Bamboo Removals – They’re Not As Easy As You’d Think

bamboo_removalYou have bamboo trees and you love them. Unfortunately, it’s time to think of bamboo removals because your trees are not thriving and you’ve tried everything to get them healthy again. Bamboo is an aggressive and invasive tree. They create a strong and complex network that makes the emergence of new culms unpredictable. Bamboo removals can be a daunting task. In this article, we’ll go over some things that can be done to make bamboo removals stick so that no new shoots crop up.

You should probably follow the advice of the American Bamboo Society’s advice. If you want to get rid of bamboo, you should probably do the following:

  1. Cut it off. All of the culms (stalks) of bamboo in a clump are interconnected under the ground by rhizomes, aka underground stems. To deal with them appropriately, you should cut them by digging a ditch or cutting a line with a spade. Many people make the mistake of thinking that each separate culm is a tree, but it’s not. They’re usually part of the larger tree. Isolate the portion you want to keep if there is a portion and cut rhizomes with a saw or a drill. You will have to do this every year because bamboo shoots have the nasty habit of re-growing.
  2. Cut it down. You’ll want to cut the grove to the ground. All of it. If there’s any part you want to keep, see step 1.
  3. Water and fertilize the area to generate new growth. This may seem antithetical, but you want to catch the new growth early so you can eradicate it more easily.
  4. Cut it down again. And again. New shoots will come up from the rhizomes. Break them off or cut them with pruning shears. Keep doing this until no new shoots come up. This may take weeks or months. It’s not a simple process. When you do this, you will exhaust the energy of the rhizomes underground. Without green leaves to photosynthesize and produce new energy, the rhizomes will no longer be able to send up new shoots. They will be left behind and will eventually rot away.

Of course, since this process is so complex, you may want the help of a professional like Austin Tree Service. We can take care of bamboo removals so you don’t have to. Give us a call at 512-341-8888.

 

What to Expect When Trimming Bamboo Trees

bamboo-240321_960_720Trimming bamboo trees is not considered essential by some, but it is beneficial. Trimming bamboo can greatly enhance the beauty and aesthetics of the bamboo. It can help you control the density of the bamboo. The health of the bamboo can be benefited by trimming bamboo trees. You should prune or thin bamboo in late summer or fall after the shooting season is finished. If you remove the bamboo during the shooting season, it can diminish the energy reserves and reduce the bamboo’s ability to effectively produce new shoots.

Pruning is the cutting and removal of culms, branches or leaves of the bamboo. You should prune or trim them to maintain bamboo’s attractiveness. Each bamboo culm lives about 10 – 15 years. You should remove older, unattractive culms and cut off any dead or unattractive branches. You can prune bamboo without having any fear of damaging it. Make your cuts above the node so you don’t leave behind a stub that will die back and look unsightly. Trimming bamboo trees is all about keeping them pretty.

If you happen to cut back on the top of the bamboo tree, you’ll also want to even it up on the sides as well. You don’t want to leave long branches at the top. Pruning a bamboo tree is not suggested until after your 3rd to 5th growing season. This gives the bamboo time to mature and become established. If you are unsure, err on the side of caution and remove a few branches. You can always remove more the next time.

Do you want to top your bamboo? You can remove the upper portion to create a lush topiary appearance. Be careful because once you ‘top’ a bamboo, it will not grow vertically again. It will remain the same height for the rest of the tree’s life cycle. Of course, you should leave some viable limbs and cut about ¼ of an inch above the node when you top bamboo. Without limbs, the cane cannot survive.  The remaining limbs will generate more foliage to compensate for the loss of height. This will give your bamboo a very different look.

Please note that bamboo shoots can usually be removed with a handsaw. Make sure that you have safety gear and proceed with caution or call us at Austin Tree Service. We understand bamboo and how to trim it safely and efficiently.

Earth-Wise Guide to Tree Care – Tree Renewal

renewalThe Earth-Wise Guide to Tree Care’s final installment will be all about tree renewal. Tree renewal deals with planting new trees. It’s an optimistic and sustainable investment demonstrating our commitment to the future.

If you do plant new trees, you should make a commitment to them. Determine the available time and money to care for your tree once it’s planted. A tree is an investment. They yield higher quality benefits when you plant and care for them properly.

When watering new trees, you should do it thoroughly once a week. Watering trees when they’re in the ground for less than two years should be done near the planting area to the dripline. This is because those trees have less developed root systems. The watering will help with root development.

Remember that small trees need less water during their establishment. Trees are a wonderful thing, especially newly planted ones. Why? It’s because they adapt quickly to new conditions. You should help this along by planting new trees in the right location. You’ll want to consider the following before planting your new tree:

  • Soil type,
  • Access to water,
  • Shade,
  • Landscape function,
  • And sufficient space for mature tree height and width.

Trees that are placed in the proper location will be healthier and require less water.

When planting, you should utilize a diverse palette of native trees. You’ll want to plant them at the proper depth – that means no deeper than the depth of soil in the rootball. Planting season is October to March so plant your tree during that time frame. When you do mulch, make sure it’s 3-4 inches deep and that the mulch is 4-5 inches away from the base of the trunk.

That’s it for the Earth-Wise Guide to Tree Care. You now know how to evaluate, nurture and renew your trees. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at Austin Tree Care at 512-341-8888 for more information. We’re happy to help.

 

Earth-Wise Guide to Tree Care – Nurturing Your Trees

cedar-elmThis is the third-part in a four-part series on the Earth-Wise Guide to Tree Care. In this blog post, we’ll focus on nurturing your trees. Trees, like any other living thing, need nurturing. This is especially true when they are stressed.  The effects of stress are not usually seen for years so you should take care of your trees early and often.

Water Wisely

The best thing you can do to nurture your trees is to water them properly. For established but distressed trees, you should water at least once every two weeks in dry periods during the growing season. During winter, however, you should water only once a month and that’s if there is no significant rainfall.  When watering trees, they should be watered at least to the dripline.  Large, mature trees need to be watered in the root zone because many of their water-absorbing roots extend beyond the dripline.

How Much Water Do Trees Need

As a general rule, trees need 5-10 gallons of water per inch of diameter. You can use the lower end of the scale for healthy trees. If trees are distressed, water on the upper end of the scale. The excess water will help them heal. You will also use the upper end for trees that are covered in turf or groundcover.

If the water is standing or running off, you are probably watering too much or too quickly. It’s best to use mulch or small berms on slopes, heavy soils (clays), and compacted soils to assure water soaks in and does not run off onto paved surfaces.  On the day after you water your trees, you should use a trowel or a screwdriver to check soil moisture depth. If the soil is moist to 4 or 5 inches deep, then you’ve watered enough.

How Long Should You Water Your Trees

Watering slowly and deeply ensures that water percolates well below the soil surface to the tree roots. You can accomplish slower water application rates by hand-watering, using a donut-shaped sprinkler, spray nozzle or soaker hose. You can also fill 5-gallon buckets or water bottles with a few ¼ inch holes drilled in the bottom. You should place them over the roots of the tree or near the dripline. It’s always a good idea to use a timer so you don’t forget you’re watering your trees.

Compost and Mulch

Besides proper watering, the best thing you can do to nurture your trees is to apply mulch over their root systems. You should apply compost in both the spring and the fall. Place ½ inch to the edge of the tree canopy. Keep compost 4-5 inches away from the base of your trees. You should always apply compost before applying mulch. When you apply mulch, use as much as needed to maintain a pile of 3-4 inches deep. Keep the mulch 4-5 inches away from the base of the tree.

The Benefits of Compost and Mulch

There are many benefits of compost and mulch for the nurturing of your trees. Here are a few:

  • They insulate the soil and roots from extreme temperatures.
  • They slow soil moisture evaporation, which extends the amount of time before watering.
  • Compost and mulch mimic the forest floor. The decomposition of the organic matter in the mulch as well as any existing compost will release nutrients that become available to be absorbed by the roots.
  • They reduce weed and grass competition. Turf can conflict with the presence of trees because they compete for the same resources.
  • Compost and mulch provide a buffer between the turf and tree to help protect the trunk and surface roots from mower and equipment damage. Wounds at the base of the trees can cause lifelong problems.

As you can see, nurturing your trees is vital to keep them healthy over time. You can just leave the trees alone. If you have questions about anything written in this article, feel free to call us at 512-341-8888. We’re happy to help.

Earth-Wise Guide to Tree Care – Evaluating Your Trees

bur-oakThe Earth-Wise Guide to Tree Care suggests that you take three steps to take care of your trees: evaluate, nurture, and renew. This week we’re going to focus on evaluating your trees. Evaluating your trees can be relatively simple. We’ve got some tips to help you.

First off, evaluating your trees means that you’re assessing the current condition of the trees so you can prioritize time and resources that are needed to spend on the trees. Unfortunately, trees in an urban setting are exposed to many environmental stresses that can impact their health. A healthy tree can usually handle such stress. However, when exposed to long periods of environmental stressors like high heat or flooding conditions both of which are prevalent in Central Texas, the tree can reach the point of no return.

There are certain signs of stress you should look for to determine if you need the help of a tree care professional like Austin Tree Service. They are:

  • Leaves that are scorched, wilting, unusual colors, prematurely shedding or turning brown without falling off the tree.
  • Twigs and branches that are dying can indicate root problems and overall tree decline.
  • Cut or damaged roots.
  • Mushrooms around the base of the tree.

If you notice any of these problems, we suggest you call us at 512-341-8888. Our certified arborist can confirm that you do have a tree that’s stressed and what you can do to save it. Of course, if any of the following exist, you should call us immediately:

  • Cavity openings,
  • Nesting holes,
  • Carpenter ants,
  • Termites,
  • Or Missing Wood.

These are signs that your tree has significant internal damage. The tree may or may not be salvageable. Sometimes, in your evaluation of your trees, you’ll find out things you don’t want to. There are occasions when tree removal is the best option. Austin Tree Service can perform tree trimming and tree removal. Before you decide to remove a tree on your own, it would be wise to consult with our certified arborist. It is not advisable to undertake a tree removal without a professional. Visit our website to set up an appointment here. Free estimates are available!

Introducing the Earth-Wise Guide to Tree Care

introduction-earthwisetreecareThe Earth-wise guide to tree care, presented by the City of Austin and various partners, has a wealth of information for you regarding caring for your trees. As the brochure states, “urban trees need our help.” Why you may ask? Well, Texas weather has brought drought, record high and low temperatures and sudden flooding to our trees. None of these situations is ideal for the urban tree.

Unfortunately, this chaotic weather is becoming our new normal. As a result, we need to prepare for it. We also need to prepare our trees for it. To do so, we need to evaluate the health of the existing trees, care for them and make informed decisions on how to replenish the urban forest.

The brochure provides a great deal of information on each of these three steps. We will go more into detail on the separate areas in the coming weeks so we can give you a full understanding of what you need to do.

For example, you can tell if your lifeless and bare tree is still alive by the scratch test. What’s the scratch test? Well, you use your fingernail to scratch the bark on a twig or a branch. If you see a green or yellow color where your finger did the scratching, then live tissue is present. If you’re still unsure about what to do, you should call a certified arborist like the one we have at Austin Tree Service. We will be happy to assess your tree for you and tell you how you can get it healthy again.

If you want more information on the Earth-wise guide to tree care, we will provide it in the coming weeks. You can also check out the websites, http://www.gogreen.org and http://www.austinurbanforestry.org. You can also keep visiting us here at http://www.keepaustingreen.com for tips and information about how to care for your trees in Central Texas.

 

How to promote healthy growth of a newly planted tree?

planting a tree
You have a newly planted tree. You want to promote healthy growth. How do you do it? Well, there are some steps you should follow to keep your tree healthy.

Avoid Transplant Shock

Many newly planted trees suffer from stress because of root loss when dug up at the nursery. This condition is called transplant shock. It results in the newly planted tree’s vulnerability to drought, insects and other issues. Basically, transplant shock lasts until the natural balance between the root system and the top or crown of the transplanted tree is restored. A tree’s chances of survival can be improved through practices that establish the root system. You must care for your tree regularly during the first three years of transplanting.

Protect Tree Roots and Transplanting

An undisturbed, healthy tree usually has a very shallow root system. With good planting techniques and soil conditions, the establishment phase takes one growing season per inch of trunk diameter. On small trees, for example, trunk diameter is measured six inches above the soil line. A two-inch diameter tree takes about two years to establish. In warmer regions of the Unites States, like Texas, however, the establishment phase can be measured in months. One way to determine that the tree is establishing is by observing twig growth. The more twig growth, the more established the tree is.

It’s important to know that the root system normally extends beyond the branch spread. Fine roots absorb water and nutrients that are located very near the soil surface. This is usually located in the top four to ten inches. A natural balance exists between the roots where the water is absorbed and the top of the tree where water is utilized and transpired to the atmosphere.

When a tree is dug for transplanting, about 95% of the roots are severed. This causes the newly transplanted tree suffers from water stress. The crown can lose water faster than it can be absorbed by the limited root mass. Water stress, in turn, can reduce the ability of leaves to produce energy, diminish the growth of all parts of the tree, and subject the tree to many other environmental and pest-related problems.

Generating Root Systems of Newly Planted Trees

You need to have rapid root regeneration for your newly planted tree to survive. Keeping the top of the tree alive and healthy until the natural balance between the roots and top is restored is essential. Initial root development of a newly planted tree is supported by energy stored within the trunk, branch and root tissues. To get continued root growth during the establishment period, your tree has to depend on the leaves of the tree producing high levels of carbohydrates during the growing season, especially during the first year following transplanting.

At this point, pruning trees is not recommended. You should leave the entire top intact to favor rapid development of a supporting root system. Top pruning should be restricted to removing broken and damaged branches and developing a good tree structure. Supplemental watering is critical to avoiding moisture stress.

Plant Your Tree Properly and Give it Regular Follow-Up Care

Proper tree planting site selection is very important when planting a tree. Trees planted on inappropriate sites or in poor soil environments will not survive. If the tree and site are properly matched, successful transplanting can be achieved with good planting procedures and regular maintenance following planting. Urban planting sites usually have dense, compacted subsoils with little to no top soil. Water cannot easily infiltrate compacted soils, and, with heavy rains or overwatering may remain for long periods in loose soil. In excessively wet soil, oxygen is unavailable in sufficient amounts to support root growth.

Trees planted in compacted or wet soils have to develop fine root systems near the soil surface where oxygen is most available. If you enlarge the top of the hole two to three times that of the root ball, the diameter increases the amount of loose, backfill soil near the surface where conditions are not favorable for root growth. Generally speaking, soil from the planting hole should be used to backfill around the root ball. If organic matter is used to amend the soil, it should be incorporated in an area large enough to accommodate root growth for several years.

Watering & Mulching

You should water and mulch a newly planted tree to make sure it stays healthy. Soil moisture is definitely important during the first three years following transplanting. Studies show that carbohydrate levels which are critical for root generation are NOT lowered if newly planted trees are adequately watered. One inch of water each week for the first season is recommended. You should monitor the soil and apply water as needed, however. Overwatering can cause as many problems as under-watering so be careful.

If you mulch a large area around newly planted trees with three to four inches or wood chips or bark, soil moisture will be conserved and the soil temperature itself will remain moderate. Mulch will inhibit the growth of grass. Grass can provide serious competition for resources while you’re trying to establish roots.

Conclusion

We hope these tips will help you have healthy growth for your newly planted trees. If you follow these suggestions, you should be able to get through the planting period safely and successfully. Call us at Austin Tree Service if you have questions. We’re more than happy to help.