height. Sort of a large bonsai, not pollarding. Looking to see what happens as the years go on. In the couple years I’ve been doing it, the trees are getting more full and bushy as you’d expect, but by doing it constantly I think I’ll avoid the need for anything like a ‘heading cut’, just chasing the last apical spring and calling it. Anyone else play around with something like that?
I have a bunch of winged elm and black locust behind me, and that's pretty much what I have been doing with a lot of the smaller ones (10-30 ft) that are down lower in the canopy. I've also [loosely] used the term Bonsai tree for mine as well because the end result looks sort of similar. Chase the tips on the long straight runs, and let the tree decide which way to go from there. Rinse and repeat. They have formed a nice little canopy layer of their own back there beneath all the hickory and oak. Looks pretty awesome.
 

Stumpsprouts

Branched out member
Location
Asheville
I have a bunch of winged elm and black locust behind me, and that's pretty much what I have been doing with a lot of the smaller ones (10-30 ft) that are down lower in the canopy. I've also [loosely] used the term Bonsai tree for mine as well because the end result looks sort of similar. Chase the tips on the long straight runs, and let the tree decide which way to go from there. Rinse and repeat. They have formed a nice little canopy layer of their own back there beneath all the hickory and oak. Looks pretty awesome.
How many years in are you into this treatment?
I love how we both decided to do the same thing to the same kind of tree. Black locust seems really well suited for it.
 

Birdyman88

Branched out member
Location
Arlington
How many years in are you into this treatment?
I love how we both decided to do the same thing to the same kind of tree. Black locust seems really well suited for it.
Yes they are. And winged elm even more so. I started working on these in 2018 when the property owner gave me exclusive access. The trees were already adapting this form because of the high dense canopy from some really old oak trees. The elms in particular had developed some long runs at the tips that had a lot of horizontal travel in many cases, so I just started there and brought a lot of that in without really changing the form. 2019-2020 was just a lot of fine tuning while trying to produce a layered looked. This year is the first year I think it looked really refined, but there's still several larger elms I need to get up high in. The voles destroyed a bunch of the black locust last two years, including one that I had looking really good.
 

Bart_

Participating member
Location
GTA
So, today was next to original crime scene and spotted bark chunks and chainsaw dust embedded in the grass. Eventually dawned on me to look up next door. Voila, back yard crime deleted undoubtedly without a permit and neighbour's patio all dusted with chainsaw chips. Par for the course. Class act all around.

Also today I saw a medium maple 1st stage lion tailed with lotsa stubs and at least one gigantic bark tear off from no undercut. Street used to be notable for it's wide umbrella canopy trees. DOH!
 

SeanRuel

Branched out member
Location
Portland
I like to think of it as "stripping" a tree. Conjures up the right feelings of shamefulness in the prudish puritanical American mind. How'd you like to have to walk around with only gloves and shoes on?
 

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