Lion’s Tailing Trees: A Big Mistake

By: Shelby McCullough| Published: February 1, 2021

Tree trimming is not as simple as shaving off leaves and branches from your trees. One of the many reasons to hire an expert when it comes to tree pruning or tree thinning is because they have a working knowledge of the correct practices. A tree service with expert knowledge avoids the most common “technique” that non-professional tree services employ: Over-thinning or lion’s tailing trees. We see it often here in Central Florida when a customer has had another tree service on their property.

What does Lion’s Tailing Trees Mean?

Lion’s tailing gets its name from the puffy ends that tree branches have after over-thinning them–like a lion’s tails ball of fluff at the end of a thin tail. Lion’s tailing trees is negligent and signals that a tree service might not be up for the job. Here are the reasons why having amateur tree services lion’s tail your trees is a big mistake.

End Heavy Branches

Those small puffs at the end create an uneven distribution of weight, making the ends of branches especially heavy. And this weight is only exacerbated since any new tree growth would happen on these ends. This undue stress on the branches can cause them to break off and become a hazard.

Tree Rot

Leaves provide the tree with the necessary capture of sunlight to live. Lion’s tailing removes so many leaves from the tree that it is unable to sustain itself. Trees that do not have much access to sunlight become susceptible to diseases and malnourishment. An unhealthy tree will begin to rot and increase the likelihood of being toppled over by strong winds.

Tree Stress and Suckers

Trees become stressed when they sustain significant damage in a short amount of time. Lion’s tailing inflicts a massive amount of damage to a tree very quickly. This stress causes the tree to begin to go onto the defense, which, surprisingly, does more harm than good. The tree will produce tree suckers, sprouts that grow in response to stress. The tree suckers will grow unevenly along the damaged branches adding to the unbearable weight that the branches are subjected to, whittling it down its overall health.

Lion’s tailing trees, as you now know, is a sub-standard method of pruning that leaves the tree’s crown unbalanced and its bark exposed to the sun’s damaging rays. They are left especially vulnerable in hurricanes like we sometimes get here in Florida.

Trimming by Experts

Of course, pruning — done correctly — is a beneficial tree treatment and highly recommended. By trimming back specific branches, an arbor expert removes anything dead, diseased, or damaged. Dead, diseased, or damaged branches are vulnerable branches. They are much easier invaded by decay or insects that further attack your tree’s health and potentially pose a risk to your business, home, or vehicle. Thinning the tree’s canopy lets in more air and sunlight, which help fight tree disease and decay, which thrive under thick, damp, shady canopies.

In addition to removing decay and other threats to your tree’s health and the safety of your property, pruning is important to a tree’s structure, as well. As tree experts, there is a configuration of limbs and branches that we look to create or encourage because maintaining this more-strategic support system lessens the risk of branches or limbs breaking off and falling. This is similar to the way a supporting wall works in a building — other facets of construction are anchored from that, so it must be done correctly.

Tree pruning is meant to serve certain goals concerning the look, strength, and structure of your tree. Unexperienced tree pruners can leave your trees vulnerable to damage and sickness. Call the experts at McCullough Tree Service and be sure lion’s-tailing isn’t part of your landscape.

McCullough Tree Trimming Service

McCullough Tree Service has a crew of absolute professionals who wouldn’t perform some damaging technique as lion’s tailing. Instead, we use healthy techniques that will keep your trees looking good while keeping them healthy.

We specialize in all phases of tree services such as:

  • Tree Trimming
  • Tree Removal
  • Tree Demossing
  • Storm Damage Tree Removal

McCullough Tree Service proudly serves Orlando, FL, and surrounding areas, including Longwood, Windermere, Belle Isle, and more. Call us today for a free estimate at 407-734-5854.

Contact us today so we can help you reshape your property.

Shelby McCullough

About The Author: Shelby McCullough

With over two decades of experience in the tree industry, Shelby McCullough is a highly skilled certified arborist and the proprietor of McCullough Tree Service. His unparalleled expertise and profound understanding of trees set him apart in his field.