Oak Trees and Galls

There are many types of oak trees that are native to Texas and all of America, and there are many diseases that are specific to and affect oak trees.  Galls are one such form of disease that affects oaks.  However, before you think of worst-case scenarios regarding your oak trees, there are some interesting facts pertaining to galls that you should know.  Let‘s examine them here.

First, what is a gall?  A gall is a growth which can be found on several parts of trees, including the leaves, twigs, flowers, and roots.  This growth is produced when certain species of insects deposit their eggs into any of these parts of the tree.  (Galls may also be produced by fungi or bacteria).  Commonly known insects who do this include wasps, mites, and flies.  The galls are formed as a result of a chemical reaction between the larvae and the tree, and their onset is most commonly seen during the spring when budding begins.  Once the gall is formed, the larvae feed on the tissue contained within it until they are fully developed and emerge as adults.

It is difficult to say how to treat galls, as they can be produced by several variety of organisms.  Since they are well-hidden within the confines of the gall, identifying the organism residing therein is equally as difficult.  Some research indicates that preventative spraying may help.  However, the insects responsible for the galls may vary from year to year.  This can make knowing which chemical repellent to use equally as difficult. 

Another interesting and rather puzzling fact regarding galls is that although they are technically categorized as a tree disease, affected trees are generally unscathed by them.  In other words, the presence of galls will not typically kill a tree.  In fact, the presence of galls hardly warrants any efforts to control at all.  Perhaps the most common repercussion of galls is that a large number of them on a particularly weak anatomical location, such as a leaf or a small twig, may cause it to fall from the tree.  Often, it is the loss of leaves at an unconventional time that is one’s first indication a tree may be “sick.”  To reiterate, the onset of galls is typically during spring, and seasonal shedding of leaves is not common until autumn.  Once one takes notice of the falling leaves and investigates further, the galls, which typically appear on the underside of the leaves, are discovered.

Galls can be removed by hand.  They are also often easily removed by the elements, such as wind and rain, after the bulk of it is removed as a result of the larvae’s feeding and certainly after the organism emerges as an adult.  If the galls are particularly unsightly to you, consider contacting an Austin tree trimming specialist, who may be able to assist you aesthetically. 

Galls that are brown in color, hollowed, and dried out are so from providing nourishment to its inhabiting organism.  Once the adult has emerged, galls will contain small holes through which the adult insect emerged.  These are signs that the gestational cycle involving the gall is complete.

If you have a tree that you believe is affected by galls, but aren’t quite certain, contact an Austin tree removal professional.  If your tree is affected by galls, chances are any damage will be minimal.  However, if your tree is affected by something else, it is best to have a professional diagnose the disease as quickly as possible so corrective measures can be taken and your investment can be preserved. 

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

Landscaping Trees and Root Rot

A beautiful, well-maintained landscape adds value to a home or business. Creating a landscape as such is quite an investment, requiring considerable time, energy, and money for establishment and maintenance. In order to maintain this investment, it’s important to become aware of the signs of problems with landscaping trees. Recognizing signs of tree diseases can prompt much needed interventions, which may reverse or cure the tree’s ill. This article will examine one such tree disease–root rot.

Essentially, root rot is as it sounds. The root of a tree begins to rot. Root rot is an effect. So what, then, is the cause? Root rot may be caused by two issues, both a direct result of overwatering. One possible issue due to overwatering is an overall lack of oxygen, without which a tree cannot survive. Another possible issue resulting from overwatering occurs when a previously dormant fungus in the soil is activated and attacks the root. The fungus will eventually cause root rot and likely kill the tree.

If trees inexplicably exhibit wilted or discolored leaves, begin to lose leaves, especially external to autumn, or have an overall poor or unhealthy appearance, then there may be an onset of root rot. Increased chances for this may exist if these signs became present following an incident, or repeated incidents, of overwatering. Overwatering may be the result of an intentional effort to sustain the tree by a homeowner or business owner or may be the result of poor drainage by natural waterfall, such as rain. Whichever the case, damage may be done.

It’s also possible that root rot may impact trees whose roots have been damaged by mower blades or have otherwise been nicked in such a way that roots can be directly and negatively affected.

If conks are present on a tree, then root rot is also present. Conks are shelf-like fungi that grow as a result of and flourish when there are rotting or decaying roots. The presence of conks is also a reasonable measure by which root rot damage may be estimated. For instance, the more conks there are, the more sizeable they are, and the more tree circumference enveloped by them, the more severe the root decay.

If the root system or bark of the lower part of the tree trunk is dark-colored, easily removed, or friable, root rot is likely. This may be the most obvious sign of a problem with root rot. However, if you are still uncertain, contact an Austin tree trimming
specialist, who can provide expert guidance about the health of your landscaping trees.

Because prevention of root rot is the best way to maintain healthy landscaping trees, it is quite important to recognize the signs of it. However, if you have a tree that you believe is indeed suffering from root rot, you can contact Austin tree removal specialist, who can assist you with determining the best course of action, especially valuable information and assistance if removal of the tree is the best or only option. They can advise regarding chemical treatment of the soil. An Austin arborist can also effectively speak to measures you can take to avoid wounding the roots of a tree in order to prevent vulnerability. If you decide for aesthetical reasons to replant in the same vicinity as a previously affected tree, be certain to contact an Austin stump removal specialist. It is imperative that all of the stump and roots from a previously affected tree are properly removed to lessen the chances that a new landscaping tree will suffer the same fate.

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

Options for Stump Removal

As valuable as landscaping trees may be to a home, there are reasons why some homeowners may choose to have a tree removed. Perhaps the tree is an impending danger to property or power lines. Perhaps it is in a spot where a home addition, storage building, or garden is to go. Perhaps the tree is dead or dying from the effects of inclement weather. If you have ever had a tree removed, whether intentionally or not, an unsightly stump may remain. If this is the case, there are several options for stump removal to consider.

Perhaps the most natural option for stump removal is to cover it with soil. This produces a natural decay (rot). It is a completely organic, environmentally friendly way to break down the stump. The potential drawback, however, is the length of time it takes for the process to take place. This can be reasonably estimated by the size of the stump to be removed. Typically, the larger the stump is, the longer it will take for it to decay naturally.

If waiting for a natural, organic decay is not an option due to any time constraints a homeowner may be facing, another possibility for stump removal is to use a commercial chemical to assist with the breakdown in a more expedient timeframe. Consistent applications according to the directions on the product can accelerate the breakdown process. Once the stump is soft enough, many attempt to remove it by burning it. However, there are several other considerations to bear in mind with this method.

First, even using a chemical in an attempt to accelerate the decay process, followed by a burn, may still take more time than the homeowner desires. Second, there are legalities to consider before burning a stump, such as acquiring a permit to burn and any “no burn” injunctions municipalities may enforce. Finally, there are safety concerns to consider. Would a burn somehow become uncontrolled? Is it near your home or that of a neighbor’s? Is it near other personal property, such as outbuildings, equipment, orlivestock? Is it near brush that could catch fire and spread easily? As this method certainly involves a certain degree of risk, it should not be approached with a flippant attitude.

The quickest method for having a tree stump removed is stump grinding. There is generally more expense involved with this method, but the equipment used by professionals is much more efficient than the other options discussed here. Consult an Austin tree trimming professional for more information regarding procedures and overall cost. Depending upon the size of the stump, in very little time at all, the stump can be completely removed. Of course, stump removal through grinding may be done for aesthetic purposes, but there is also some practicality to it. If a stump is removed by grinding below grade level, then new grass can grow and mower blades are less compromised. There is also a decreased risk for termites when a stump is removed.

When it comes to stump removal, these are some possibilities to consider. However, consulting an Austin tree removal specialist is a great idea before any action is taken. Solicit their expertise to become more well-informed about how to proceed. The information and intervention you receive may make the process less worrisome and time-consuming, especially when time constraints are an issue.

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

Recognizing Disease in Your Landscaping Trees

Many homeowners place as much value in the outward appearance of their home as they do the inward appearance. For this reason, landscaping is quite important to most homeowners. Each year, much time, effort, and money are invested in the upkeep of residential landscaping. To protect that crucial investment, it is to the homeowner’s advantage to educate himself or herself about continued, proper care of their landscape. Learning to recognize signs of disease in landscaping trees is an important first step in the education of proper care. Any previously unnoted abnormality may be the first sign that a tree is diseased. You should consider the following information to make a determination.

First, it is important to know the species of the tree in question. Because some diseases are specific to only certain plants, this is a crucial means by which to rule out, as well as rule in, what the possibilities may be. If you do not know the species or cannot identify it by conducting online research or using book and picture references, consult an arborist for reliable assistance.

Next, you should compare the tree to other trees in the immediate, surrounding area and, especially, trees of the same species. Are other trees experiencing any of the same signs? If so, are those trees the same species? Are they different species? Consider, also, if there have been any commonalities between the trees. Were they recently exposed to some manner of pesticide (for example, municipal mosquito spraying)? Could their roots have been wounded by municipal mowing of road shoulders? Are there drainage issues at or near the location of any questionable trees? Conversely, are there any drought-like conditions at or near the location? Is there any nearby construction that could be affecting the root system?

Follow up by examining the overall appearance of the tree. Note the color of the trunk. Is it lighter in color and brittle? This could indicate insufficient water to facilitate viability. Is the trunk dark or black and moist and perhaps easily removed? This could indicate too much water or root rot. Is the tree affected at the top or bottom? Only on one side? Or, is the entire tree affected? Are the leaves wilted or curled in on themselves? This information can help to determine if, or further confirm that, the tree is diseased and what the cause of the disease may be.

Because landscaping is such an important investment, once you’ve gathered this information, it’s most advantageous to contact a professional Austin arborist or Austin tree trimming specialist, who can assist you with making the correct diagnosis for your affected tree, as well as determining the best course of action to restore its health. If necessary, call a professional for Austin tree removal or Austin stump removal so that disease doesn’t spread. With the proper diagnosis and treatment, it’s quite possible that your landscaping trees can be salvaged and continue to be an asset, contributing to the overall value of your home. However, if there is no treatment available to restore the tree to full health, consult an Austin tree removal specialist for safe, and professional removal of the tree.

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