Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Athens?
- 2 Does the City of Athens Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Athens?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Athens?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Athens?
- 6 What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Athens?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Athens?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Athens?
Beyond hamburgers and black-eyed peas, another thing Athens residents enjoy is their shade trees. They give us oxygen, freshen our air, and beautify our neighborhoods. Some of the more common trees around town include quaking aspen, cedars, spruce, balsam and Douglas firs, oaks, walnuts, red and sugar maples, and a variety of pines.
When we plant a new tree, we tend to fuss over it for a while. Once it takes root and starts to grow, we may water it and rake up its leaves in the fall. Otherwise, we may not spend much time thinking about it, although we should. Trees are susceptible to diseases and pests. They can experience injuries and traumas due to accidents and the weather. Worst of all, an ill or compromised tree can be a hazard to property and people.
Some common yet dangerous issues, according to the Cross Timbers Urban Forestry Council, include damaged roots, decay of the trunk and branches, splitting trunks and branches, or a dead tree altogether. The best way to avoid these issues is to gain an understanding of some of the issues that can lead to these problems, especially insects and fungus that can be detrimental to trees. Some more common tree health issues that we see locally include:
Oak wilt is a fungus carried by beetles that feed on oak tree sap. Signs of the disease include discoloration of leaves accompanied by wilting or curling. Complete leaf drop occurs by mid-summer, and the upper portion of the tree, known as the crown, may die off. Oak wilt can cause death to a tree. There is no cure for oak wilt, so prevention is key. Any pruning of an oak should take place in winter, as fresh cuts or wounds will attract the beetles that carry the disease.
Fire blight is a bacterium found in apple and pear trees. The symptoms include a sudden brown and black withering of the bud blossoms, leaves, and even entire branches. The bacteria will travel from one tree to another via the wind and/or insects. Some infected trees appear as if they were scorched by fire. The disease is devastating to an orchard, and the only way to get rid of it is through eradication, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. When diagnosed, infected tissue should be pruned away and destroyed.
Bacterial Leaf Scorch
Spread by leafhoppers, bacterial leaf scorch can infect many types of trees, including elms, oaks, sycamores, and box elders. The infection restricts water flow from the roots to the rest of the tree. Signs of the disease include premature leaf browning and defoliation due to a lack of water. Bacterial leaf scorch severely stresses a tree, providing an opportunity for other pests and diseases to set in.
Hypoxylon canker is a fungus that invades elms, sycamores, oaks, and pecan trees. The fungus takes advantage of drought and previous insect infestations. The symptoms of this disease include yellow or brown leaves, a reduction in twig growth, a thinning canopy, dead branches, and canker sores oozing white and stringy sapwood. Bark may also fall off the tree. The best prevention is to make sure susceptible trees are well watered during dry spells.
Does the City of Athens Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
While the city is responsible for public trees located on city property, Athens does not have any assistance programs to help residents with private tree removal. If a resident believes a particular public tree should be removed, they must apply for a permit through the city.
Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Athens?
It is up to property owners to maintain their trees. This includes watering, pruning, and taking care of an ill, hazardous, or dead tree. The city takes care of its public trees including when one has fallen and needs to be removed. As citizens of the city of Athens, residents should report damaged, ill, hazardous, or fallen public trees to the city.
If you’re a homeowner?
It is the homeowner’s responsibility to arrange for the removal of any fallen trees on their property if the tree, while living, was located on their property. The good news is that most homeowner insurance policies cover a fallen tree and, in some cases, some or all the damages that may have occurred due to its fall. Check with your insurance company before having the tree removed to make sure you are following proper procedures to make an insurance claim.
If you’re a renter?
Generally, it is the renter’s responsibility to make sure that a tree is properly watered. But unless otherwise stated in a lease or rental agreement, a tenant bears no responsibility for an ill or fallen tree. However, a tenant should notify his or her landlord or leasing agent if a tree is dying or has fallen, so arrangements can be made for its removal.
If you’re a landlord?
As with a homeowner, a property owner is responsible for the trees on his or her property. This includes the removal of a fallen tree. The landlord should arrange for the removal and make the tenant aware of when the removal will take place.
If you’re a neighbor?
Good neighbors are aware of their property line, fence or no fence, and take responsibility for what is or was theirs. As such, if a tree that was living on your neighbor’s property falls onto your property, it is their responsibility. If you had a tree on your side of the property line that falls onto your neighbor’s property, it is your responsibility. Arrangements for its removal should be made at a mutually agreed upon time, with the tree owner responsible for work done.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Athens?
The rolling hills of Henderson County have a variety of clay, loam, and sandy soils. The same holds true within Athens’ city limits. Sandy loam is considered best for plant life. Clay can hold too much moisture, staying wet for long periods, and when it dries out, it is difficult to penetrate.
If you would like to learn just what type of soil you have on your property, you can have it tested through Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. For more information, visit the Soil, Water, and Forage Testing Laboratory website.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Athens?
Here in Athens, we are lucky that we do not experience a lot of crazy weather. Our summer highs generally reach into the lower 90s and our winter lows dip into the mid-30s. We customarily experience an average of 44 inches of rain each year, and we may see an inch of snow. But like many places throughout the country, we have had our share of dry and drought-like conditions. Drought can be hard on trees.
During the summer of 2018 for example, Athens and the rest of Henderson County experienced drought-like conditions with only 50 to 75 percent of the usual rainfall for the season. It is times like those that you need to watch your trees and provide additional water for them.
What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Athens?
Trees and power lines are a recipe for hazardous conditions. Whether the tree is alive or dead, its branches can act as a conduit for electricity, especially during wet conditions. Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative, which serves many Athens residents, advises residents to stay away from the combination of trees and wires. Additionally, you should never try to trim a tree yourself located near power lines or a power pole. Furthermore, stay away from trees, power lines, and water during an electrical storm.
If you find a dead or downed tree near power lines, back away and call Trinity Valley Electric or Oncor Electric Delivery, which also serves Athens residents. If you see a tree directly on power lines, call 911.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Athens?
Tree removal isn’t for the faint of heart. It isn’t easy; it is hard and dangerous. Determining the structural integrity of a tree takes experience and knowledge of individual traits for a particular species of tree, possible diseases and injury, soil types, and the root system. That is why tree removal is best left to professionals like Tree Triage. Some factors included in the cost of tree removal are the number of man-hours involved, insurance, extra equipment for larger trees, timeliness of removal, and removal of stumps.
Size of Tree
Our arborists generally categorize trees by their size. A small tree measures up to about 30 feet in height. A medium-sized tree is between 30 and 60 feet tall. A large tree measures between 60 and 100 feet in height. Lastly, a very large tree measures more than 100 feet. Removal costs may run from $150 to $400 for a small tree to up to $1,300 to $2,000 or more for that enormous one. A tall tree takes far more of our time and equipment to remove than a small one.
Time of Removal
Sometimes, there is an urgency for tree removal. A severe storm can uproot a lot of trees. Our tree removal specialists are extra busy when this happens, so there may be additional labor costs at this time.
However, the best time to schedule a planned removal is during winter. Trees are dormant and there is less of a risk of transmitting disease and pests from the tree to be downed to other live trees. It is also less disruptive to the soil and plant life around the tree.
Additionally, we are generally less busy in winter than at other times of the year. We may offer a reduction in price as an incentive for customers during slower months.
Having to dig out the stump will add to the cost of tree removal, especially for trees measuring a hefty diameter. Some homeowners opt to have the stump ground down to blend with the surface level of the soil. This avoids it becoming a hazard for tripping. We use a stump grinder to mulch out a stump farther below ground, without too much added cost.