Zilker Neighborhood Gardens

Commentary by a National Wildlife Steward who helps Zilker neighbors establish native plant gardens

Tag Archives: pruning

TWO Habitat Talks on garden prep, design, & planning – Free 1/10/15

JANUARY 10 (2 Sessions)

(9:30-11am) Winter Garden Maintenance and Prepping the Garden for Spring
Learn how to assess shrubs and small trees for health and beauty and learn how to trim overgrown areas (and what to trim) as necessary to make way for spring blooms.
Instructor: Cathy Nordstrom, Sans Souci Gardens

(1-4pm) Design and Planning for a Successful Habitat Garden
Learn the basic elements of site assessment and how to transform a traditional “lawn-scape” into a haven for wildlife. If you have one, please bring a copy of the survey of your property to class.
Instructor: Marya Fowler, National Wildlife Federation

“Habitat Talks” happen at Discovery Hill Outdoor Learning Center located at the Science and Health Resource Center in Austin ISD. Discovery Hill is a National Wildlife Federation premier demonstration habitat that NWF funded and implemented in AISD in 2013.

For more information about the sequence of talks in 2014-2015, go to http://www.nwf.org/South-Central-Region/temp_event_AUS_HabitatTalks.aspx

Tree Trimming To Begin Soon

Picture of Tree with Austin Energy tag on itHave you noticed any green tags on your trees? This past weekend, I have noticed many trees with green tags that are from Austin Energy. On the tag, there’s a note indicating the type of tree.

Tree Tag

Tree Tag

As you might have guessed, all the trees are located under power lines. It looks like Austin Energy is starting their tree trimming in our neighborhood soon. If you would like more information or have questions, you should contact Austin Energy directly.

On their website, they indicate:

Austin Energy follows a pruning program to meet the National Electrical Safety Code, avoid potential liability issues, and prevent outages and accidents. Our Certified Arborists and Foresters work closely with contractors to prune trees and keep them clear of power lines for four to five years.  (http://www.austinenergy.com/Customer%20Care/Other%20Services/Tree%20Pruning/index.htm)

I think you need to be proactive if you think something incorrect is occurring with your trees. On the Zilker neighborhood listserv, I have read posts from neighbors who were not satisfied with the Austin Energy’s contractors, aborists, and foresters. I do not have personal knowledge but do please be proactive, as our trees are our best assets, providing much needed shade (for humans) and shelter (for animals). On the other hand, it is true that trees need to be pruned to avoid damage to electrical infrastructure (which only costs taxpayer dollars to fix).

The best solution is to: CONSIDER THE SIZE OF THE TREES YOU PLANT & THE LOCATION. If a power line exists overhead, don’t plant an oak tree which will become 50-100 feet high. In fact, Austin Energy has a wonderful list of preferred trees for planting under powerlines. You will notice by browsing the list that none of these trees get much higher than 20 feet tall.

Some of my favorites on their list include: Orchid Tree, Mexican Plum, Evergreen Sumac, Texas Persimmon, Texas Redbud! But all of the trees listed are wonderful.

You are not alone if you have a tall tree that needs to be pruned. You might have inherited it! I know we did. We have a non-native loquat tree growing under the power line extension from the pole to our house. This tree gets very tall. We are in a quandary right now, as we don’t really want to remove it, but we know it will become a problem in the future. At worst, we need to be prepared for its future pruning by Austin Energy!

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