How to Work with Austin’s Soils

gardening-690940_960_720Great soils are the foundation you need to make your trees grow. Austin is blessed with many gifts; however, the gift of good soil is not of them. There’s black clay in Pflugerville and many hillsides west of I-35. They’re dense and they absorb water slowly and pack tightly. This makes it tough for trees and plants to get a foothold in the soil.

To the west, we have limestone outcroppings covered with thin soil. Thin soil makes plants and trees susceptible to drought because roots quickly deplete the limited moistures of these soils. Along the river bottoms and the broad plains to the southeast of town, the soil is deep loam. This type of soil absorbs and drains water well. It provides a good foundation for growing plants and trees. However these soils, like all soils in the region, are low in organic matter.

As a general rule, if you want to grow things in Austin, you need to improve the soil. The two main things you need are compost to improve the soil’s quality and more soil depth to support a strong, extensive and resilient root system. A soil depth of 6” is minimal for lawn grasses. More is better. Turf that is grown on more shallow soils is weak. It requires constant watering just to keep it alive. Flowers and vegetables need about 1 foot of soil to grow well. Trees can require more than that.

You can buy or make compost to put on your soil. If the soil is deep enough and just needs some improvement, spread several inches of compost over the area you need to improve. You’ll want to mix it as deeply as you can. This will enhance the soil in the root zone of the plants or trees and improve your results dramatically.

If the spot is poorly drained or has a thin soil over underlying rock, you may need to bring in a special soil mix to build up your depth. These mixes come in many variations and usually have a blend of loam and sand along with composted bark, manure or other decomposed organic matter. Spread it out over a few inches and then till or spade it into the existing soil. Then spread more over the area to build up the soil to the desired depth. This blending technique will prevent the dramatic interface between two types of soil that can impede root penetration and could create a “perched water table” because water will not readily move from the loose, compost-enhanced mix into an underlying clay layer.

For more information on soil types in Travis County, visit: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_MANUSCRIPTS/texas/TX453/0/Travis.pdf. If you have any questions about our tree’s health, feel free to contact us at Austin Tree. We can be reached at 512-341-8888.

How to properly decorate your outdoor trees for Christmas

christmastreedecorationsChristmas decorations have been extending outside for a long time now. Many people have wonderful Christmas displays on their front lawns. When decorating your outdoor trees for Christmas, there are a few things you should keep in mind. These tips for how to properly decorate your outdoor trees for Christmas will ensure that your trees look great and remain safe.

  1. Make sure lights have all bulbs lit. Before you wrap the tree with Christmas lights, make sure they are functional. Check the bulbs to make sure they’re all lit. If one isn’t lit, then the whole string won’t work. You can check them indoors if you’d like. When you buy Christmas lights, they have some extra bulbs in the box. Be careful not to throw those away. You never know when you may need them.
  2. Don’t overload your power source. You’ll be using lots of wires. Make sure you have extension cords and they’re not loaded with too many wires. Better to buy more extension cords than to have fewer cords that are overloaded. You will also want to make sure they are not near standing water at any time. Make sure your amperage of your electrical products matches the amperage of your extension cords. Otherwise, you could be creating a fire hazard.
  3. Before using any wires, inspect them. Make sure they are not frayed or damaged in any way. If they are, don’t use them. You don’t want to take the chance of using them. They could ruin your whole display – and your house.
  4. Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees. You can wrap the lights around the tree trunk or within the branches. It’s up to you how you decorate, but make sure they’re secure so that the wind or bad weather doesn’t mess them up. You also want to make sure they won’t damage your wires. (Check #3 for more information on wires.)
  5. Turn off indoor and outdoor decorations when going out. This includes the decorations in your trees. You’ll also want to use a timer so they’re not on all night. Timers are easy to get and use and they help save electricity and don’t upset the neighbors.

We hope these tips have helped you with your Christmas decorations. We especially want you to focus on keeping your trees healthy while being well-decorated. If you have any questions, contact Austin Tree Service at 512-341-8888. Happy Holidays!

 

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

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.

Storm Damage and Your Trees – What You Should Watch Out for

Austin Tree Service, Inc.
damaged house from tree collapse due to storm
When storms come raging, like they’ve recently been doing in Central Texas, there are things to watch out for. After the storm, you should assess the damage to your yard, particularly your trees. Storm damage is common. In this article, we’ll tell you what you should watch out for when it comes to storm damage so that you know when to call us at Austin Tree Service, Inc. We take storm damage very seriously and so should you.

Most storm damage occurs when trees or limbs fall. High winds can cause tree roots to fail and branches to weaken. Sometimes property damage occurs. At other times, trees become intermingled with overhead or downed utility lines. You should NOT try to remove limbs in this situation. If there isn’t any danger from power lines, you should remove trees or limbs that have fallen on your home or are blocking access. It’s wise to look at your trees to see if there are any limbs up there that could still drop.

If there isn’t an immediate safety risk, you can take your time to assess the damage and determine which trees need to be cut and which need to be removed if necessary. Don’t take on more than your skill level allows. The truth is that it’s best to call an expert like Austin Tree Service, Inc. We have a professional arborist on staff who can assess your trees and tell you what needs to be done to restore them to health.

You should not try to do it all yourself even if you believe you can. Anything not on the ground, should definitely be handled by a professional as well as anything stuck in a power line. Some reasons you need a professional include, but are not limited to:

  • Large limbs are broken or hanging overhead chainsaw work is needed.
  • The tree is uprooted or downed. This can create pressure points and tension. A chainsaw operator could find himself or herself in serious danger if attempting to cut a limb or trunk that is under pressure. It could have a catapult-like reaction.
  • If branches are close to utility lines, call your utility company. You should never attempt to move a downed utility line.
  •  There are any tasks to do that you are not trained to do or equipped to do. If there’s anything that makes you uncomfortable, you should contact a professional.

Remember, storm damage is natural. It happens. The best thing you can do is to assess the damage and contact an arborist like the one we have on staff at Austin Tree Service, Inc. We will do our best to come out quickly and make an assessment and give you the best course of action to take to prevent further damage to your home and your trees. Give us a call at 512-341-8888. We’re here to help.

Austin Tree Service

Save Your Roof by Taking Care of Your Trees

Austin Tree Service
 

You have a tree on your roof. Maybe two. You’ve never had them trimmed. That’s a mistake. Large branches can topple onto your home when the wind gusts just right especially if the tree is weak. In this article, we’ll talk about how you can save your roof by taking care of your trees.

If you think you can spot all unhealthy tree branches with the naked eye, you are wrong. It’s best to call a certified arborist like the one we have at Austin Tree Service who can inspect your trees thoroughly and choose which branches need to come done. Then, we’ll take care of cutting and trimming them so that your tree and your roof stay healthy.

Some people complain about the cost of tree trimming. However, it’s much cheaper to have a tree or two trimmed than to get a new roof.  Avoiding roof damage starts with planting your trees in the right location. Many times people plant trees too close to home. Large tree roots can cause problems. Large branches will then be too close to your roof. Recommendations state that trees should not be within six-feet of your roof.

Why? Well, this protects your home from severe Texas weather, of which we’ve had quite a lot lately. This distance could also keep squirrels and other small animals from jumping onto the roof, trying to find entry inside your home to nest. They can also gnaw on your roof and siding

A little prevention with tree-trimming can go a long way toward keeping leaves and moss off your roof and keeping your roof damage-free. Abrasions from limbs and leaves that touch your roof can damage shingles especially when there are high winds.

Removing leaves is also important. When you have trees with overhanging branches on your roof, leaves can collect in roof valleys or chimneys. If not removed, they trap moisture and gradually decompose. This allows moisture to accumulate on your roof and could even create an environment where leaves will grow. It’s best to have a pro like us at Austin Tree Service go up on the roof to remove those leaves so they don’t’ mess with your roof.

Need help with overhanging branches or leaves on the roof? Give Austin Tree Service Inc. a call at 512-341-8888. We’re more than happy to help.

Welcome To Our Blog!

welcometagWe, at Austin Tree Service, would like to take a moment to welcome you to our blog. You will find information and tips on tree care and service here. We will update you on our services such as:

  • Tree Trimming,
  • Tree Removal,
  • Roof Clearance,
  • Storm Cleanup,
  • And more.

We will teach you the ins and out of handling your trees with care so that they will last for a long time and not cause you any problems. Trees are beautiful. They are functional as well. They provide shade from the sun which is very welcome in Central Texas. A tree that overlooks your home, can help cool your home and increase energy savings.

Of course, sometimes, trees overhang too much on your property and you can call us for tree removal. We’ll be there to help you out with the appropriate equipment and staff on hand. We even have a Certified Arborist on our staff who can diagnose your tree and see if it has a disease. If it does, we can treat the tree and trim what needs to be trimmed to improve its overall health.

We care for trees and want nothing more than for you to have a yard full of healthy trees. Austin Tree Service can handle tree removal after a storm or if your tree is just too diseased to remain intact. We clear trees off the roof so that they don’t cause trouble to windows or the home. At Austin Tree Service, you’ll find professional care for your trees and an expert touch. We know what we’re doing. We’ve been doing it for over ten years.

We are insured and bonded. This means you can trust us on your property and to handle your trees. Our blog is coming soon and you’ll get more information on tree care from our expert team.

We look forward to working with you. Give us a call at 512-341-8888 if you need any services. We’re happy to help!