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…)
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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.
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
November 7, 2010
On February 10, 2010 the City of Westlake Hills adopted a new tree ordinance. You can read the document in its entirety here. But, I’d like to offer you these important items in the ordinance.
- You must have a permit for any tree pruning if you hire a service. If you do the pruning yourself, there are some allowance, but you should contact Christy to keep yourself out of trouble.
- Trees up to 6″diameter can be removed without permit.
- Trees 6″and larger can be (keep reading…)
December 14, 2009
Who hasn’t dreamed of the most grand tree house imaginable? Trap door, zip line, bucket on a pulley to get your stuff up. Well, for a few lucky kids their dream came true. And, their dad cared enough about the tree to call me in for advice. He didn’t want the dream tree house to be the demise of the tree. There are techniques to employ to minimize the damage to your tree when building a tree house.
December 8, 2009
As a landscaper, your job might not be to manage tree ordinance compliance, but planting trees from this specific list will help your client (the contractor) keep their costs down. Planting trees from the list below will count toward the tree mitigation fines. Any plantings that are done as a requirement to the landscape plan do NOT count toward tree mitigation. But, if you happen to plant above and beyond the requirements then the extra will count.
75% of the trees planted must be from the class one list;25% can be from the class two list.
October 26, 2009
Quite opposite of the typical instinctive thought, putting a patio around a tree can be very beneficial to the tree. I will cover the fundamental benefit the tree receives from a patio and discuss the pros and cons of different construction materials / techniques.
October 19, 2009
Quite possibly the only thing better than being under a shade tree in the summer is taking a dip in the pool. If you are planning to build an in-gound pool near one of your prized trees be careful. You are going to be digging a big hole in the ground and will likely be taking many tree roots in the process.
October 12, 2009
Tree care that takes place after the construction process is arguably the most part of mitigating damage from the construction process. Even if you had a great tree protection plan and follow it to the “T”, there is going to be damage done. Probably to both the canopy and especially the root system. It will take the trees years to recover from the damage. But, engaging in appropriate after care will help speed up the recovery and minimize the signs of stress.