Preparation for Hurricanes

As both fun and relaxation sweep in with summer in Austin, Texas, so do the threats of varying dangerous weather patterns. Excessive heat and drought often accompany summer. On the flip side, flooding is sometimes an issue as well. This could result from heavy mid-western winter snows that finally melt and make their way down country or from localized heavy rain events. Hurricanes are another weather phenomena that shouldn’t be overlooked during the summer months. Undoubtedly, they bring with them incredibly forceful winds and torrential rains. When a hurricane is predicted to make landfall in your region, it is important that precautions are taken to protect your landscaping trees, home, and other personal property.

Before hurricane season officially begins, take a look at the landscaping trees on your property. Specifically, it is important to examine the structure of the trees. Are there weak limbs already on the verge of collapse? Is there verifiable damage to the trunk that perhaps makes the tree weak? If so, these are situations in which a weakened tree would likely have a difficult time sustaining itself during heavy winds and rain. Pruning or, in worst case scenarios, removing the tree may be worthy considerations in order to prevent greater property damage or cleanup or repair expense following a hurricane. An Austin tree removal professional can assist with this task.

In addition to considering the location of the landscaping trees on your property, it is equally as important to consider the trees’ locations relative to other structures. For instance, does a weakened tree or tree limb perhaps hang just above your rooftop or near glass windows? Your vehicles or carport? Your storage shed or privacy fence? A weakened tree or tree limb has the potential to rip away shingles or even collapse into your home, creating considerable structural damage; to break through glass windows; to crush a vehicle, eradicating a usually costly and necessary means of transportation; or to damage stored property or property lines. An Austin tree trimming expert can assist you with such considerations and how best to lessen the chances of hurricane-related damage.

Yet another scenario to consider is the condition of the area immediately surrounding the trees. Particularly, are the roots deeply set into the surrounding soil or are they considerably exposed? This could greatly affect the tree’s stability and ability to withstand hurricane-force winds. Is the soil around the tree trunk weatherworn? Erosion at the base of the tree could potentially allow rainfall to accumulate there. This may account for any number of problems, including the inability of the tree to receive sufficient oxygen, essentially drowning it, or the creation of a breeding ground for pesky summer insects, like mosquitoes. Consult an Austin tree care service to assist you in determining how even base-level conditions may affect a tree’s vitality during the stress of a hurricane.

Although we certainly want to protect our property, including our landscaping trees, it’s important to remember that those trees which are structurally sound not only have a better chance of withstanding a hurricane‘s fury, but also promote the overall protection of other property structures, eventually and collectively diminishing a hurricane and its damaging effects. Because they serve such a purpose, caring for our trees before hurricane season begins is critical to their ultimate survival. Consult an Austin arborist to assist in your hurricane season preparations.

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

Caring for Storm-Damaged Trees

Spring is upon us, and although increasingly warm temperatures and sunny days typically accompany its arrival, there is also signature stormy weather with which to contend as well. If your landscaping trees fall victim to spring’s storms, there are steps that can be taken to improve the tree’s appearance, as well as steps that must be taken to prevent further damage or even death.

One of the most common ways trees are damaged is from heavy winds. Stormy winds frequently snap limbs. This can be true of the hardiest of limbs, but is especially true of the weaker ones. Once a limb has been torn from a tree, one of the biggest concerns becomes protecting the tree from exposure to the elements. This is especially true of a tree that otherwise would remain healthy, save the lost limb(s), if proper steps are taken to maintain its integrity.

For instance, in Austin, Texas, one potential demise of an uncared for or neglected oak is oak wilt. Unmanaged storm-damaged or broken limbs often attract the vectors responsible for causing oak wilt. If the exposed tree is properly cared for by the immediate application of a commercial tree paint, even a storm-damaged tree may continue to thrive. If the tree is uncared for, however, it is a prime target for the vectors that cause oak wilt, a secondary effect of the initial storm damage. With the neglect of just a very few simple steps that could be taken to save the tree, once exposed to oak wilt, the tree’s demise is practically certain.

Consult an Austin tree trimming specialist to assist you with the proper trimming of broken limbs and resulting tree damage. Not only can a certified tree professional assist with the damage that may be done as a result of spring storms, but he/she can also assist with aesthetics and the regular maintenance of trees such that the possibility of storm damage is lessened or even eliminated.

Another possible form of damage that may not immediately come to mind is flooding. This may be especially true if flooding is not typically a weather-related event in a particular geographical location. However, it should never be dismissed as a possibility, as any number of weather phenomena may occur in even the most unlikely of locations.

Damaging effects may come as a result of a major flood event or even as a series of small flash flooding events. Flooding may cause severe damage to the roots and trunk of a tree. There are variables that determine the extent of the damage, of course, but the most common include the location of the tree, the water level, the amount of time a tree’s roots and trunk remain underwater, and the species of tree. As some species, such as river birch and red maple, are more adaptive to flood conditions, any damage they sustain may be to a lesser degree than a species of tree which is not able to deal with such conditions.

Once flood waters recede, it is imperative to gauge any resulting root or trunk damage. This is important not only to the life of the tree, but also to things to which the tree may be proximal, including homes, fenced property lines, or power lines. Whether structural damage to the tree appears obvious or not, contact an Austin tree care professional, who can offer a quality opinion about the structural integrity of the tree, determine if the tree will need to be removed, and can oversee the removal of the tree if that is determined necessary.

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

Repairing Tree Bark Damage

Tree bark can become damaged for many reasons. One common way a tree is injured and becomes infected is due to lawn mowers and weed trimmers. People don’t realize when they are mowing or trimming around their trees the damage they can cause to that tree. The place of injury typically occurs at the trees buttress, or the part that sticks out from the trunk. With numerous small repeated wounds, the tree can become damaged.  This damage is especially dangerous to the tree if it occurs in early spring during leaf emergence or in early fall during leaf drop. It is during this time that the tree bark is slipping or loose due to cambium growth.

You can protect your tree from injury by simply hand trimming the grass around the tree or preventing grass and weeds from growing at the base of the tree with the use of a herbicide or mulch.

Injury can be prevented by the removal (by hand trimming) or prevention (use of a herbicide or mulch) of grass and weeds from growing at the base of the tree.

Once a tree is wounded, the tree tries to protect itself from pathogens that would invade the wound. These microorganisms often attack the injured bark and invade adjacent healthy tissue, greatly enlarging the affected area. You can also completely girdle your tree from microbial attack after it has been injured. Watch for decay fungi, which also becomes active on the wound surface. This causes structural deterioration of the woody tissues beneath the wound.

If your tree has been wounded, even if in a minor way, you will need to repair that wound. Here are some ways to tend to tree bark wounds.

1. Scratched Tree – Wash the wound out with plain soap and water. This helps to reduce the amount of pathogens that would be in the scratch and that could cause further damage. Follow this with washing the wound thoroughly with plain water. Allow the scratch to heal in the open air, do not apply a sealant on it.

2.Replacing Bark That Has Come Off – If you can find the bark that has been removed from a tree after damage, gather it up and try reattaching it to the tree. You can use duct tape to secure the bark back to the tree. Like working a puzzle, make sure the bark is placed exactly as it was before it fell off, laying in the right direction. A tree transfers nutrients in only one direction. You must do this quickly before the bark dies. Wait for 12 weeks before removing the tape.

3. Bark That Falls Off and Can’t Be Replaced – If you cannot retrieve the bark that has been pulled from a tree, you still will need to clean the wound. Jagged wounds will interfere with the tree’s ability to transport nutrients so you will need to clean cut the wound. Cut an oval around the circumference of the damaged portion of the bark. Don’t dig too deep. Let the wound air heal and do not use a sealant. Check the wound as often as possible to remove insects. If recovery doesn’t happen in 2-3 weeks, seek professional help.

Healthy trees usually recover from wounding quickly. If you have made the above fixes on your wounded tree, remember to also keep your tree watered and fertilized properly. Having extra attention will help your tree strong and allow its wound to close quicker, not to mention improve its resistance to decay.

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