Preparing Trees and Shrubs for Ice Damage

magnolia-tree-684226_640Believe it or not, winter is on its way. We’re already in November. Homeowners can do themselves and their trees a big favor by properly preparing trees and shrubs for ice damage. To remain in good health, trees require care before and during the winter. Here are some suggestions as to what you can do to prepare your trees and shrubs for ice damage.

Put mulch on the base

You should apply two to four inches of wood chips, bark or some other type of organic mulch near the base of your trees. You can also use recycled leaves that have fallen from the trees as an organic mulch to protect them for the winter. Be careful not to put the mulch directly against the tree. If you do, then you could increase the chance of soil evaporation and cause issues with water absorption. This process of mulching will help insulate the tree from extreme temperatures. Check your community recycling program. Some of them provide wood chips to you for free.

Rules for winter pruning

Late winter is probably the best time to prune most tree species. However, it can be done whenever the trees are dormant over the winter months. Pruning is often done to remove dead branches or overhanging branches that could damage your home. You shouldn’t remove any branches without having a good reason.

More specifically, you should prune evergreens as needed. This includes magnolias, live oaks and wax myrtles. This will minimize possible ice damage. Do it now (in November) so you can avoid problems in the winter. Wait until the first freeze and then cut back dormant perennials such as lantana and salvia. You’ll want to trim tropical plants like cannas and elephant ears after their foliage freezes down. A major re-shaping of shade trees should be done as needed after the first freeze when the plants go dormant.

The best thing you could do is call us at Austin Tree Service at 512-341-8888 to have our professional certified arborist assess and help you make a knowledgeable decision about the best way to protect your trees and shrubs for ice damage.

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.