What Causes Autumn Leaves to Fall?

Many articles have been written about what causes leaves to change to those vibrant, eye-catching colors we’re accustomed to each year. It is a fascinating process to be sure. But after the appearance of those colors awe us for a time, the limbs become bare and uninviting for a period, too. So, what exactly causes autumn leaves to fall? There are several factors that play a role in this, and unlike the very scientific process that occurs when leaves change color, it may surprise you to learn that some of the causes behind the actual falling of the leaves are actually quite simple, albeit logical.

Perhaps one of the most common reasons leaves fall is wind. As the frequently blustery conditions of autumn and winter set in, leaves succumb to them. Obviously, the more powerful the wind, the more likely the leaves are to fall. If you live in a region that is naturally prone to high winds or blizzards (especially if they occur early in the season), then you are more likely to see the leaves fall earlier than other regions.

Likewise, precipitation may be responsible for causing the leaves to finally drop. This may include heavy rains, hail, snow or ice. Any form of precipitation that either falls heavily or bears significant weight as it accumulates on the tree will likely cause leaves to plunge.

Consider, too, that wildlife may also sometimes be responsible for falling leaves. Particularly, animals of flight and those that climb, such as birds and squirrels, become quite active during autumn as they make preparations for the onset of winter. They scurry about looking for food, shelter and other necessities. In doing so, they may unwittingly become the culprits responsible for finally sending trees’ leaves plummeting to the ground. Contact an Austin arborist or a wildlife specialist for ideas regarding how you can support wildlife during these increasingly sparse months without prematurely compromising the autumnal splendor of your landscaping trees.

The overall health of a landscaping tree is also a factor when it comes to dropping leaves. If a tree is unhealthy or dying, the affected parts are generally isolated from the physiological processes responsible for sustaining it. Certainly a dying branch can neither support itself nor any leaves. If you enjoy autumn’s brilliant colors and desire to prolong their presence on your landscape, contact an Austin tree trimming professional at the first indication of a problem to assist with the proper techniques necessary for dealing with dead or dying branches, thereby increasing the viability of your tree.

While some of the causes of falling leaves are unable to be prevented, some may be combated, even if only for a meager amount of additional time to take in autumn’s grandeur. Speak with an Austin tree care specialist about ways in which you may extend this annual experience in your own backyard.

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

Austin tree service for assistance in maintaining the oak trees that adorn your property and provide nourishment for a variety of animals.'>

Using Acorns to Assist Wildlife

Oak trees are in abundance across much of the United States. Species of oaks have adorned the American terrain for hundreds of years. Many homeowners choose to add this expansive species to their personal landscape for its beauty, grandeur and function.

Acorns are the nuts borne of oaks. And although they frequently go unnoticed by us, they are quite valuable to wildlife, especially in preparation for winter’s relative cold and barrenness. Varying species of oaks produce acorns with varying amounts of bitter tannins, or polyphenols. In spite of the tannins, acorns are consistently a favorite among such wildlife as birds, squirrels, deer and bears.

If your landscape has oaks that produce acorns, then there are several creative ways you can assist wildlife as they begin their preparations for winter by gathering and storing the sustenance that will sustain them during the long winter months. Consider building collection stations across your landscape from which wildlife can feed on or gather acorns.

This endeavor can be thought of much like a bird feeder for birds, only the completed works are feeders for other wildlife, too.

Online searches or research of woodworking books at a local library are great resources for the design and construction of animal feeders. These are generally quite descriptive as well, providing the approximate dimensions necessary for the average size of the animal that feeds from it. This is a positive as far as planning for the amount of materials that will be necessary and the approximate amount of money you will likely incur to complete the projects. For watchful landscape owners who’ve monitored repeated annual visits to his or her property by wildlife over the years, you may even find that you have enough information to help determine the amount of feeders necessary for each type of wildlife that visits your property.

Certainly, if building such projects is not of interest to you, you can always find a local woodworker to build them for you. Or you may also be able to find pre-built feeders at wildlife or feed and seed stores.

Hang or place them in strategic places across your landscape. Squirrel and bird feeders can be hung from privacy fences or ground posts. Wooden replicas of hanging or tripod deer feeders can be made and filled with an abundance of acorns. This would be especially beneficial to deer that perhaps frequent your property due to a heavy pine tree population on or near your property.

Acorns will generally begin to fall at the onset of autumn. Begin collecting them as soon as the weather begins to turn cooler and the days shorter, as this is the time when wildlife will begin to seek them as well.

If you have an oak tree with a branch that appears unhealthy, contact an Austin tree trimming specialist to assist you with proper pruning techniques. This will not only sustain the tree itself and your property in the long-run, but for environmentally-conscious property owners, doing so will also protect the wildlife that happen across your landscape to forage. Depending upon the level of destruction of a branch requiring trimming, salvaging any acorns still attached may or may not be possible.

Use a beautiful, comfortable autumn weekend to gather acorns and put them in wildlife feeders for their easy access. Encourage neighbors to do the same. And watch for opportunities to give away excess amounts of acorns, perhaps during a masting period, for a good cause, such as increasing the population of or altogether re-populating a wildlife habitat.

Consult an Austin tree care professional, and get to know your oaks better.

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

Using Your Landscape to Care for Deer

Many homeowners go to great lengths to keep their landscapes well-maintained and healthy. Consulting and working with professional arborists, aligning properties with fences and working to limit, or completely eliminate, wildlife from encroaching upon a property are just a few examples of things that are often done to care for a landscape.

However, what if a homeowner desires to establish a landscape that is aesthetic, but also attracts wildlife, specifically deer? There are ways to make a landscape both attractive to and suitable for deer. Here are a few ideas how.

First, speak with an Austin wildlife specialist or perhaps a hunting club representative. Often, these individuals are quite knowledgeable when it comes to the specifics of deer in Austin. They can most likely address such questions as when do they begin to move, in which conditions do they best thrive and what do they eat. Answers to each of these certainly gives a homeowner desirous of making his/her landscape an environmentally-friendly one a great place to start in establishing such a place.

Second, plant trees, grasses and other sustenance that will attract deer to your landscape. Consider planting oaks, which produce acorns, a favorite for deer, or trees bearing fruit, such as pear, cherry or apple. You might also consider planting a clover patch, another favorite of deer, or adding a salt lick to an area of your property which is well hidden from view. This is because the deer will ardently dig to get to the salt and other minerals found in a salt lick. After several years of this behavior, it is probable that some of the soil will be displaced, and likely an eyesore, due to this manner of excavation.

Bear in mind that it may take some time, perhaps several seasons, before any trees you plant mature enough to achieve the purpose of attracting or feeding deer. Also, be especially cautious as to the proper care of any oak trees you plant, as oak wilt in Austin, although preventable, has become a growing problem in recent years. A licensed Austin tree trimming professional should be contacted immediately for assistance if you suspect that an oak on your property is affected by oak wilt.

Third, you might also consider planting areas of dense shrubbery or pine trees. Shrubs and accumulations of pine needles are preferred sources of bedding for deer.

Finally, be mindful of other animals that may be present on the property, whether welcomed or not. Pets, such as dogs, and other regionally-specific wildlife, such as mountain lions, bobcats, foxes and coyotes, may frighten the deer you set out and put forth such diligent effort to attract. Any natural opposition that exists between them could lead to injury to the animals, unsuspecting individuals or property.

Because a lack of food sources during the colder months could lead to a slow and cruel death through starvation for a species that is frequently overpopulated, these are great ways to help ensure the survival of perhaps one of the most beautiful and graceful of all wild creatures. If you have questions about how you can make your landscaping trees and other plant life both beautiful and provisional for the local deer herd, contact an Austin tree care specialist for guidance.

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

Using Your Landscaping to Support Wildlife During Winter

Most who take a vested interest in the landscaping of their lawns recognize the value of doing so. They carefully weigh the options for species of trees (or shrubs) to plant, the ideal location for planting them, and the efforts necessary to maintain them. With careful planning and maintenance, the end result is usually aesthetically appealing. With some extra effort, however, landscaping trees can serve a dual purpose. Landscaping can be environmentally friendly by supporting wildlife throughout the harsh winter months.

Because food for wildlife is scarcer during winter, consider adding trees or shrubs that bear food year-round. Consider crabapple or holly, which continue to fruit during the winter. These two trees provide food for wildlife during a time when many other tree species have stopped producing. Bear in mind that it isn’t just birds that are supported by winter-thriving landscaping. Other wildlife also benefit. Deer thrive on the fruit of American holly or hawthorn, or the nuts from oaks, hickories or beech. Wild turkey feed on the fruit of the highbush cranberry. Like deer, squirrels, too, can weather the winter months by feeding from nut-producing species.

Consider using your landscaping trees to support wildlife by buying or building a feeder and hanging it on the trees. Add wild bird seed to help them locate some easily attainable sustenance. Do online or library research, or consult a wildlife agency, in order to learn about the various seeds birds will eat, as well as recipes to make a homemade suet ball. To help feed any squirrels, or to keep them out of your bird feeder, consider making a feeder for them. It can be easily attached to a fence or, if you don’t have a fence, attached to a free-standing post. You can purchase squirrel feed at local department or pet stores or make your own homemade blend. Be sure to include dried corn, sunflower seeds, and some shelled peanuts.

Your landscaping can also support wildlife by providing them with shelter. Consider landscaping trees with cavities as an eco-friendly tree. The cavity provides a natural inlet of protection for trees or squirrels. Evergreen trees whose branches are low to the ground offer additional protection from winter’s bitter cold and winds. In fact, trees or shrubs of any species with dense branching offers this same protection to a multitude of wildlife. If, at any point, branches hang on the ground or too low for your personal liking, contact an Austin tree trimming specialist to assist you in making the tree more sightly. Also, if they exist, areas of your landscaping that may seem less than ideal can be beneficial to wildlife. Rock or brush piles which haven’t yet been attended to can be disguised by planting a shrub in front of it. Doing so hides the eyesore factor while providing shelter for wildlife to ride out the winter. A fallen tree offers the same winter protection. However, should you wish to remove a fallen tree when warmer weather returns, an Austin tree removal specialist can assist you.

If these natural sources of shelter are unavailable through your landscaping trees, consider purchasing or building a birdhouse to hang from your trees, add to a fencepost, or place as free-standing on your lawn.

These are a just a few ideas to consider to help maintain a beautiful landscape while supporting wildlife during a particularly critical time in their survival. For additional ideas about using your landscape to support wildlife, consult an arborist or local wildlife societies.

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