Just today, one of my respected colleagues, Heather Brewer, a municipal forester in the City of Georgetown, turned me on to a bill that is being introduced by Republican house member Lois Kolkhorst. Kolkhorst is from Brenham, TX. Her proposal aims to put maximum limits on tree mitigation that a government entity can require. And, the proposal prevents a municipality from enforcing tree protection in extra-territorial jurisdictions. As much as we all hate complicated law, there is a need for it. Expecting us to all get along without rules is overly optimistic. So, I do think some variety of state regulation could be useful if the language is well written. However, this proposal raises an eyebrow on me for many reasons. (keep reading…)
February 23, 2013
November 19, 2011
The purpose of the mulch calculator is to help you figure out how much mulch you need to buy for your mulching project. Mulch is conventionally sold by the yard. When you draw an area on the map it tells you how many yards of mulch are required to cover the area and also gives you some square footage calculations in case that is useful to you. There are some price calculations in there, but it’s really up to you to price shop and get the best deal you can.
November 13, 2011
There are so many different fungi out there. Only some of them affect trees. Some grow on/in trees, but don’t really affect the tree’s health. Some usually don’t affect tree health, but can become pathogenic in the right circumstances. Identifying and understanding all these different fungi is definitely one of the more challenging parts of being an arborist. Over the years, I have run into a number of these fungi and done some homework on them. However, many of these fungi are pretty uncommon so retaining all the details I learn about a fungus I only see once in a while becomes an issue sometimes. To help with the challenges of identifying fungi, I made this Fungus photo identification helper tool. I’ve only recently created it, so there are a lot of fungi that I haven’t yet added to the list. But, it will grow with time as I use it. I hope you find it helpful. Watch this short video to see how it works.
August 30, 2011
On October 5th –7th the best arborists in the state will be meeting in Waco for the 32nd annual Texas Tree Conference. The event is for local arborists and foresters to learn from the leading researches and leaders in the industry and obtain needed CEU’s to maintain arborist certification requirements. However, anybody is welcome. You don’t have to be a professional arborist to come.
You can register online at the ISAT webstore.
Get the registration brochure here.
Here is the vendor registration form in you want to be a sponsor.
August 26, 2011
ISAT is the Texas chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). Every year ISAT puts on the Texas Tree Climbing Championships. The winner of our Texas competition qualifies to represent our chapter in the international tree climbing championships (ITCC). Just to be clear, the ISA is truly an international organization. There are 37 chapters and 9 associate organizations. 20 of them are US and 17 other countries.
August 21, 2011
The annual Jamboree for Texas tree climbers is coming to Austin again next spring. If you haven’t been before you should come! Two action-packed, tree-climbing days will culminate to yield the 2012 Champion who’ll earn the right to represent our state/chapter in the international championships in Portland, Oregon next summer. (keep reading…)
July 4, 2011
Most planted trees in the Austin area are container grown trees. Most container grown trees develop girdling roots. If you’ve planted a tree, there is a good chance this is going to be an issue for your tree. Girdling roots are a serious problem. The end result is the tree literally choking itself. Tree death is the typical result from severely girdling roots. Even if your tree is lucky enough to survive, overall health and vigor will be poor. Behind construction and weed-n-feed damage, this is probably the third most prevalent and serious tree issue I run into out in the field (especially for transplanted trees). The picture to the left shows a typical looking girdling root. Keep in mind these aren’t always visible from surface level. Sometimes you have to dig down to find them.
June 19, 2011
Be careful before you remove a tree in your yard if you live in Austin. Many of the trees in Austin are protected. Possibly even some in your yard! The city’s tree protection ordinance is somewhat complicated. Here is some info to get you started.
- In residential settings, trees 19″DBH (diameter at breast height, approx 4.5′) and larger are protected
- In commercial settings, trees 8″DBH and larger are protected
- Trees 24″and larger are classified with heritage status
- Removing or pruning out more than 25% of the canopy of a protected tree requires a permit
June 13, 2011
The city of Austin is very demanding that you do not impact what is defined as 1/2 of any heritage tree’s critical root zone (CRZ) during construction and development processes. And, rightly so. If you are building around a tree and expect it to live, rooting area needs to be preserved. Unfortunately, sometimes the city’s CRZ protection requirements can really restrict design ideas and site use. During one particular project I worked on with David Carroll with LZT Architects, the design successfully avoided breeching the 1/2 CRZ of a heritage tree, however, the contractors needed a few feet of access around the edge of the new building. The problem was the design built right up against the 1/2 CRZ, which meant workers would need to work on top of the 1/2 CRZ;this is a no-no. To mitigate the access problems, the builder put down a stage of CRZ ground protection. This consisted of an 8″layer of mulch directly on the natural grade with a stage made of 2×4 sleepers attached to plywood. This stage effectively buffers foot traffic from the root zone to protect the tree and allow workers to do their job.
Here is a pdf of the stage sketch
April 27, 2011
Cypress trees are my personal favorite group of conifers. The five cypress trees I’ll discuss here are very different in appearance. I see a lot of amateur gardeners try to identify conifers based on leaf type, but this doesn’t work. It’s the seeds that give them away. There are two genera of the cypress family that do well in central Texas that I’ll be discussing in this article: Cupressus (Arizona, Italian and Leyland) and Taxodium (Bald and Montezuma). The two groups have very different foliage. Cupressus have scale like foliage much like most junipers and Taxodium have (keep reading…)