Why is Proper Water Drainage Necessary to Protect Trees

You need proper water drainage. It’s necessary to protect your trees. Without good water drainage, a tree can slowly drown. It can take just a few days or maybe a few years, but it will happen. The tree without good water drainage will die from a lack of oxygen and nutrients. Waterlogged soils prevent aeration of plant roots and create susceptibility to diseases such as root rot. If you can correct your water drainage problems during lawn installation or tree planting, then you may just save your tree.

Percolation Test

Before you plant a tree, you should evaluate the proposed planting area by performing a percolation test. What’s that you may ask? Well, percolation refers to how quickly water drains through the soil. To test your lawn’s percolation, dig a few holes within the potential root area of the mature tree – generally inside of and just beyond the canopy of the tree. Measure the rate of water drainage. You should make the holes between 18 to 36 inches deep and 6 to 12 inches wide. About three holes will provide thorough evaluation of the site. Fill the holes with water and allow the water to completely drain out of the holes before refilling with water to the tops of the holes. Measure the water drainage every hour. Percolation at the rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour indicates good water drainage.

Soil Compaction

Lawns around new construction are often shallow and compacted from foot traffic and heavy equipment. You should amend your soil to improve tilth and water drainage by incorporating 1 to 2 inches of organic matter such as peat moss or compost into the top 4 to 6 inches of soil. Cultivate your soil prior to and after the addition of these amendments to facilitate mixing them with the existing soil. Organic matter provides both moisture retention and better water drainage through the creation of larger soil pores.

Drainage Chimney

When poor water drainage is due to a hardpan or impervious layer under your topsoil, drainage chimneys can correct the problem. With a posthole digger, dig 8 to 12 inches wide holes that are deep enough to break through the compacted layer into the porous soil. Fill the holes with gravel. The spacing of the drainage chimney is site-specific and depends on the degree of waterlogging you find. Begin with evenly spaced chimneys just outside the dripline of the tree. Add more drainage chimneys until you’ve corrected the problem.

French Drain

You can install a French drain to move water away from a low-lying area. You don’t want your trees to get waterlogged as this can lead to diseases such as root rot. Begin building the French drain within the dripline of your tree and dig deep enough to get below the root area. You will then excavate a trench leading away from the tree to a lower level, using a slope of 3 inches per 25 linear feet. The width of the trench should be at least 6 inches. You can put 4-inch-diameter permeable pipe in the bottom of the trench to help with water drainage. Then, fill the trench with gravel and rock.

Of course, we hope you don’t need to take extreme measures to ensure that your tree has proper water drainage. We encourage you to think before you plant and to know your soil and your situation. A tree has the best chance of surviving when its environment provides for proper water drainage naturally. If you need help in deciding where to plant your tree, we are happy to provide it. Give us a call at 512-341-8888 today for more information. We’re Austin Tree Service and we want all your trees to be healthy.

How to Care for your New Tree

Fall and winter are the best time to plant trees since they don’t suffer from transplant shock as much as summer planted trees. Trees need the opportunity to grow roots before being subjected to summer heat and dryness. In this blog post, we will attempt to outline the primary maintenance considerations for planting and growing trees.

Fertilizing

During the first growing season, don’t fertilize with high nitrogen fertilizer. Use root stimulators (monthly during growing season) or slow release organic fertilizer at half the recommended rate. During the second growing season, fertilize 3-4 times a year using a slow release fertilizer.

Never use an herbicide containing fertilizer anywhere near the tree’s root system!

Pruning

A properly dug and planted tree needs no pruning except to remove broken branches and growth faults (crossing branches and downward growing).

Lower branches should be left on the tree as long as possible. After the first year, no more than 1 whirl of limbs should be removed each year. The use of pruning paints (except on oak trees) is not recommended.

Watering and Mulching

Water the newly planted tree until the hole is soaked. This will saturate the roots. Water, as needed, for at least 18 months by placing a soaker hose around the base of the tree and slowly (several hours) saturate the area. Do not depend on a sprinkler system to do the job. Usually you need to water when the soil has dried to a depth of 4-6 inches. An easy way to test soil wetness is by probing with an 18-inch piece of iron rebar. If the rebar is wet or muddy, do not water. If the probe comes out dry or damp on the end, it’s time to water. During a hot, dry summer, check the soil every 4-5 days. It is equally important that you do not overwater a native or adapted tree as that could lead to disease.

Place mulch over the area of disturbed earth, leaving a few bare inches around the trunk.  Mulch helps soil retain moisture while also preventing soil compaction. Please keep lawnmowers, etc. away from the root area. During the first year, add mulch 3-4 times during the year.

These are some basic rules for how to care for your new tree. If you have any more questions, please contact our office at 512-341-8888. We are always ready to help you understand how to care for your new tree.

Practicing Water Conservation with Your Trees

You are environmentally conscious. You want to know how to practice water conservation while keeping your trees healthy. In this article, we’ll focus on how to water trees at all stages of their lives and give you tips for practicing water conservation.

Watering newly planted trees

When trees are first planted, most of their roots are located inside the original root ball. Therefore, the tree should be watered in a way that encourages growth outside of the root ball. The goal is to encourage the establishment of roots in the soil. So, with a newly planted tree, you should water the soil under the canopy. This will keep the root ball and the surrounding soil moist enough to boost healthy growth. In moderate climates, you should do this twice a week. You should increase to three times a week when the weather is hot and dry. In the case of a steady rain shower, you can count that as one day of watering. When rain occurs, it’s the best way for you to conserve water while still ensuring that the root ball gets the moisture it needs to grow.

Watering established trees

The growing season for trees is late spring to early summer. It can take two growing seasons for a tree to become fully established. Once this happens, a tree’s water requirements change. The tree needs less frequent watering. The technique to deliver the water is adjusted as well. For established trees, you will want to water in a circular motion around the dripline. The dripline is the wide band around the outer reaches of the canopy. An established tree should be watered several feet around its dripline to ensure that roots, which have grown past the dripline at this point, are getting the water that they need.

When it comes to water conservation while irrigating established trees, here are two valuable tips:

  1. Soak the entire area under the canopy. Allowing the water to soak deep into the soil near the roots is preferable to spraying the surface. Soaking the soil when watering trees will reduce the frequency of watering the trees.
  2. Avoid watering the tree trunk. Too much water on the trunk or the area directly adjacent to the trunk can increase the risks of tree rot and other diseases. Having a drip system installed can keep the water deep in the soil where it belongs – and it can deliver the preferred soaking method described above.

Water conservation when watering trees requires that you water smart, not often. It’s not hard to conserve water when you water trees. Follow our tips and you will be well on your way to doing just that. You can irrigate your trees with a low amount of water. It will keep them healthy and strong. For more information on water conservation, visit our blog. You can also call us at 512-341-8888 for more information.

How to Water a Tree

If you’re not wondering how to water a tree, we bet you probably should wonder. Watering trees is a very important process. Doing it right will help keep your trees alive for a long time. How you water a tree often depends on the tree’s age. We’ll give you some guidelines in this blog post. We hope they help you make smart decisions on watering your trees.

How to Water Newly Planted Trees

You must water a newly planted tree immediately after it’s been planted. All tree roots are in the root ball area. Until new roots grow into the soil of the planting site, water the original root ball area and just a little bit around it. The root ball area might dry out faster than the surrounding soil, so check the moisture in this area pretty regularly for the first month or two after planting.

How to Water Trees During the First Two Years

During the first couple of growing seasons, your newly planted tree is expending a lot of energy. It’s trying to establish new roots in the soil. Especially during the first few summers of your new tree’s life, you will want to water the tree regularly. You may also want to cover the tree with some wood-chip mulch. How often you water the tree will be an important indication of how well the tree survives the heat and potential drought. Deep watering is a good idea because it can help speed up root establishment. Deep watering a tree consists of keeping the soil moist down to a depth that includes all its roots.

How Much Should You Water Your Trees and When

Too little or too much water is not good for a tree. Overwatering is a common tree care mistake. Moist is different than soggy – not many people know the difference. A damp soil that dries for a short period will allow adequate oxygen to permeate the soil. As a general rule, your soil should be moist. If you water a tree for 30 seconds with a steady stream of water from a garden hose with a diffuser nozzle, then that should be sufficient for seedlings. Mulching is also a key factor in keeping moisture in the soil.

You can check your soil’s moisture by using a garden trowel and inserting it into the ground to a depth of 2”. Then, you can move the blade back and forth to create a small narrow trench. Then touch the soil with your fingers. If it is moist to the touch, your trees don’t need water.

How to Water Your Tree After the First Two Years of Its Life

After your tree has been in your yard for two years, the roots will be established. This will allow your tree to withstand a wide variety of conditions on its own because it has a proper root structure. You will not need to water your trees as often after it has matured to this point.

If you have any questions on how to water a tree, please contact us at Austin Tree Service. We are happy to help you with your tree questions. You can also visit our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/KeepingAustinGreen. We look forward to hearing from you.

What’s the Difference Between a Deciduous and an Evergreen Tree

Deciduous and evergreen are two opposite types of trees. They are categorized by the pattern and seasonality of their foliage growth. Plants between deciduous and evergreen are known as semi-deciduous trees. They have characteristics of both. In this article, we’ll tell you the main differences between an evergreen and a deciduous tree.

What are deciduous trees?

Deciduous is a term that refers to trees which seasonally shed their unnecessary parts, such as leaves, from their structure. Most deciduous trees are broad leaf trees. Because of the structure of the leaves and the pattern of leaf arrangement, the effectiveness of photosynthesis is very high in deciduous trees. Unfortunately, deciduous trees have both positive and negative aspects to them. Since they shed their leaves seasonally (during autumn and winter usually), they are very susceptible to wind and other winter weather conditions.

The falling of the leaves helps them prepare for winter conditions. It ensures better survival in winter as well as high water conservation and protection against predatory actions. Deciduous tree characteristics are observable in many woody trees like oak and maple. There are two characteristic deciduous forests where the majority of trees shed their foliage at the end of their typical growing season. These are temperate deciduous forests and tropical (and subtropical) deciduous forests. Trees in temperate deciduous forests are sensitive to the seasonal temperature variations whereas the tropical deciduous trees respond to seasonal rainforest patterns.

What are evergreen trees?

The evergreen tree is a complete contrast to the deciduous tree. As the name implies, an evergreen’s foliage remains on the tree throughout the entire year. There is no seasonal leaf shedding. Evergreen plants have a huge deviation within them. They include most conifers and angiosperms such as hemlock, cycads, and eucalyptus trees.

This does not mean that evergreens never shed their foliage. Old leaves of evergreen trees are replaced by new growth as they age. Evergreen trees favor warm, temperate climates. Many tropical rainforests are considered evergreens.

What are the differences between a deciduous and an evergreen tree?

There are several important differences between a deciduous and an evergreen tree. We will list them for you here:

  • Deciduous and evergreen trees are opposite each other. Deciduous trees shed their leaves seasonally and evergreen trees keep their foliage throughout the year.
  • Deciduous trees are adapted to tolerate cold and dry weather conditions by shedding their leaves while evergreens do not.
  • Evergreens can survive with low soil nutrients. A huge portion of internal nutrients is removed during the defoliation of deciduous trees.
  • Nutrient requirements of evergreens are somewhat higher than those of deciduous trees during bad weather because of the need for foliage maintenance. In deciduous trees, it is high after harsh weather when the foliage is renewed.
  • Deciduous trees are more sensitive to temperature and rain fall than evergreen trees.

We hope that this article has helped you to better understand deciduous and evergreen trees, especially their differences. If you have questions on what types of trees you have, please contact us at 512-341-8888. We’ll be very happy to help you determine whether you have deciduous or evergreen trees.

How To Identify a Tree, Part 2

Last week, we gave you an introduction into how to identify a tree. This week we continue with that information, so you’ll know how to identify a tree without any problems. We were working on leaves and needles. Let’s continue.

Leaves (Continued)

Leaves have many distinguishing characteristics. They are, in essence, a study in and of themselves.

Leaf Base

The leaf base is important to know about when identifying a tree because leaves that are closely related to each other will show similar characteristics in their leaf bases. For example, elms have leaves with a characteristic asymmetrical base. The leaf base does not equally meet the leaf stalk.

Leaf Texture

Leaves can be dull, glossy or hairy. Look at both sides of the leaf to see whether the hairs cover the whole leaf or just one side.

Leaf Color

Leaf color is most important if the leaves change color before they fall off. In Texas, we don’t have an autumn change per se, so this may not be the best indicator of which type of tree you are looking at. However, some trees turn vivid colors before they go brown and fall off the tree. If you can find out which ones do that, then you’re well on your way to identifying the tree.

If the tree has needles or scales, then it’s a conifer. You can tell a lot by whether they are needles or scales. Most conifers have the needles or scales on the tree all year round that you can use for identification. We’re not sure that there are many conifers in Texas, but it’s important to note in case you’re in other parts of the country or world and looking at trees.

Flowers

Many trees flower at a particular time of year. When they are present, they can be very helpful in tree identification.

Tree Reproduction

Trees have different strategies when it comes to reproduction. Broadleaf trees, for example, have flowers that contain the reproductive organs and conifers have cones for reproduction.

  • Hermaphroditic trees, such as cherries, produce flowers with both male and female parts.
  • Unisexual trees include birches and have male and female parts on separate flowers.
  • Monoecious trees, such as alder, have separate male and female flowers on the same tree.
  • Dioecious trees, like holly and yew, have separate male and female trees entirely.

Flowers arrangement

Flowers occur in a variety of shapes, sizes and arrangements.

  • Solitary flowers are single flowers appearing by themselves on different parts of the tree.
  • Clusters are many small flowers that form together in large branched groups such as in the elder tree.
  • Catkins are dense, hanging spikes of tiny inconspicuous flowers such as those of the willow tree.

Appearance

Some flowers are so tiny that you have to be up close to see them. Male and female flowers can also look very different from each other on the same tree. A flower’s color can vary. For some species, however, they can be a defining feature. Apple and blackthorn flowers are usually white while catkins are almost always yellow-green. Ash flowers are a deep purple-red.

Fruits and Seeds

Just like flowers, fruits and seeds tend to appear at certain times of the year. They can be great identifiers for a tree. They vary in shape, appearance and size from hard nuts to berries. You’ll want to look at the color and feel the texture of the fruit. Is the outer surface smooth, hairy, prickly, rough or papery? Is it soft, hard or dry? You may want to open up the fruit to identify a tree. What do the seeds look like inside?

Fruits of Broadleaf Trees

They vary greatly and include:

  • Samaras are papery winged fruits. The wings can be in pairs (field maple and sycamore) or single (hornbeam).
  • Nuts are usually dry and woody. Some are unmistakable like the shiny brown sweet chestnuts inside prickly casings.
  • Catkins are long and dangly and become fluffy masses of seeds in summer. They are often found on willows and birches.
  • Berries are soft and juicy fruits that contain several seeds.
  • Stone fruits have a fleshy exterior and a single stone inside like plums do.
  • Apples or pears are larger, fleshy fruits with many seeds inside.
  • Capsules are seeds contained inside capsules of varying shapes and colors like the bright pink capsules of spindle which split open to reveal bright orange seeds.
  • Cones occur in trees like the alder. They can be dry and woody and appear on the tree all year long.

Leaf Buds and Twigs

It can be hard to identify a tree, especially in winter. Leafs buds and twigs can provide some identifying clues.

Leaf Bud Arrangement and Position

Leaf buds are usually present on twigs throughout the winter. When they are at the end of the twig, they are called terminal buds. These are often the largest buds. Those growing along the twig are lateral buds and can have any one of three arrangements.

  • Alternate occur in pairs arranged in turn on opposite sides of the stem.
  • Opposite occur in pairs placed directly on either side of the stem.
  • Spiral buds whorl alternately around the stem.

How the buds are held on the twig also provide a subtle clue. For example, willow buds are tightly pressed against the twig whereas those of oak and beech stick out at a right angle from the twig.

Leaf Bud Shape and Appearance

Some trees have distinctively shaped buds. Many others have oval shaped buds. You may need to use something else to figure out what kind of tree it is. Trees with characteristic buds include beech with its sharply pointed straight-sided buds and hose chestnut with red sticky buds. Oaks, elms and birches all have small scales which protect the bud inside.

Twigs Appearance and Texture

To identify a tree by its twigs, you should look at the twig texture and determine if it’s either smooth or hairy. Spines could indicate you’re looking at a blackthorn. If they are corky ribs, you may be looking at an alder. Twig color can be subjective but there are a few trees where it is a key feature, particularly on new growth. There are a few species where color can help identification including the red of dogwood, the greens and yellows of willows and dark purple-black of blackthorn. Alder buckthorn twigs have orange markings called lenticels.

As you can see from both of our articles on how to identify a tree, there are many ways to identify a tree. Trees have many distinguishing characteristics. It takes a sharp eye and a little know-how to identify a tree. With practice, you can learn to do it. Have questions about your trees? Please give us a call at 512-341-8888. We’re Austin Tree Service and we’re happy to help you with your trees.

How to Identify a Tree, Part 1

You’ve always loved trees, but you’ve never really known how to identify them. How do you identify a tree? Well, in this blog post, we’ll tell you a bit about how to identify a tree. It’s not that hard. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to do it. In fact, anyone can.

The first step in identifying a tree comes from knowing that there are always going to be distinguishing characteristics separating one species from another. All trees have features and clues that can help with identification. You just need to know what to look out for.

Look at the leaves or needles. Is it a broadleaf tree – these are usually deciduous? Is it a conifer? These usually have scales or needles. There are different features that will present at different seasons of the year. You can use twigs, leaf buds or bark to determine the type of tree if you’re searching in winter, for example.

You should also take notice of the surrounding area. Look at what’s growing around it. For example, is the tree near water? Some species are more likely to grow near water, scrubland, parks or the woods. You should always use as many features as you can. The more you use, the more likely you’ll be able to identify the tree. Take into account the overall size and shape of the tree, bark, leaves or needles, flowers, fruits, leaf buds and twigs.

Identify a Tree by the Shape, Appearance and Bark

Some trees have a distinctive overall appearance.  For example, a silver birch is narrow and light with an airy crown while an oak is big and has a broadly spreading crown. Trees in the woods often have narrower crowns than those growing in parks where they have lots of space to spread around.

Bark, the corky, waterproof layer of a tree, protects the tree against disease and external attack. Many trees, on first glance, have a similar-looking, brown bark. However, take a closer look. Does the bark have ridges or depressions? Are there peeling flakes or is it shiny? Is the bark a different color? Bark can be many colors. Grey, white, red and green are some. Is the bark young or old? Young bark has less ‘texture’ than older bark does.

Identify a Tree by Leaves and Needles

Leaf type, shape, appearance, texture and color are all key characteristics when you identify a tree. They are usually the most obvious feature, particularly in spring and summer. Needles and scales of conifers are also considered types of leaves. Broadleaf trees fall into two categories: simple and compound. A simple broadleaf has whole leaves. They are NOT divided to the central leaf vein like an apple or a birch tree. The edges of some simple leaves are indented or lobed such as sycamore, maple or hawthorne. Be careful not to confuse them with compound leaves. Compound leaves are feather-shaped and leaflets are divided right up to the central vein into separate leaflets. Compound leafs are either pinnate or palmate.

Pinnate leaves are feather-shaped and leaflets are attached in pairs along the central vein such as rowan, ash or elder. Palmate leaves join to a central point. They are palm-shaped, like the outstretched fingers of a hand. Horse chestnut has palmate leaves.

Leaves can have many different shapes including egg-shaped (ovate), long and thin (lanceolate), triangular (deltoid), round (orbicular) and heart-shaped (cordate).  The edge of leaves can also provide distinguishing characteristics. Look out for edges that are serrated or toothed (hornbeam and common lime), prickly (holly), wavy (beech) or lobed (oaks, hawthorn, sycamore and field maple). Leaf margins that are smooth and have no obvious features are called entire.

Next week, we’ll talk more about identifying trees. We’ll continue with leaves and move on to flowers, fruits and seeds as well as leaf buds and twigs. All can be identifying factors. If you have any questions about your trees, please contact us at Austin Tree Service. We can be reached at 512-341-8888.

Famous Trees of Texas – Bosque County Oak

On the crest of a small hill in the southwest of Bosque County, there once stood a tree whose dense crown provided a nice bit of shade and protection for early settlers of the area to vote in the county’s first election. This ancient tree was still around more a century ago when that election happened. The date was February 4, 1854 and the Texas State Legislature created Bosque County out of McLennan County. They names a six-man commission to locate and purchase, or accept by donation, up to 320 acres of land as “near the centre of the county as practicable.”

Half of that land that was acquired was to be laid off in lots and sold at public auction to pay for the construction of county buildings. On June 27 of that year, the commission accepted two grants of land, both located at the present site of Meridian. They named the county seat for its nearness to Meridian Knobs and Meridian Creek.

Meridian was thus established on July 4, 1854. Those charged with getting the county up and running set the date for organizing the county and setting the election of county officials as August 7, 1854. Three voting boxes were designated. One was at the junction of Steele Creek and the Brazos River. The second was located in Meridian. The third was under the beautiful Bosque County Oak, which lay between the current towns of Clifton and Valley Mills.

Known locally as the “Election Oak”, the Bosque County Oak died in the 1990s. There’s a state historical marker located at the entrance to Tom Pool Park on Highway 6 for this beautiful and historical tree. On that day in August 1854, people voted under the tree to help elect L. H. Scrutchfield, judge, P. Bryant, sheriff, J. N. Mabray, clerk, Isaac Gary, assessor and collector, Archabal Kell, treasurer. The voters includes L. H. Scrutchfield, J. K. Helton, J. N. Mabray, Capt. Underhill, James Mabray, William Gary, Gafey Gary, Isaac Gary, Matt Gary, John Robertson, John Thomas, F. M. Kell, Archie Kell, William McCurry, Jack McCurry, Lum McCurry, Samuel Locker, Nathaniel Morgan, R. S. Barnes, J. P. Locker.

For more information on the Famous Trees of Texas, just check out our ongoing series. We, at Austin Tree, want to keep your trees, historical or not, healthy and alive. Give us a call at 512-341-8888 and we’ll be happy to help you keep your trees in great shape.

Trail Marker Trees – What and Where Are They

Robert and Barbara Reeser have some special trees on their property. They live in the Dos Lagos subdivision in Dripping Springs. It’s a small community with a lot of beautiful, old trees. Mr. Reeser told us that he’s trees were estimated to be between 200 – 300 years old and that they are trail marker trees. They have about 3-4 of them on the property and Mr. Reeser likes to keep them pruned so he can fit his lawnmower underneath them.

What are Trail Marker Trees?

According to Mr. Reeser, Native Americans would take a young sapling tree and stake it to the ground. They’d bend it in the direction that they’d walk to find water so that other generations or tribe members would know which way to go. They were kind of like the first highway signs.  Over the years, the trees would grow bent.

What’s the official word on Trail Marker Trees?

Well, it’s true. Native Americans would bend trees in order to create trail markers that formed an early routing system. It served multiple purposes. Some trees would indicate that water and food was nearby. Others would warn travelers of rough country ahead. In fact, these landmarks were important features in navigating the early Americas.

What’s happened to these trees?

Well, many of them, like the ones in Dripping Springs, have survived centuries. They have grown in odd shapes. Many groups are working together to make sure that trail trees are being identified and protected for the history they represent. The Reesers had the Dallas Historic Tree Coalition identify their trees.

Where can you find these trees?

Well, just about anywhere across the United States. They can be hiding out in parks, on mountain trails or even in local neighborhoods. If you see a strangely-bent tree, you may want to report it to one of the groups working on logging these for posterity.

We want to thank the Reesers for their information on Trail Marker Trees and for sharing it with us. If you suspect you have a trail marker tree on your property, you can contact http://www.txhtc.org/. We would love to see pictures of these trees on our Facebook page. Feel free to post them there.  If you need us to take care of your trees, don’t hesitate to call us at 512-341-8888. Thank you.

What are the roots of a tree really for?

You know all trees have roots, but have you ever wondered what they’re really for? Tree roots serve many purposes. They anchor the tree to the soil, making sure it stays straight and stable. The roots absorb water from the soil and take nutrients and chemicals out of the soil to produce what they need for the tree’s growth, development and repair.

Where do the roots occur?

Eighty percent of all roots occur in the top 12-36 inches of the soil. In sandy, well-drained soils, some trees like oaks and pines can develop deeper roots, directly beneath the tree trunk. These are known as taproots but are actually deeper roots to help anchor the tree. Most trees never develop taproots, especially when water is close to the surface or when the soil is compacted.

If there’s damage to the roots of a tree on one side, it may cause branch die back on that side or at random places throughout the crown. Therefore, damage to the roots of a tree harms the branches of a tree. In some tree species, roots on one side of the tree supply the same side of the crown with water and nutrients absorbed through the roots. If these roots are injured, the branches on that side will drop leaves. In other tree species, damage on one side of the roots can cause branch death anywhere on the tree.

Why can pruning be harmful to a new tree’s growth?

Pruning branches on trees that have not yet been planted will not help a tree grow better or establish a balance between the roots and the canopy. When trees are dug up from the nursery to be transplanted, many of the tree’s roots remain in the soil. A newly planted tree needs all the leaves it has to help support the growth or new roots. Pruning trees before planting removes the food producing area of the tree (the leaves). This hurts the tree’s ability to become established and create roots.

Why are symptoms of drought and over-watering the same?

Tree roots need moisture, air and a favorable temperature to function and grow. They need to be deep enough to avoid sunlight and stay moist. They should be shallow enough to absorb adequate oxygen. When a tree is over-watered, the roots don’t receive enough oxygen to function. As a result, tree leaves wilt, die and fall off. During a drought, trees don’t receive enough water to function properly. The same result happens. Tree leaves wilt, die and fall off. It’s best to slowly and deeply apply five to eight gallons of water to newly planted and young trees once a week during dry, hot periods.

Still have questions about tree roots? We’re happy to answer them. Please call Austin Tree Service at 512-341-8888. We’re always happy to help.