an arborist climbing high in a sycamore tree

Why to Book Austin Tree Service in January

When the New Year begins, home and property owners can take advantage of an opportune moment for tree care in Austin. January marks an ideal time to schedule tree services from trimming and deadwood pruning to air spading, canopy lifting, or tree removal.

Regularly-scheduled tree care with Maas Verde’s ISA Certified Arborists supports tree health, property safety, and landscape resilience.

Here’s how initiating tree maintenance in January can be a genius move for Central Texas residents.

Low Temps, Low Stress for Trees

Recent summer droughts have hit Texas trees hard, but live oaks and other native trees all get some relief when the heat breaks.

Many trees thrive in Central Texas’ temperate winters. Thanks to wetter air and soils, they can exchange moisture and nutrients more freely than summer’s demanding conditions allow.

Their root systems get a break, too. Soils help regulate temperature for plants no matter how hot or cold the air is. But when ground cover and understory species are healthier, they increase the insulation soil provides. Also, fallen leaves can increase soil health and function.

Each one of these factors can add benefit trees undergoing trimming, pruning, soil decompaction, or other care.

Beat Oak Wilt in Texas

Oak wilt is a growing threat to live oaks, Texas red oaks, and other oak trees across a huge swath of the midwest. In fact, the Texas A&M Forest Service calls it “one of the deadliest tree diseases in the U.S.,” responsible for killing millions of oaks across the state.

leaves with brown and red patterns spreading along the veins
Veinal necrosis, a symptom of oak wilt; (photo/Texas A&M Forest Service)

In an effort to contain oak wilt, most cities only allow oak trimming during a certain season. In Austin, that season runs from July through January.

One factor that makes oak wilt so aggressive is its ability to spread via a certain beetle. Nitidulid beetles are sap feeders that search for food by traveling between trees with decayed parts or wounds (such as cut limbs).

Stopoakwilt.com offered this fascinating description of the process:

Overland transmission of Oak Wilt begins with an infected red Oak (Shumard Oak, Spanish Oak, Blackjack Oak, Texas Red Oak, etc.). When a red Oak dies, one or more fungal spore mats may form under the bark. The mat grows and expands causing the bark to crack open. The spore mat emits an odor that attracts Nitidulid beetles. The beetles enter the spore mat to feed and spores stick to the insect. These beetles then travel to other trees to feed on the sap from a fresh wound. The Oak Wilt spores may then infect that tree, starting a new disease center. Experiments have shown that under their own power these insects can travel a mile or more and may appear on fresh wounds in 15 minutes or less.

When you trim your trees in January, you hit the sweet spot — when the beetles are minimally active and when oak trees have thrived longest.

At Maas Verde, we do all we can to stop oak wilt spread by disinfecting our tools after each tree care appointment. Heritage Tree Care Master Arborist Vincent Debrock warns that disinfection with rubbing alcohol or bleach spray is a critical step for any provider.

“It is important to vet a tree services to make sure they know how to disinfect their tools,” he told KXAN. “Be safe rather than sorry.”

Prep For Winter’s Harshest Weather

Punishing ice, stiff wind, and plummeting temperatures characterize Texas winter storms. Recent February episodes have wreaked havoc on trees across the state.

an icy, collapsed tree branch
February 2023; (photo/Maas Verde)

To protect them and your property, expert care is the best you can give them.

Weak or overgrown branches quickly become hazards in extreme weather, putting you and your property at risk. Scheduling tree service with Maas Verde in January keeps trees professionally trimmed and pruned, reducing the chances of damage or harm.

Proper trimming can pre-empt excessive damage in any harsh winter weather event. But it also gives residents the best chance to get ahead of the tree care curve after the storm ends — when it’s especially unsafe to trim.

After Austin’s February 2023 ice storm, Texas A&M ecologist Karl Flocke spoke with KXAN alongside Debrock.

“As we proceed into the spring, further cuts to trees might open up wounds that oak wilt can be transmitted to so if at all possible, we don’t want to cut more than necessary on our oak trees,” Flocke said. “And any cuts made to oak trees should be immediately painted to seal over that wound.”

In light of the added risk, Debrock encouraged Austin residents to seek professional help instead of removing or pruning damaged trees themselves.

Get a Head Start on Spring Growth

Regular tree maintenance, particularly in January, promotes overall tree health and vigor. Pruning and trimming stimulate new growth in trees, and improve their structural integrity. Removing overweight or dead branches in the canopy also improves airflow, encouraging lush foliage and robust blooms when spring arrives.

Trees in peak health can help you plan to meet further landscape goals. Knowing your shade conditions, irrigation requirements, and species distribution can support your landscape planning at large.

And don’t forget that understory plants often rely on trees in symbiotic relationships. On all landscapes, each plant interrelates with all of its neighbors. Healthy canopies help host their understory and low-growth species, plus all beneficial insect communities within them. And this creates better soil health — which, to recall this article’s first subtopic, brings us full circle.

an arborist rappelling from a tree
Bound for the ground; (Photo/Marc Opperman)

For Austin tree services including trimming, pruning, removal, canopy lifting, and more — contact Maas Verde’s ISA Certified Arborist-led staff today.



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