How Can Tree Trimming Prevent Wind Damage?

winddamageWe know it’s been hot in Texas lately. That’s not abnormal. What’s been a little weird are the heavy winds we’ve been facing. Have you noticed them? Have they impacted your trees yet? We’ve had some calls about wind damage to trees, and we’d like to help you out.

First of all, we’ll talk a little bit about wind. Wind is air in motion. Air moves from a high pressure region to a lower pressure one. This is caused by the difference of the unequal heating of the atmosphere. The heat of the sun causes air masses to have different air pressures. It’s a bit scientific, but these are the basics.

High winds can be a prime time for tree falls. Yes. It’s not just hurricanes or tornadoes that can cause a tree some damage. However, these events can leave whole forests and urban areas littered with broken branches and uprooted trees.

Lesser winds can also cause problems for your trees. The truth is that very few things can withstand the force of powerful winds.  What you may notice initially are broken branches and loss of foliage. Strong winds can also cause trees to sway, pulling and stretching their roots.

Regular tree trimming, preferably before the winds start, can help a tree survive during windy times. It will also help it recover quickly when there is heavy wind. Yes, we are saying that tree trimming can help prevent wind damage.

High winds can leave behind a trail of broken limbs and branches. Uprooted trees can fall on property or people. This can cause you a lot of problems. That’s why you want to take preventative action and have your trees trimmed on a regular basis.

When trees grow out of control, it’s obviously harder for them to withstand environmental and other forces. We can help you manage your tree growth with regular pruning sessions. Give us a call at Austin Tree Service today. We can be reached at 512-341-888. We’ll be happy to trim your trees for you during this windy time.


Now is the Best Time to Trim Oak Trees

oaktreeOak trees are prone to a disease called Oak Wilt. Oak wilt is a fungal disease that affects live oaks and red oaks in Central Texas. Oak wilt literally makes the foliage wilt and can cause the death of the tree if left untreated. It can also be spread to other trees through interconnected or grafted root systems. New infection can occur when beetles carry oak wilt fungal spores from infected oaks to fresh, open wounds on healthy oaks.

While opinion varies by expert, trimming between February 1st through June 15 is not recommended, although generally speaking, oak trees can be trimmed all year round as long as proper precautions are taken. That’s why you should always paint fresh wounds on oaks, including pruning cuts and stumps. You can use a wound dressing or latex paint immediately after pruning or live tree removal at any time of year. Wounds include any damage to the tree caused by wind, hail, vehicles, construction, birds or pruning.  Our specialists at Austin Tree Service will take care of this for you. We know how to handle oak tree trimming and will make sure that your tree stays healthy.

Right now is the best time to prune your oaks. Yes, the hottest months of the year are a good time to prune your oak trees to prevent oak wilt from occurring. However, if your oak trees need pruning at other times of the year, don’t wait.

July is a great time to contact us to have your oaks trimmed. We utilize proper pruning techniques. Our tree technicians know how to make the proper cuts on your oak tree. Austin Tree Service also avoids any injurious practices such as topping or excessive crown thinning. We have an ISA-certified arborist on staff that can examine your oaks and determine the best course of action to take. We care about the health of your trees.

So, give us a call at 512-341-8888 today to get your oak trimmed. It’s high time you did.

How to Prune a Crepe Myrtle

crepe_myrtleCrepe Myrtles are ornamental trees with pink, white or purplish crinkled petals. They are beautiful to look at. Many people, however, prune them incorrectly. In this article, we’ll talk about how to prune a crepe myrtle. If you still have questions or don’t think you can handle it yourself, call us at Austin Tree Service at (512) 341-8888. We can do it for you.

When are trying to prune a crepe myrtle, you should maintain its natural sculptural form. You want the crepe myrtle to produce strong branches that hold the flowers upright and open up its center to reveal the smooth, multi-toned bark that forms on mature trunks and branches. If you cut it back to thick stubs, that makes these goals impossible.

Follow these guidelines to prune a beautiful crepe myrtle:

  • Prune in late winter. Some say February is ideal. Why? That’s because there are no flowers at this time so you can more easily see the branches.
  • Remove suckers at the base, crossing or rubbing branches, and branches growing inward toward the center of the plant.
  • Cut back to another branch to just above the outward-facing bud on the branch or to what’s called the branch collar. The branch collar is a swollen area where the branch joins the trunk. You should never leave lone or clustered stubs. It just looks wrong.
  • Try to remove the unwanted branches before they get thicker than a pencil.
  • It’s okay but not really necessary to cut off old seed heads.

Now, if you butcher the plant, we suggest you ask for professional help. We, at Austin Tree Service, can help restore a butchered crepe myrtle. It takes time and patience on your part, but we can do it. We may have to cut the plant to the ground. Don’t worry – it will grow back relatively quickly. Within 3-5 years, you’ll have a blooming and beautiful crepe myrtle again with some tender loving care.

Call us today at 512-341-8888 so you don’t commit crepe myrtle murder. We’ll save your tree with the help of our ISA-certified arborist.

How to Handle A Conflict with Your Neighbor Over Landscaping and Trees

storm-damageYou have a conflict with your neighbor over landscaping and trees. You would like to know how to handle it. We’ve got a brief Q&A to help you determine what to do. With help from FindLaw, these conflicts can be more easily dealt with.

Can I trim my neighbor’s tree branches if they hang over my yard?

Yes. You have the right by law to do so but remember this only applies to the limbs that extend over the property line. The law only allows for tree trimming and cutting up to the property line. You cannot go onto the neighbor’s property or destroy the tree. If you do harm the tree, you could find yourself in trouble with the law. Regular trees have a value of between $500 and $2500 and landmark trees can reach as high as $60,000 in replacement value. Be very careful when tree trimming.

Can I eat the fruit from my neighbor’s tree if the fruits hang in my yard?

Although it may be tempting, the answer is no. The fruit belongs to the tree’s owner. Of course you could ask your neighbor and he or she may be more than willing to let you. If the fruit falls, there’s a possibility you could eat it, but you’ll want to check with local laws to make sure.

Do I have a good nuisance claim if the leaves from my neighbor’s tree keep blowing in my yard?

No, you can’t. Leaves are considered a natural product. Even if the leaves cause damage such as clogging gutters or pipes, you have no legal claim against the tree’s owner. You are also responsible for cleaning up any natural products that fall into your lawn. If the tree branches overhang in your yard, you can trim the branches up to the property line as we previously mentioned. If you don’t already have one, you can also consider building a fence. It may prohibit some of those leaves from falling into your yard.

What if most of the tree hangs in my yard but the tree trunk is in my yard? Who owns the tree?

The neighbor owns the tree so long as the entire tree trunk is in their yard. When a tree trunk is divided by property lines of two or more people, it’s called a ‘boundary tree’. In that case, you and your neighbor are both considered owners. Tree removal without consent of all owners is not possible.

My neighbor dug up his yard and killed a tree on my property. Am I entitled to compensation for the tree?

Yes, you are. You can even sue for damages. Anyone who engages in tree cutting, tree removal, or injury to the tree without the owner’s permission is liable for compensating the tree owner. In some cases, the tree owner has been compensated up to three times what the tree is worth so it may be worth pursuing. However, you can also just talk to your neighbor and see what he says. He may make reparations without your needing to go to court.

Is my neighbor responsible for damages if his tree limb fell onto my property during a storm and damaged my property?

That’s not a clear cut answer. It depends. The court will most likely apply a reasonable care standard.  If your neighbor took reasonable care to maintain the tree branch, and the tree branch did not seem to a reasonable person to fall, then you will probably not receive damages. If a reasonable person could not have avoided this from happening, then it’s an Act of God. The neighbor is not liable. If, after applying this reasonable standard, the court finds that the neighbor should’ve known that the branch may fall, then the neighbor could be found liable for the damage. In that case, he or she could be held responsible for the damage to your property.

If my neighbor’s tree looks like it’s going to fall on my house, what should I do?

Property owners are responsible for maintaining trees on their property. A reasonable inspection should be made of the tree in question. If it looks like it will fall, your neighbor is responsible for the tree’s removal. If they do not remove the tree and it does cause damage, your neighbor will be held liable for the damage. Of course, you might want to speak with your neighbor first. If they don’t do anything about it, you can file a nuisance claim. The court may then order them to remove the tree. Of course, many cities have ordinances prohibiting property owners from keeping dangerous conditions on their property. You could call your municipality and they may order that the tree be cut down. Finally, you could check with your local utility company. It may be in their best interest to have the tree removed. You have options. Exercise them.

Do I have to compensate my neighbors if the spreading of tree roots on my land damaged my neighbor’s septic tank?

Well, it’s possible. It really depends on your state’s laws. In most states, the bothered neighbor can engage in tree trimming or root cutting himself. They, then, don’t have a claim against the tree owner. Other states provide that the neighbors can sue if:

  • Regardless of whether there is property damage, a landowner may sue her neighbor to make that neighbor trim the branches that encroach upon the landowner’s property.
  • Serious harm such as structural damage caused by encroaching tree limbs or tree roots can cause a lawsuit. This structural damage refers to damaged roofs or walls, crushed pipes, cracked foundations and cracked or clogged sewers.
  • If the tree was planted, not wild, the neighbor may sue.
  • A neighbor may sue if a tree is noxious. That means the tree is inherently dangerous or poisonous AND the tree causes actual damage.

Other states are not as straightforward. There have been successful lawsuits when the tree causes substantial damage or interfered or interferes with the neighbor’s use and enjoyment of their own property. The truth is that you have to check with your state’s laws before taking any action.

We hope this has provided you with some important information. If you need help trimming or removing trees, please contact us at 512-341-8888. We appreciate your interest.

Austin Tree Service

Are Your Trees Prepared for El Niño?

Austin Tree ServiceEl Niño means more rain and colder temperatures this coming fall and winter. Are your trees structurally safe or do they need pruning? If they’re not structurally safe, the cold weather and increased rain could cause problems. Your tree branches could break under the weight of the rain. They could fall down and impact your home or car. They could also become diseased.

If you don’t know if your trees are in good condition or not, you should contact us at Austin Tree Service. Our certified arborist can gauge the health of your trees and branches. He will tell you whether they need to be pruned or if the tree needs to come down. In some cases, El Niño weather patterns are strong enough to bring the biggest but not healthiest tree to its knees.

But, what is El Niño?

El Niño is a climate cycle occurring in the Pacific Ocean that has far-reaching effects. It begins when warm water in the western, tropical Pacific Ocean shifts eastward along the Equator toward the coast of South America. During an El Niño, the Pacific’s warmest surface waters sit offshore northwest South America. Forecasters will declare an El Niño when they see both ocean temperatures and rainfall veer to the East.

El Niño’s bring about a difference in temperature, some wind and a whole lot of rain. Peruvian fishermen, at the beginning of the 20th century noticed the correlations between temperature changes and anchovy stocks. When an El Niño occurred, there were less anchovies during December and January. This began the interest in the phenomenon, which these fishermen called El Niño. The name stuck.

How do I prepare my trees for El Niño?

You should definitely have overhanging tree branches trimmed. We also advocate checking the overall health of your trees, not just the ones that overhang on your home. As we mentioned, trees can break and fall as a result of the cold temperatures and the excess rain of El Niño. You want to make sure they’re in peak condition before the weather hits.

We think you should give us, Austin Tree Service, a call at 512-341-8888 today. We’ll inspect your trees and tell you about how to get ready for El Niño’s wrath this fall and winter.


Austin Tree Service, Inc.

When is the Best Time to Trim Live Oaks in Central Texas?

Austin Tree Service, Inc.So many people wonder when the best time to trim live oaks in Central Texas is. So-called experts say you shouldn’t trim from January to June. However, is it really good to leave trees untrimmed for half the year? In this article, we’ll discuss the best time to trim live oaks in Central Texas. You may be surprised by the answer.

The quick answer is that if an oak tree needs to be pruned, then it should be pruned, regardless of the time of the year. If a tree has limbs rubbing against your roof or it hits cars in the driveway or if you have limbs that are broken when cars drive down the road, the tree has cracked, broken or rubbing limbs. This causes constant sap flow. If you don’t have these limbs and branches trimmed, then you keep your live oak in danger of developing an infection.

When an oak is properly trimmed, with cuts sealed off to eliminate sap flow, the tree is less likely to become infected. Trees that are properly trimmed don’t get infected. They stay healthy. The important thing is to think of the health of your tree and not some so-called expert’s advice.

In fact, improperly maintained oak trees get infected before properly pruned oak trees, regardless of the time of year the oak tree gets trimmed. Oak wilt is the most destructive disease affecting live oaks in Central Texas. Most of the tree mortality stems from tree-to-tree spread of the pathogen through interconnected root systems. New infection centers begin when beetles carry the fungal spores from infected oaks to non-infected oaks.

The best line of defense is to keep all oak trees healthy. This requires pruning when necessary, not when you think you should do it. Remember – the time to prune a tree is when it needs it, not some arbitrary time of year. If it’s January and your oak tree is in need of pruning, hire a professional like Austin Tree Service to prune it. You’ll be grateful you did when the tree remains healthy and so do the other trees in your yard.

Got a live oak in need of pruning? Give us a call at 512-341-8888 today. We’ll be happy to get our certified arborist out there to check out the health of your tree and prune the areas that need it.



Austin Tree Service

When is the Best Time for Tree Trimming Your Oaks

Austin Tree Service

Many people wonder when the best time for tree trimming your oaks is. The fact is there is no one right answer. If possible you should avoid tree trimming during the spring which, in this case corresponds to February 1st and June 30th.  In this article, we’ll discuss why you shouldn’t trim your oak trees during this period. If you have any questions, please contact Austin Tree Service for more information.

The reason you want to prevent trimming trees during February 1st to June 30th is largely because of tree diseases like oak wilt, also known as Ceratocystis fagacearum.  It’s the most destructive disease that affects live oaks and red oaks in this area. Many tree deaths are attributed to the tree-to-tree spread of this pathogen once an oak wilt center becomes established. New infection centers can occur when beetles carry the oak wilt with them to fresh, open wounds on healthy oaks.

  • Wounds include damage caused by wind, hail, vehicles, construction, small animals or pruning. You can reduce the risk of fungal spread when tree trimming your oaks by doing the following:
  • Paint fresh wounds with wound dressing or latex paint immediately after tree trimming or live tree removal whenever they occur.
  • Clean all your pruning tools with a 10% bleach solution or Lysol™ between sites or trees.
  • Debris from a diseased red oak should be immediately chipped, burned or buried.
  • Avoid tree trimming during the spring as defined as February 1st to June 30th. The only reasons to prune in spring are to:
    • Aid public safety concerns such as having a hazardous limb in the way, if there’s a traffic visibility issue or you need to clear emergency utility lines of limbs.
    • Repair damaged limbs from storms or other anomalous issues.
    • Remove limbs that rub against a building or on other branches. You will also want to raise low limbs over a street.
    • On construction sites you should prune just the live tissue that is needed to require clearance.
    • Get rid of dead branches where live tissue is not exposed.

Tree trimming for any other reasons should be conducted before or after this period. No matter when you prune, you should use proper techniques such as making proper cuts and avoiding injuries to the tree such as topping or excessive crown thinning. If you have any questions about this, you should contact Austin Tree Service at 512-341-8888. We’re happy to help trim your oak trees.