Frequently Asked Questions | Central Texas Tree Care

Below are just a few of the questions we get asked every day. We invite you to check out the Knowledge Center for more detailed information on many of these and other topics.

Also, please feel free to contact us at 512-973-9090 for specifics or additional questions!

Tree Trimming

What time of year should I prune my trees?

Although we trim trees every day of the year, the ultimate best time is in the winter or summer months. In the winter, the insect and disease organisms are dormant. In addition, the trees are either in a dormant or semi-dormant state. Another benefit is that the trees will heal over faster from pruning cuts made in the winter, when the spring “early wood” kicks in with the faster spring growth. Summer can also be a good time to prune Oak Wilt susceptible trees because the beetles that carry the disease are typically dormant.

How much should I prune my tree?

One of the main aspects of tree trimming and also one of the most controversial is how much to thin a tree. Many trees are over-pruned. Often too much green, living tissue is removed from the canopy at one time. Thinning specifications and recommendations have changed over time. We used to recommend up to 1/3rd thinning to certain healthy, vigorous urban trees. Now the specifications are much more conservative, with 10-12 percent thinning or less often being the standard.

Of course, each species needs to be addressed specifically. Also, each individual tree also needs to be addressed on a separate basis based on overall health and vigor. Many Austin-area trees need no thinning whatsoever, and thinning can lead to decline. For some local trees, simple dead wood removal and occasional crossing limb elimination, plus building clearance and low limbs removal is all that is required. This is especially true for older oaks or stressed trees. You can see by now that there is no substitute for a seasoned local arborist. What a good Austin arborist brings to the table with respect to inspection and recommendations for the valuable trees on your property cannot be discounted.

Tree Fertilization

Should I fertilize my trees?

Most of the trees we fertilize are either stressed from insect or disease problems or are growing in poor soil. Some newer trees are often fertilized to help get them established, and many established trees are often fertilized to increase vigor, health, and overall growth rate can be improved in many cases. This can be especially true with construction-damaged trees. However, too much fertilizer can actually exacerbate some disease problems, so it is always a good idea to consult with a us prior to starting any tree or shrub fertilization program. Some things to consider are overall health condition of your trees, growth rate, species, soil type and depth, and tree location.

What time of year should I fertilize my trees?

Ultimately, the best time of year to fertilize trees is in the Fall or in the Spring. We do most of our fertilizations in the Spring, but there is a substantial amount of root growth in the Fall, also. We use a 12 month slow-release granular fertilizer for maximum results, and the first application can be done at any time. After that we recommend either Spring to Spring intervals or Fall to Fall intervals.

Tree and Stump Removal

Why remove a stump?

In most cases, stump grinding is done so the lawn can re-grow where the stump used to be, and so the lawn mower blades aren’t compromised. In flower beds, stump grinding is mostly aesthetic, but can also help keep the carpenter ant and termite populations down from exposed and rotting stump wood. Also, cedar stumps can take many years to break down due to the rot-resistant tannins in the wood, so many people opt to have them ground out regardless of location.

Can a stump be ground down below the ground to allow for re-planting?

If budget is not an issue, and the stump is located in an accessable front yard location, a trailer stump grinder (very large and heavy machine) can be hired. These machines are fairly rare in the Austin area because most stumps are not very large here compared to other parts of the country. This machine is non-mobile, and has to be backed up to the stump. Once in place, however, the machine can grind down to two feet below the ground, allowing for re-planting in the same spot.

Can another tree be planted where a stump was?

Many people think that once a stump has been ground out, that another tree or woody plant can be planted in the same spot. In most instances, a normal-sized stump grinder cannot remove an entire stump deeply enough for a new tree to go into the same spot. We recommend offsetting the new planting.

Tree Problems and Pests

Is Ball Moss killing my trees?

Ball Moss is an air feeder. Although it manifests itself on the dead and dying limbs, this is actually coincidental. The limbs on most trees die over time from lack of sunlight. The Ball Moss thrives in this environment. Ball Moss is typically much worse in trees by bodies of water or communities with higher humidity. In extreme manifestations, it can weight down the limbs contributing to breakage in ice storms. Most Ball Moss is removed during standard pruning.

For a detailed look at our services, go to our Services page.

About Central Texas Tree Care

If I leave a message how soon will someone follow up?

We make every effort to answer each call directly. However sometimes you may need to leave a message. If that’s the case we will get back to you by the next day during the week and by Monday, if not sooner over the weekend.

If it’s an emergency, please say so in the message and we will call you back as soon as possible. Completed contact forms are usually followed up on within hours or if sent after hours, by the next morning. We understand the importance of giving our customers the best service and we are committed to doing everything we can to meet that expectation.

What forms of payment do you take?

We happily accept personal checks, business checks, credit cards and, of course, cash. We accept Visa, Mastercard and Discover. Currently we do not take American Express although that might change in the future. We ask that our services be paid for upon completion of the job and we do not ask for a deposit or payment up front.  We like to check with our customers to make sure you are completely satisfied upon the completion of the job and at that time we present the invoice. Note that very large jobs may require some deposit.