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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - November 18, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Pruning, Trees
Title: Tree removal from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Unfortunately we need to cut down a Spanish oak (11" diameter, over 50 feet tall) that is leaning against our upper story deck (if it falls, the roof, deck, and steel supports may be crushed). A limb (6 ft. sucker) has grown out at the 8' height -- if the tree is removed above this limb, is there a chance that the tree could survive? If so, how do you make the cut (straight or angle)?

ANSWER:

There are four native oaks with the common name"Spanish Oak" but only one, Quercus buckleyi (Texas red oak), is native to Travis County, so we will use that one as an example

This is a problem which you likely need to address quickly before the worst happens; that is, the tree falling on your deck. This is going to be a complex and difficult chore, best done by professionals. If you attack it on your own, it might be a human body that gets crushed. A tree that big is going to fall where it will. We suggest you go to our National Suppliers Directory. In the Enter Search Area box, put in your town and state or just your zip code and press GO. You will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and consultants in your general area. Under consultants, you will find a number of tree specialists who should have the know-how and equipment that will prevent a disaster. When we searched on Austin, we found one which included "landscape services." You can search for others online, interview each, ask for costs and guarantees and make a good decision.

As for your question about the one branch surviving this radical surgery, we would say no, but that is another question to ask an expert.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas red oak
Quercus buckleyi

Texas red oak
Quercus buckleyi

Texas red oak
Quercus buckleyi

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