Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Kerrville?
- 2 Does the City of Kerrville Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Kerrville?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Kerrville?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Kerrville?
- 6 What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Kerrville?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Kerrville?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Kerrville?
Tucked away in the Texas Hill Country, Kerrville is well known across the Lone Star State for its numerous lush, tree-lined parks – Louise Hays Park, Westland Park, and Carver Park being notable examples – along the historic Guadalupe River. This river cuts directly through the center of Kerrville, and the City of Kerrville is so proud of its tree-filled parks that it regularly installs new trees each year for National Arbor Day.
But once you leave the banks of the Guadalupe River, growing healthy trees in Kerrville becomes far trickier. According to soil surveys by the United States Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service, Kerrville has very shallow, alkaline soil conditions. These conditions, paired with Kerrville’s huge temperature swings and extremely variable rainfall, means the trees in Kerrville are often chronically stressed, and stressed trees are more prone to diseases and pests.
Common tree pests and tree diseases in Kerrville and surrounding regions in Texas include:
- Asian gypsy moths (Lymantria dispar spp.): A single moth produces hundreds of caterpillars. These caterpillars feed on 500-plus common trees and shrubs. If left unchecked, these pests can leave an entire tree in Kerrville devoid of leaves in a matter of weeks.
- European cherry fruit fly (Rhagoletis cerasi L.): Despite its name, this fruit fly also attacks tree species that are common in Kerrville, including dogwoods.
- Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula): This lanternfly feeds on a wide range of ornamental trees and woody trees, including many species found in Kerrville backyards and street medians. Commonly attacked tree varieties include sycamores, walnuts, willows, oaks, pines, and poplars.
While tree species that are native or locally adapted to Kerrville, such as the Texas Red Oak (Quercus texana) and the Montezuma Cypress (Taxodium mucronatum) may be more resistant to these pests, no tree is immune.
Beyond insect invasions, other tree issues you may experience in Kerrville include a range of Texan tree diseases:
- Oak wilt
- Hypoxylon cankers
- Root rot
- Bacterial leaf scorch (especially problematic during the hot summers in Kerrville)
If left untreated, these pests and diseases can destroy your backyard landscape and weaken your trees to the point that they need trimming, pruning, or even removal from our specialists. The best solution is a proactive stance involving monitoring and identifying the problem as soon as possible. Because symptoms of each pest or disease are often similar to other disease and pest symptoms, your best option is to contact our tree care professionals and request an expert inspection. Alternatively, you can call the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab at (979) 845-8032 and request to speak to a county extension agent in Kerrville.
Does the City of Kerrville Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
The City of Kerrville’s Department of Parks and Recreation oversees and manages all tree removal problems on city property and public lands, including parks, city medians, and government property. Beyond that, Kerrville expects its residents to take ownership of their landscaping. This includes any concerns and problems with fallen tree branches or entire trees that need removal.
Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Kerrville?
If a tree falls on public property, or if it’s creating a public health hazard (e.g., it has fallen into a busy road, or it’s blocking a city sidewalk), you can report the fallen tree to the City of Kerrville’s Public Works Department by calling the department’s emergency hotline at (830) 257-8181. If you need to report an after-hours fallen tree emergency, the department asks that Kerrville residents dial the local police dispatch at (830) 257-8181.
Beyond that, all fallen tree removal situations need to be handled by the property owner upon whose land the tree has fallen. This applies in almost all potential scenarios. For example, local Kerrville utility provider KPUB points out that if a fallen tree has downed a power line, the utility company will untangle the power lines and restore utilities. However, KPUB specifically states that it will never remove fallen trees, and that process is all up to the homeowner.
Exactly how you should handle a fallen tree and its removal on private property varies depending on your specific role as either a homeowner, renter, landlord, or neighbor.
If you’re a homeowner?
Regulations in Kerrville regarding the removal of trees are relatively new. For example, a tree preservation ordinance was only approved in 2019 and a landscaping ordinance that governs pruning and trimming is still under review.
However, the general guidelines and laws regarding the removal of trees, shrubs, and other growth are governed by various other ordinances, including Sec. 58-105 (“Nuisances prohibited”) and Sec. 90-34 (“Owners required to keep sidewalks clean”). Put simply, all homeowners are responsible for maintaining their property, and that includes removing fallen trees.
Homeowners who don’t clear away hazardous tree growth or fallen trees may receive a certified letter from the City of Kerrville, which then triggers a 10-day timeline to have the situation resolved. Failure to do so in that timeframe results in a penalty and fee for every additional day that the fallen tree or debris remains on your property.
If you’re a renter?
Your responsibilities as a renter vary depending on your specific rental agreement. For example, your agreement with your landlord may state that you are responsible for mowing the lawn and trimming the shrubs. However, a fallen tree constitutes far more than simple landscape maintenance and falls outside of the scope of your renter responsibilities.
According to Section 92.052 of the Texas Property Code, your landlord is responsible for repairing any situation that affects the safety and comfort of your rental unit, and that includes fallen trees. Your main responsibility as a renter is to ensure you are current on your rent and that you’ve notified your landlord that a fallen tree needs removal.
If you’re a landlord?
Landlords have a responsibility for maintaining the entire property and that includes ensuring that all landscaping and rental units comply with the City of Kerrville’s ordinances governing the removal of trees, shrubs, and other growth.
If you’re a neighbor?
The responsibility for removing a fallen tree lies with the property owner upon whose land the tree was growing. If your neighbor’s tree has fallen and affects your property and home, your neighbor (in many cases, your neighbor’s insurance company) is responsible for tree removal and any repairs to fences and structures that were damaged by the falling tree.
If you’re instead struggling with an overgrown tree encroaching on your property, or fallen leaves that are falling on your side of the property line, Texas regulations state that this is a civic dispute. Attempt to talk it through with your neighbor and come up with a mutual agreement about how to proceed.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Kerrville?
While some areas of Kerrville have nutrient-rich loam that’s high in organic matter, most of Kerrville has very shallow, alkaline soils that create poor growing conditions for all trees.
The problem with alkaline soil, which has a pH ranging from 7.4 and higher, is that it reduces how a tree can absorb and use iron in the soil. A lack of iron leads to a problem called chlorosis, which is when the tree can’t form chlorophyll. Over time, the trees in Kerrville’s alkaline soil often turn yellow, and the tree slowly starves to death because it can’t produce the food it needs.
During this yellowing phase, the trees are also experiencing a lot of stress. This leaves the tree far more susceptible to disease and pests, and it’s also more likely to topple over in a storm because the entire tree’s structure is weakened.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Kerrville?
In the summer, Kerrville reaches an average temperature high of 93°F. In the winter, those temperatures can plummet to the low 60s.
Similarly, Kerrville experiences a lot of rain during May into the summer months, while the winter can be exceedingly dry.
These extreme weather changes pose a challenge for most popular trees. For a thriving landscape, homeowners and landscapers need to choose species that are either native to the Kerrville area or that have adapted readily to Kerrville’s weather. Examples include the cedar elm (native), the Mexican sycamore (adaptive), the lacey oak (native), and the desert willow (native).
What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Kerrville?
The public utility company KPUB regularly trims back tree growth that’s near power lines, and they will trim back dead growth, too. However, a dead tree is a serious risk when it comes to falling onto people, sidewalks, and structures. The property owner is responsible for not only managing the dead tree but also ensuring all future growth in the area is properly handled.
Kerrville’s proposed landscaping ordinance takes it a step further and proposes a ban on planting large shade trees under utility lines, or within any easement related to city services like water lines and storm drainage.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Kerrville?
Turning to average costs and estimates can be wildly misleading due to the wide range in tree removal costs. For example, removing a small juvenile tree from the corner of your suburban lot may only run you a few hundred dollars, but taking out a mature oak can easily inch towards the thousand-dollar mark. The good news is unlike many other municipalities, Kerrville does not require a permit to remove a tree in most scenarios. This may represent a significant cost saving right off the proverbial bat.
Your estimated tree removal cost in Kerrville can be heavily influenced by three major factors.
The cypress tree, which is native to Kerrville, can easily hit a height of 100 feet, as does the native bald cypress and the near-native Montezuma cypress. Many other native and adaptive species often surpass 70 feet, including the pecan, escarpment black cherry, and the Mexican white oak. It goes without saying that the higher the tree, the more expensive it will be to remove it. Often, removing a very tall tree requires strategic pruning, trimming, and topping before it’s chopped down a few feet at a time to ensure the tree doesn’t fall onto buildings and vehicles.
To save money, some homeowners choose to leave behind the stump of the tree. Unfortunately, this can be unsightly, and a big stump in the middle of your yard may also affect the use and safety of your landscape. Finally, leaving the stump in the ground can lead to Armillaria root disease (i.e., shoestring root rot), which can affect your soil health and spread to other trees, shrubs, and plants.
We recommend always taking out the stump of any tree you remove. This can add further costs to your bottom line, but it will save you years of headaches in the future.
Kerrville’s rapidly shifting weather systems can create safety challenges during emergencies. We often work around the clock following major storms to complete emergency cleanups and removals.
During an emergency, such as Kerrville’s infamous summer storms and flooding, the cost of tree removal skyrockets as our crews struggle to keep up with demand. If you suspect a tree is dead, dying, or will need removal, it’s always better to take proactive measures now before emergency removal is needed.