Our tree trimming service in Austin provides only the highest quality pruning to International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) standards and classes. Pruning needs are assessed based on tree safety, general overall tree health and of course catered to fit your budget. Cleanup is done on the same day using chipper machines and large enclosed dump trucks called “chip trucks”. Mulch is available free of charge based on location and availability.
When to prune your trees in Austin
Without a doubt, standard maintenance tree trimming (or pruning) in Austin is the most widely practiced and well known, not to mention time-consuming, aspect of tree care. Most trees in the Austin area require pruning every 3-5 year for optimum health in the urban environment, depending on growth rate and species. Certain aspects of tree trimming such as raising low limbs over lawns and walkways, driveways, street and roof clearance may need to be done every 1-2 years.
Benefits of pruning your trees
Pruning and maintaining your trees has a number of different benefits. From overall health to reducing failure potential, the first thing to consider is the specific tree and the situation. Trees serve many purposes in the Austin area. They beautify, provide shade and add to the overall value of our properties. For long term health and safety in these settings, urban trees need to constantly be inspected and maintained.
In its simplest terms, pruning is the entire removal of many different limbs of different sizes throughout the canopy. The limbs are all removed to the point of origin, or branch collar so the tree can heal as quickly as possible. Some limbs are removed because they are dead, diseased or infested (see mistletoe), other limbs are removed because they are too low or because they are hitting or close to hitting structures. Some limbs are removed to reduce weight and lighten up the tree to help reduce failure potential. Still, other limbs are removed because they are rubbing, damaged, rotten or split.
Sometimes homeowners require reducing trees for a view from a balcony, or for a view through the center of the canopy. Sometimes limbs need to be pruned away from structures or away from pools. Low limbs often need to be removed from driveways, walkways, lawns and streets. Often vines need to be removed from trees or storm damaged or broken/cracked limbs need to be fixed. We often have to thin trees or specific tree limbs to help prevent failure in summer or winter storms.
Pruning for safety and health
Most of the time, trees are maintenance pruned to maintain safety and health. Large and small dead limbs are removed throughout the canopy so the tree can heal itself at the base of the cuts. As the tree puts on new rings of wood every year, branch collars expand and eventually seal off the exposed wood, closing off or ‘compartmentalizing’ rot and decay. By removing dead limbs in a timely manner, especially large dead limbs, we can maintain strong healthy wood on the remaining scaffold limbs. This significantly reduces decay pockets and therefore reduces limb failure.
Another primary by-product of maintenance pruning is elimination of crossing or rubbing limbs. Over time, this is as important as dead wood removal. When limbs expand over time, if they are in contact with each other the rubbing is exacerbated. Crossing limbs continually wound each other more every year. Eliminating these limbs is paramount to overall tree health, and the sooner these limbs are removed the better. It is much easier and less stressful to the tree to remove a small crossing limb than a large one. Removal of extremely large rubbing limbs from a large old live oak canopy, for example, can leave a significant hole, causing sucker growth formation on the exposed limbs and reducing the tree’s shade potential. It can be many years before the tree fills back in.
Not only do crossing branches wound and weaken each other over time, but they are also pathways for infection. Insects bring in or vector fungi and bacteria into trees through exposed wood. As branches rub bark down to exposed wood, these areas are avenues for fungal infections such as white rot and brown rot (slow moving decay fungi) or the faster moving and highly destructive oak wilt fungus, which can then move quickly throughout the trees system, often killing the tree in weeks to months.
Proper pruning the key to a tree’s long, healthy life
Many trees live for a very long time. This is a challenge for us as arborists, as a tree may change ownership multiple times over the course of its long life. Also the same homeowner may have different people with varying skills and knowledge pruning the tree over time. Not always the same knowledgeable hands-on pruners are maintaining the tree each time. Often older poor cuts are found on now well-maintained trees, especially where large limbs were removed in the past. Cuts are often made too far out past the branch collar, so the branch collar has to crawl up the branch ‘stub’ causing a ‘bump’ on the tree when it finally heals. In some cases, limbs are removed too far in, removing the branch collar entirely, causing a ‘flush’ cut, which is much worse than a stub cut, as it often cannot heal or be corrected.
Properly pruning and maintaining your trees is key to ensuring they live long, healthy lives. Failure potential will be reduced, and they should live longer under ideal circumstances. It is generally safer (although it may still have unseen internal decay factors from previous events affecting limb safety), and is certainly more aesthetically pleasing. The longer a tree has been properly pruned and maintained, the safer it will be and the more beauty and enjoyment it will bring. To ensure this, always call a certified arborist to manage and maintain your trees.
If you have a question about the health of a tree, or need an estimate for a tree removal, please contact us for a free quote by filling out a contact form or calling us at 512-973-9090.