Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Stephenville?
- 2 Does the City of Stephenville Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Stephenville?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Stephenville?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Stephenville?
- 6 What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Stephenville?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Stephenville?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Stephenville?
There is really only one big challenge that the Stephenville trees face – oak wilt. Formally known as Ceratocystis fagacearum, this is a fungal disease that attacks the vascular system of the tree. A compromised vascular system can’t carry necessary nutrients to the tree branches and leaves, so the trees eventually die.
Every species of the genusquercus, the scientific name for all the oak trees, is vulnerable to oak wilt, but some are more susceptible. Tree scientists divide quercus in two for oak wilt purposes, red and white. Red oak species are more at risk, so if you have any of these trees on your property, pay attention.
- Texas Red
White oak trees are somewhat resistant to the fungus and oak wilt is seldom found in these species.
- White Shin
Live oak trees, these trees that are practically a mascot for the South, with their huge trunks and broad leaf canopies, Spanish moss hanging down, are not at risk for oak wilt disease but are classified as intermediate on the susceptibility scale. They don’t really get the disease but the beetles that cause oak wilt will try to infect the tree anyway and the fungus gets into the vascular system. Remember that a tree’s root system is every bit as broad as the leaf canopy, so think of the enormous root system that live oaks have. The oak wilt fungus spreads through the root system underground, so even if you don’t see signs of the oak wilt beetle on your trees, a neighbor’s live oak could be carrying the disease.
How Oak Wilt Spreads
Oak wilt is spread two ways, via sap-feeding nitidulid beetles and by moving infected red oak wood from one place to another. It’s not the beetles’ fault; they’re just doing what nature intended.
In the spring, fungal mats grow under the bark on red oaks and emit a fruity odor that attracts the beetles. The mats only produce spores for a few weeks but any beetles that get into the mat during that time will transmit the fungus by moving to another tree and gaining entry through wounds in the tree – any places where you’ve pruned recently (another reason not to prune in the spring).
Any red oak that has oak wilt should be removed immediately to eliminate the risk of fungal mats forming and transmitting more disease. Live oaks with oak wilt don’t have to be removed as the transmission rate is so low, but when the tree becomes a physical hazard it should come down.
There is some local discussion about burning firewood from infected red oaks. It’s okay, even preferred, to burn wood with fungal mats. Burning kills any fungal mats that are in the wood. Contrary to some urban legend, those mats do not have superpowers that let them escape in smoke and live to infect another tree. They incinerate and are gone. Arborists strongly recommend that you burn any red oak firewood before the beetles hatch out in the spring to avoid more transmission.
Here’s a huge What Not To Do with infected red oak wood. DO NOT have it chipped into mulch. The fungal mats are dangerous even in minute sizes.
Does the City of Stephenville Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
The city will remove trees that are limiting vision in public rights of way, creating hazards by hanging over street lights. or are a public nuisance. It doesn’t matter if the affected trees are on private property, the city contracts with Oncor to have them pruned or removed.
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Stephenville?
Trees in Stephenville grow big because they’re in Texas and it’s their job. This means that it’s not uncommon for a tree that you planted ten years ago to expand into your neighbor’s yard when it becomes joint property. When this happens, and it happens a lot with the big oak and pecan trees native to the area, one property owner can’t remove or even trim the tree without permission from the other owner.
If you’re a homeowner?
Texas law says that the responsibility for removing a fallen tree falls onto the owner of the property where the tree landed. If your big maple tree falls over onto the adjoining property during a storm or other unforeseen weather event, it’s that owner’s task to have it removed. If the tree topples over because it was not properly maintained, it’s yours to remove. The neighbor’s homeowners insurance will likely pay for the storm damage, but yours won’t pay a claim if you neglected the tree.
If you’re a renter?
Your landlord is responsible for maintaining the trees on the property, although you are responsible for general lawn maintenance.
If you’re a landlord?
Your property, your trees. If a tree falls down or is hazardous, you are liable for any damages.
If you’re a neighbor?
You do have the right to prune back a neighbor’s tree that is encroaching on your property, right to the property line. What you don’t have the right to do is damage the tree in the process and the state of Texas is willing to levy some hefty fines to make sure you don’t. Here’s a rundown of what it will cost you to hurt a neighbor’s tree.
- Value of the tree, either a replacement or as it was.
- Punitive damages if they can prove you trespassed.
- Fees for the attorneys who proved you acted punitively when you took a chainsaw to the tree.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Stephenville?
Houston Black, the primary soil in the Stephenville area, is the unofficial state soil of Texas – it’s the only place it exists. This soil is fantastic for agriculture but it is a challenge for homeowners to plant a thriving landscape in this heavy, dark dirt called “black gumbo” by the native Texans. Why? The soil has a high clay content, which is super hard when it’s dry – so much that it shrinks – and really sticky when it’s wet, and when it swells. This is tough on tree roots in the summer when the soil cracks in the arid heat. When it rains, the cracks quickly close and waterfalls penetrate the soil really slowly. Hard rainfall, the kind that accompanies tropical storms, usually causes runoff before the water absorbs into the soil. Once the soil is good and wet, it can deliver nutrients to plant roots.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Stephenville?
Yes, cold and heat affect trees in Stephenville, just like they do everywhere else. Dry summers are hard on trees, and the cold winters and ice storms we’ve had the past few years stresses branches when they freeze and break off. But local trees are facing another challenge, it’s not cold enough in the winters for the trees to thrive in the spring.
Trees need a certain number of days and hours in the winter where the temperature is between 32F and 45F. Stephenville gets between 800-850 “chill hours” every year, when the trees and other plants can remain dormant and store up their energy for the spring. Recent trends indicate that chill hours are falling into the 700 range, which is enough to damage the local fruit tree growers and stress the trees in your yard.
What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Stephenville?
Any number of factors can weaken tree branches so that they are hazardous to power lines, and simply growing like they are supposed to mean that they often encroach on the lines, which makes them hazardous during wind and weather events. Power companies will trim back branches that are dangerous to the lines, but they are interested in results, not aesthetics. The tree pruners that the electric companies send out will top, over-prune, or even remove a tree on your property if they think it’s necessary.
Here’s how you can prevent that from happening. Make sure your tree limbs are no more than 10 feet from the primary pole to pole wires and 7 feet from secondary wires. Once any of your trees break that invisible plane, you lose the right to have our tree surgeons trim the tree to your specifications. At this point, you’ll have to call your provider, who will then call Oncor and their designated Vegetation Management Contractor (VMC) will come out and take a whack at the offending trees with no consideration for how they’ll grow back or look now. If that’s not bad enough, they leave the tree debris for you to clean up. This is a free service that Oncor provides and why many Stephenville residents truly believe the old adage, you get what you pay for.
Be proactive and make sure your trees are routinely pruned back enough that they don’t cross the boundaries into power company airspace.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Stephenville?
Tree removal costs in Stephenville range from $200 to $1,990 in most cases, with an average around $700. Your total will depend on these factors-time, labor, and equipment.
Size of the Tree
How big is the tree? Both height and diameter matter; a tree that’s big enough for our crew to climb will cost less than one that’s tall and skinny.
Health of the Tree
The tree’s health is a second consideration. A healthy tree that’s a hazard is easier for us to remove than a diseased tree that’s unsafe to climb.
Location of the Tree
When our arborists have good clearance to remove the tree, it costs less than when it’s surrounded by a house and a garage, and power lines.