Oak Wilt

Oak trees are one of the more popular and commonly planted landscaping trees. This great species is also a staple of the natural American landscape. However, oaks can easily succumb to a disease known as oak wilt. In recent years, this disease has destroyed a significant number of oaks in the Austin, Texas area. In order to prevent Austin oak wilt, it is important to understand the disease–its origin and how to treat it.

Although it is not the number one disease that kills oaks, oak wilt it is considered the most commonly known. It is caused by a fungus known as Ceratocystis fagacearum. The disease manifests itself through fungal spores that invade an oak and clog its water conducting system.

The disease is spread through two primary agents:

One is through beetles which feed on the sap of oaks. Beetles frequently carry oak wilt spores to non-infected oaks and introduce the pathogen through a fresh wound. The wounds may be caused by a number of factors, including wind damage or inappropriate trimming. However they may exist, wounds must be appropriately treated in order to decrease the chances that an oak will succumb to the effects of oak wilt.

Introduction of these spores by insects may also lead to the second agent frequently responsible for spreading the oak wilt. Once an oak is affected by fungal spores, the possibility for a continued, rapid spread of the disease to other oaks exists through an interconnected root system. Severing the root system of affected trees from other localized, unaffected trees is the only means by which to prevent the continued spread. Consult an Austin tree trimming professional to assist you with this, as he/she will possess the equipment necessary for such an undertaking.

There is no known cure for oak wilt, so prevention is key. For instance, there are specific times of year when pruning an oak is more ideal. Pruning during the extremely hot, dry summer months is beneficial, as there is a decreased spore production during this time period. Conversely, pruning during the extremely cold winter months is equally beneficial due to a reduced amount of insect activity. Additionally, should an oak have one, immediate treatment of a fresh wound may prevent spore contamination and preserve the life of the tree. This can be accomplished using pruning paint. Taking several, very achievable steps can lessen the chances that an oak becomes affected by the disease.

Oaks are a valuable landscaping commodity in Austin. Their value can be maintained through knowledge of oak wilt and some forethought of preventative care. However, if you still have questions concerning oak wilt, its appearance, effects, or treatment, contact an Austin tree care professional to assist you.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree services in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and stump removal. For more information on Austin tree service please visit

Protecting Young Trees From Winter Freezing

After careful research and considerations regarding which tree to plant to enhance the beauty of your landscape, proper care is essential for maintaining the tree’s health and vitality. A part of proper tree care that may not immediately come to mind for many are the measures necessary to protect young trees from winter freezing. Conditions during the cold winter months can vary considerably from region to region, but cold snaps that include freezing temperatures or frosts are possible in any geographical location. Even when relatively warm temperatures begin to return during the spring, occasional cold snaps are possible. However, there are ways to protect your young trees when unseasonable or unexpected cold weather bears down on your region.

The greenhouse effect can be relatively easily and inexpensively replicated for landscaping trees by creating a miniature greenhouse. A miniature greenhouse provides a barrier against winter’s frigid temperatures and winds, encapsulating both warmth and protection. Create your own by first establishing a frame around the tree using wood or metal posts or PVC pipe. Then, cover the frame with plastic sheeting, a tarp, or another type of insulator. Secure the insulating cover using nails, staples, or by tying, whichever method is most appropriate for the materials used. Even if temperatures drop to potentially hazardous conditions at night, they may rise considerably during the daytime hours. This may be especially true during spring. Always bear in mind that, depending upon the temperature, the miniature greenhouse may need to be removed for a period of time so that the young tree does not swelter.

Consider protecting young trees by using thick cloths. Blankets, sheets, towels, or even burlap you may have on hand are excellent options. Depending upon the thickness of the cloth used, be certain the young tree is hefty enough to support its weight. If so, cover the tree’s branches with the items you wish to use or have on hand, and then wrap any excess around as much of the root as is possible. One potential drawback exists using this method of protection. Should any manner of precipitation, including drizzle, rain, or fog, followed by freezing temperatures, affect the region, the cloths may freeze to the tree. Consult an Austin tree trimming specialist with any questions or concerns you have if implementing this method.

If, after covering the branches of the tree, none of the covering items will reach the root, consider using mulch for added protection. Adding mulch to the root system provides insulation. You may even choose to use non-traditional and inexpensive types of mulch to achieve this. Perhaps you have residual compost from your summer garden or grass clippings from your summer lawn mowing. Perhaps you have a mound of leaves or pine needles from your fall raking. Even shredded paper can be recycled into mulch. Any number of items you may already have on hand may serve to protect your young tree’s roots and base during winter.

Because much forethought and care go into establishing an ideal landscape, be prepared to protect your young trees from the bitter cold that frequently accompanies winter. Contact an Austin tree removal professional to assist you with maintaining a healthy, viable tree during winter and beyond.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree services in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and stump removal. For more information on Austin tree service please visit

Ideal Times to Trim a Tree

Since landscaping trees are an investment and can add value to your property, keeping them viable is very important. If you are considering trimming your trees as a way to maintain that viability, there are some things to consider beforehand. For instance, you should consider that there are ideal times to trim a tree. This article will examine some of those ideal times.

If branches are low-hanging, they can be a risk to life or property. Pedestrians, joggers, or cyclists may inadvertently run into branches. Low-hanging branches may clog gutters or interfere with other sources of drainage. Even as a part of a large tree, a low-hanging branch may compromise rooftops, fences, or vehicles below.

Depending upon location, low-hanging branches may also affect a neighbor’s property. Unfortunately, the chances for low-hanging branches to become threats to life or property increase during inclement weather. The weight of snow or ice, heavy winds, or lightning can cause low-hanging branches to become quite dangerous. This can leave the property owner legally and financially responsible for any damages. If you find yourself in such a situation, consider trimming any problematic trees on your property as quickly as possible.

Deciduous trees are those that lose foliage at the end of the growing season. If you have any deciduous trees needing to be trimmed that are not an imminent threat to life or property and time will allow, consider trimming them during the winter months. This is because trees become dormant during cold weather. When a tree is trimmed at this time, chances are lessened that springtime budding will be negatively affected. Maintaining your landscaping trees by trimming them does not have to cost you your beautiful springtime blooms.

Another reason to consider trimming a tree is for better manageability. Sometimes the natural growth of a tree can cause branches to overhang one another. Ultimately, this can lessen the tree’s chances for survival. If overhang is a problem, this is another ideal time for a tree to be trimmed. However, it is best to do so when the tree is young and the overhang affects branches which are relatively new and small. Consult an Austin tree trimming specialist for any inquiries you may have or to secure professional trimming services for your property.

Finally, you can safely trim a tree anytime the branches are dead. In fact, doing so lessens the risk of disease, termites, or other stressors which could impact the overall health of the part of the tree which remains viable. If, at any point, however, other parts of the tree become unhealthy or die, you can contact an Austin tree removal specialist, who can advise you whether or not the tree can be saved and can assist you with its removal if it cannot.

Taking these scenarios into consideration can assist you with your tree trimming projects. However, if you need further assistance with any questions you may have or any actions you may wish to take, contact a qualified arborist for support.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree services in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and stump removal. For more information on Austin tree service please visit

Tree Planting and Care During the Fall

Although it is not typically thought of as such, fall can actually be one of the best seasons for planting trees. Because summer months are drier, sometimes even drought-stricken, newly planted trees often face a hostile environment, unable to take root and thrive. Depending upon the average temperatures and weather and soil conditions for the region in which one lives, this may even be the case for the mid to late spring months. Conversely, the harsh winter months can also be hostile to newly planted trees.

Trees planted during the fall, however, have a great advantage to both these extremes. In fact, timely planting during the fall can prove to be quite beneficial for the successful growth of the tree. By planting during the fall, the climate is typically quite temperate, and the extremes of hot or cold temperatures are no longer an issue. Additionally, with the fall months, the soil tends to better retain moisture, thereby allowing a more nourishing environment for the tree. Planting trees during the fall also allows them the benefit of the winter months for taking root into the surrounding soil and establishing a better chance for viability with the onset of spring.

It is best to start by researching which trees are native to a region. Selecting a species native to a region further ensures the probability of survival. Once a tree has been selected, plant it by first locating the area where the tree is to be planted, carefully considering the average dimensions for the species selected.

Dig a hole as high as, but several times wider than the root ball of the tree. Loosening the soil of the sides of the hole will allow the roots to better establish themselves. However, the bottom of the hole should be left intact to stabilize the tree. If planted correctly, staking the young tree should not be necessary. Generally, staking is only required if there is damage to the lawn or if there are consistently windy conditions.

Remove any containers or, minimally, loosen any burlap (although removing the burlap altogether is best) that may have come on the tree when purchased from the nursery. Then, place the tree into the hole and begin backfilling. Occasionally stomping on the soil will help to remove air pockets.

Backfill approximately two-thirds of the soil originally dug out, then water and allow the soil to settle, continuing to remove any air pockets. Use the remaining one-third of the soil to create a berm (a mound or wall of soil or sand).

Finally, cover the span of the berm all around the base of the trunk with mulch for added support and protection of the young tree.

Once this simple planting process is completed, care of the tree is quite minimal during the fall months and usually includes only watering every other week. There are lots of Austin tree services available for consult. If you are in the central Texas area and would like to consult a professional about planting your own baby tree, you can contact an Austin tree service for advice.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree services in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and stump removal. For more information on Austin tree service please visit