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Winter in Texas may not conjure up images of snow-covered landscapes (although it’s common up around Amarillo in the panhandle), but the Lone Star State has its own unique charm during the colder months. One aspect of nature that often goes unnoticed is how trees adapt and survive in the winter. In this blog post, we’ll explore some fascinating facts about the resilience of Texas trees in the face of the winter chill.

Evergreen Marvels

Texas is home to a variety of evergreen trees that retain their leaves throughout the year. This adaptation is a clever strategy to maximize photosynthesis during the milder winter months. Pine trees, such as the Loblolly and Longleaf Pine, proudly display their green foliage even when other deciduous trees are bare.

Dormancy Dance

Many deciduous trees in Texas enter a state of dormancy during the winter. This is a survival tactic to conserve energy when the days are shorter, and temperatures drop. Oak trees, for example, shed their leaves and redirect resources to the roots for winter storage.

Water-Wise Strategies

In Texas, where water conservation is always a concern, trees have developed water-wise strategies to endure winter dry spells. Some species, like the Ashe Juniper, are adapted to thrive in arid conditions, making the most of the limited water supply during the winter months.

Texas Ash Tree
Texas Ash – Courtesy Treeland Nursery

Freeze-Resistant Adaptations

While Texas winters are generally mild, occasional freezes are not uncommon. Trees, such as the Texas Ash and Bald Cypress, have developed mechanisms to withstand freezing temperatures. Their cellular structure allows them to endure brief cold snaps without sustaining significant damage.

Frosty Bark Insulation

Tree bark plays a crucial role in protecting the delicate tissues beneath. In winter, the bark of many Texas trees thickens, providing insulation against extreme temperature fluctuations. This adaptation helps trees like the Pecan and Texas Redbud weather the occasional cold fronts that sweep through the state.

Winter Bloomers

Contrary to common belief, some Texas trees showcase their blossoms during the winter. In South Texas, the Mexican Plum, for instance, graces the landscape with delicate white flowers even in the heart of winter, adding a touch of beauty to the frosty scenery.

Wildlife Partnerships

Texas trees have formed intricate partnerships with local wildlife to aid in their survival during the winter. Birds and mammals often rely on trees for shelter and food, creating a mutually beneficial relationship that helps both parties weather the colder months.

As winter unfolds in Texas, take a moment to appreciate the silent resilience of the trees that dot the landscape. Whether evergreen or deciduous, each tree has its own story of adaptation and survival, contributing to the unique beauty of winter in the Lone Star State. So, next time you venture outdoors, spare a thought for the arboreal wonders that continue to thrive even when temperatures drop.

So, you’ve decided to make the shift to solar power and install solar panels, a choice that not only benefits the environment but also your wallet. Solar panels are an excellent investment for your property, offering long-term energy savings and reduced carbon footprint. However, before you can harness the power of the sun effectively, there’s one important step to take when going solar: tree trimming.

solar panels and tree trimmingIf your property is graced with mature trees, they provide shade, aesthetic value, and natural beauty. But they can also cast shadows that interfere with the efficiency of your solar panels. This blog post explores why tree trimming is essential when considering solar panel installation and how it can help you make the most of this renewable energy source. The US Department of energy also has some great information if you’re thinking about installing solar panels.

1. Sunlight is the Fuel for Solar Panels

It may seem elementary to say that solar panels work by converting sunlight into electricity. They do depend on a consistent, uninterrupted supply of sunlight during the daytime to generate the most energy possible. Shaded panels are like partially covered car windows on a sunny day – they won’t function at their best.

If your trees cast shadows over the area where you plan to install your solar panels, it’s important to address this issue before the panels are installed. Trimming or pruning your trees can significantly enhance the sunlight exposure for your solar panels, leading to a more efficient energy system and save you money.

2. Avoiding Energy Losses

When solar panels are shaded by trees, as they can be as trees will continue to grow, they can experience significant energy losses. These losses occur because the shaded solar cells can’t generate electricity, and the rest of the system may be less efficient in trying to compensate for the shaded cells.

In many cases, solar panel systems are designed with microinverters or power optimizers that mitigate the effects of shading to some extent. However, it’s essential to remember that preventing shading in the first place is far more effective and efficient than relying solely on these technologies. Tree trimming provides a solution that allows your solar panels to work optimally without unnecessary energy losses.

3. Ensuring a Return on Investment

Solar panel installations are not just a commitment to environmental sustainability but also a financial investment. The ROI (Return on Investment) of solar panels largely depends on their efficiency and energy production. The more electricity your panels generate, the quicker you’ll recover your initial investment.

Tree trimming, in this context, is an investment that ensures a better ROI. By allowing more sunlight to reach your solar panels, you can expect a quicker payback period and more substantial long-term savings on your energy bills.

4. Extending the Lifespan of Your Panels

Solar panels have a long lifespan, often exceeding 25 years. However, when they are subject to shading and reduced efficiency, they may experience additional stress and wear, potentially shortening their lifespan. Proper tree trimming and maintenance can help ensure the longevity of your solar panels.

5. Environmental Benefits

Shade from trees isn’t just a hindrance to your solar panels; it also impedes the growth of plants and grass beneath. By trimming your trees to allow more sunlight to reach the ground, you can encourage healthy plant growth, which in turn contributes to a healthier local ecosystem. Trees and solar panels can coexist harmoniously, provided proper tree care is practiced.

6. Professional Tree Trimming Matters

While the idea of tree trimming may sound simple, it’s essential to emphasize the importance of hiring a professional tree service for this task. Professional arborists have the expertise to trim trees in a way that optimizes their health while creating the necessary spacing for solar panels.

Improper tree trimming can harm the tree and create new growth that might shade your solar panels later. Professional tree trimmers know how to selectively remove branches and adjust the tree’s shape to allow more sunlight without compromising its health.

The Process of Tree Trimming for Solar Panels

The tree trimming process for solar panels typically involves several steps:

1. Site Assessment: A professional tree service will assess the site to determine the extent of shading and the specific branches that need to be trimmed.

2. Selective Pruning: Pruning involves the careful removal of branches that cast shadows on the solar panel area. This is done strategically to minimize damage to the tree and encourage future growth in the right direction.

3. Crown Thinning: Crown thinning is a technique used to reduce the density of a tree’s canopy. It involves removing some interior branches to allow more light to filter through. This can significantly benefit your solar panels.

4. Ongoing Maintenance: Tree trimming isn’t a one-time job. Trees grow, and their canopy changes, so regular maintenance may be necessary to ensure your solar panels continue to receive adequate sunlight.

Invest in Solar Panels and Tree Trimming for a Brighter Future

The decision to install solar panels on your property is a commendable one, both for financial reasons and environmental stewardship. However, to ensure that your solar panels reach their full potential and provide maximum energy efficiency, tree trimming is a crucial step.

When considering tree trimming in preparation for solar panel installation, remember to hire a professional tree service with experience in this specialized task. By doing so, you’ll not only optimize your solar panel system’s performance but also maintain the health and beauty of your trees.

Invest in a brighter and greener future by embracing solar energy and taking the necessary steps to ensure it’s harnessed to its full potential. Tree trimming for solar panels is a win-win for both your property and the planet. Call us today to take care of your tree trimming needs.

As we prepare to bundle up and brace ourselves for the chilling embrace of winter, it’s easy to overlook the silent sentinels that stand in our yards, parks, and streets – the trees and think about tree trimming. In our area of Texas, where winters can be as unpredictable as they are harsh, taking proper care of your trees during this season can make the difference between vibrant, flourishing canopies come spring or a desolate, barren landscape. One of the most valuable acts of care you can bestow upon your trees is early winter tree trimming. Allow us to unravel the secrets of this age-old practice and why it’s crucial for your trees’ survival.

Winter Vulnerability: Why Trees Need Tree Trimming

The Abilene, TX region, though known for its scorching summers, doesn’t exactly offer its trees a gentle reprieve in winter. The cold temperatures we can experience along with occasional ice storms, and dry, biting winds can take their toll on our leafy friends. Trees are not just stationary decorations for our landscape; they are living organisms with complex needs. Neglecting them during winter can lead to a host of problems that resonate long into the future.

One of the primary challenges trees face during the winter is the potential for frost damage. When water in their cells freezes, it can rupture cell walls, causing extensive damage. But early winter tree trimming can alleviate this risk. By removing weakened or overgrown branches, the tree can better withstand the forces of winter, reducing the risk of damage during freezing temperatures.

Winter Pruning – A Lesson in Caution and Prudence

Tree pruning in the winter is like performing surgery. It requires a steady hand, knowledge, and a good deal of care. The timing is critical; if done too late in the season, it can cause stress to the tree and make it more susceptible to frost and freeze damage. Too early, and it might stimulate new growth, which can also be at risk during the winter.

The sweet spot for winter tree trimming is generally between late fall and early winter, after the leaves have fallen (except on those live oaks, hickories, cypress, cedars and evergreens) but before the harshest cold sets in. This allows for a careful trim that prepares the tree for the challenges ahead without inducing new growth that will be vulnerable to frost.

The Art of Early Winter Tree Trimming

Now that we’ve understood why early winter tree trimming is essential, let’s delve into the nuances of this delicate task. This is where the wisdom of hiring a professional tree service comes into play. Tree trimming is not a one-size-fits-all operation; it requires a keen eye, a deft touch, and an understanding of both tree biology and aesthetics.

Removing Deadwood: The first step is to remove dead or diseased branches. Deadwood not only looks unsightly but can also attract pests and diseases that might harm the tree. Removing these branches not only improves the tree’s appearance but also enhances its overall health.

Shaping and Thinning: A professional tree service will carefully assess your tree’s structure and determine where shaping and thinning are necessary. This involves selectively removing branches to improve the tree’s form, balance, and overall strength.

Height and Clearance: Trimming the tree’s height and providing adequate clearance for structures or pathways is another essential aspect. This ensures that the tree doesn’t encroach on your property or pose a hazard during winter storms.

Avoid Over-Pruning: While it’s crucial to trim your trees, over-pruning should be avoided. Professional arborists understand the right balance between maintaining tree health and achieving your aesthetic goals. Texas A&M has a great document on pruning mature trees.

Protecting Against Pests and Diseases: Early winter tree trimming can also help identify and remove branches that might be harboring pests or diseases, reducing the risk of infestations in the future.

The Value of Professional Tree Services

Hiring a professional tree service is not just about ensuring the job gets done correctly; it’s about investing in your trees’ future. Our years of experience bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, ensuring your trees receive the precise care they need. They use the right tools and techniques to protect your trees, maintain their health, and improve their longevity.

By entrusting your trees to experts, you’re not only protecting your property’s aesthetic appeal but also contributing to the environment. Trees provide oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide, and offer shade and habitat for wildlife. Taking proper care of them is a responsibility we all share.

A Call to Action: Prepare Your Trees for Winter

As the leaves fall and the winds turn frosty, don’t forget your faithful companions in the garden. We still see trees that were damaged in the 2021 Texas Record Cold and large portions of tree branches are bare above the leaf canopy Early winter tree trimming is the gift your trees deserve, a gesture of care that ensures their resilience through the potential biting cold of the winter that’s coming. If you’re unsure about the intricacies of this delicate art, consider consulting a professional tree service to provide the wisdom and expertise your trees need. Together, let’s ensure that the coming spring brings forth a lush, vibrant canopy of life.

In the end, early winter tree trimming isn’t just an act of care; it’s an investment in the future of our green companions. Don’t let them endure the harsh Texas winter unprepared – give them the gift of life, health, and beauty.

Ready to protect your trees this winter? Contact us today for expert advice and professional tree services.

The harsh winter freeze of 2021 here in the Abilene area has left a lasting impact on trees and shrubs. While the visible signs of damage may have lessened as trees filled out with leaves over the summer, the effects of that freeze on trees could still be lingering, posing potential hazards to your property. It’s crucial for you to inspect your trees and have dead trees and damaged branches promptly removed to ensure safety and maintain a healthy, vibrant landscape.

The Aftermath of the Big Freeze

The winter freeze of 2021 brought record-low temperatures and unusual weather patterns across Texas and the Abilene area was not immune, causing significant stress and damage to trees. The freezing temperatures and icy conditions led to the weakening and even death of numerous trees and branches.

Why It’s Important to Remove Dead Trees and Branches

  1. Safety First
    Dead trees and branches are a safety hazard. They can fall unexpectedly, endangering people, pets, structures, and other plants in their vicinity. As time passes, dead wood becomes brittle and prone to breaking, making it even more critical to remove them before they cause harm.
  2. Protect Your Property
    A fallen tree or branch can cause severe damage to your home, vehicles, fences, and other valuable assets. Removing dead trees and branches can prevent costly repairs and insurance claims, saving you both money and stress in the long run.
  3. Promote Overall Tree Health
    Dead trees and branches are not only unsightly but also detrimental to the health of your landscape. They can attract pests and diseases that can spread to healthy trees nearby. Removing dead wood allows the remaining trees to flourish, promoting a robust landscape.

Professional Tree Removal Services

Protecting your property and ensuring the health and safety of your landscape should be a top priority. The aftermath of the big freeze in 2021 still lingers in the form of weakened and dead trees. By proactively identifying and removing dead trees and branches, you’re not only ensuring the safety of your property but also contributing to the overall well-being of your landscape. Contact Thornton’s Tree Service today to assess your trees and take the necessary steps to maintain a beautiful and safe environment for your home.

2021 Winter storm killed this tree.

Now it’s literally falling apart.

Winter storm damaged tree removalIn the Abilene and West Texas regions, the aftermath of the Texas Winter Storm in February 2021 is still evident with numerous damaged trees. A photograph received from the south side of Abilene recently shows one such tree that succumbed to the storm’s impact, and now, by mid-July 2023, it is visibly disintegrating.

If you find yourself facing a similar situation with damaged, diseased, or dead trees on your property, it is crucial to address the issue promptly.

Neglecting it could lead to further deterioration and pose risks such as the tree falling onto your property or causing harm to individuals.

For reliable tree removal services, turn to Thornton’s Tree Service.

Our team is equipped to handle the safe and efficient removal of problematic trees, ensuring the safety of your property and those around you.

We’re your best choice for tree care services in Abilene, Wichita Falls, San Angelo, Brownwood, Weatherford, and West Texas.

unmasking google bots

Online reviews have become an integral part of our decision-making process, especially when it comes to choosing a business or service. Here at Thornton’s Tree Service, we’re proud of our work and it shows with the authentic reviews our customers provide us with on Google, Yelp, etc.

Among the numerous platforms available, Google Reviews stands out as one of the most popular and trusted sources for gathering customer feedback. However, with the rise of fake reviews generated by bots, it’s essential to develop a discerning eye to ensure the authenticity of these reviews. We’ve noticed an uptick in Abilene area businesses in our vertical relying on fake reviews, so in this blog post, we’ll explore effective strategies to check Google reviews and separate genuine feedback from artificial ones.

Assess the Overall Review Profile:
When evaluating a business’s Google reviews, the first step is to examine the overall profile. Look for signs that indicate the presence of bot-generated reviews. An excessive number of reviews posted in a short span of time, an unusual pattern of ratings (e.g., an overwhelmingly positive or negative sentiment), and repeated phrases or keywords across multiple reviews are red flags to watch out for. Genuine reviews typically exhibit a natural variation in language, tone, and content.

Evaluate Reviewer Profiles:
Examining the profiles of reviewers can provide valuable insights into the authenticity of their feedback. Look for details such as profile pictures, names, and the number of reviews they have contributed. Be cautious of profiles lacking images or using stock photos, generic names, or a high number of reviews posted within a short timeframe. Also, profiles that show a link to a Google Map location that is far from the actual business location. If you see a map of Arkansas for example with a review from someone supposedly reviewing an Abilene business, that’s a red flag.  Genuine reviewers usually have a diverse range of reviewing activities, including contributions to other businesses and locations.

Analyze Review Content:
The content of reviews plays a crucial role in determining their authenticity. Bots often generate generic, overly positive, or excessively negative feedback that lacks specific details about the customer’s experience. Genuine reviews, on the other hand, tend to be more detailed, and personalized, and highlight specific aspects of the business, such as exceptional customer service or a particular product or service offering. Pay attention to the language, relevance, and specific information provided within the reviews to identify genuine feedback.

Look for Verified Purchases:
If the business sells products or services online, consider checking for verified purchases. Google offers an option for customers to leave reviews only if they have made a purchase through the associated Google account. Verified purchases indicate a higher likelihood of genuine feedback, as they reflect actual transactions. This feature helps filter out bots and incentivizes customers to provide honest reviews based on their first-hand experiences.

Cross-reference Reviews:
Cross-referencing reviews across different platforms can provide a broader perspective on a business’s reputation. Check if the business has reviews on other platforms such as Yelp, Facebook, or industry-specific directories. Comparing the content, tone, and ratings across multiple platforms can help identify consistent patterns and validate the legitimacy of the reviews. If a business shows they have over 200 Google reviews but only one review on Yelp or Facebook that’s also a red flag.

As consumers, we all rely on online reviews to guide our choices in our daily lives, making it imperative to distinguish between genuine feedback and bot-generated reviews. By adopting a critical approach and analyzing various aspects of the reviews, including overall patterns, reviewer profiles, review content, verified purchases, and cross-referencing, we can better assess the credibility of Google reviews. Remember that while no method is foolproof, a combination of these strategies can significantly enhance your ability to identify authentic customer feedback, empowering you to make informed decisions and support businesses that truly deserve it.

So, the next time you’re contemplating a purchase or looking for a reliable service provider, take a closer look at those Google reviews and unravel the truth behind them!

Wow, it’s been a crazy spring 2023 with severe storms all over the Abilene area, but what should you do after a storm when it comes to tree care?

After a storm, it’s essential to assess the condition of the trees on your property to determine if they have been damaged. Here are some steps you can take to evaluate your trees:

Safety first: Before checking out your trees, ensure there are no immediate hazards such as broken branches hanging precariously or leaning trees that could fall. If you notice any dangerous situations, keep a safe distance and contact our tree service for assistance. We’ll come out and let you know what your options are for removal.

Visual inspection: Walk around your property and carefully observe the trees. Look for any visible signs of damage, such as:

  • Broken or hanging branches: Assess the branches to see if they have snapped or are dangling dangerously. It’s important to note that some branches may have fallen to the ground already.
  • Leaning or uprooted trees: Check if any trees have been uprooted or are leaning significantly. This may indicate damage to the roots or weakened stability.
  • Split or cracked trunks: Inspect the main trunk of the trees for any splits, cracks, or signs of damage. Such damage can compromise the tree’s structural integrity.
  • Canopy damage: Examine the tree’s canopy for extensive loss of leaves, broken limbs, or any irregularities in its overall shape. This could indicate severe damage.
  • Assess your property carefully: Look for any fallen branches or debris around your trees, as these can be indicators of damage. Assess if there are any signs of impact on the ground or nearby structures like garages and workshops.
  • Check for signs of distress: Pay attention to signs of distress in the trees in the days and weeks after the storm. Look for wilting leaves, browning foliage, or even fungal growth on the trunk or branches. These symptoms may indicate underlying damage or stress caused by the storm.

If you’re unsure about the condition of your trees or if you suspect significant damage, it’s best to consult a tree service with the expertise to assess tree health and provide appropriate recommendations for pruning, tree removal, or any necessary remedial actions.

Remember, safety should always be your top priority. If you’re uncertain or feel uncomfortable assessing the trees on your own, it’s advisable to seek professional help to ensure an accurate evaluation and appropriate action if needed. Give a call today!

Spring here in West Central Texas is a super important time to take care of your trees after the long winter months. Especially with all of the storms with high winds, we’ve been having lately.  Here are some spring tree care tips that can help keep your property safe and looking great:

Inspect your trees: Inspect all of the trees on your property for any damage caused by winter weather or disease. Check for broken or damaged branches, cracked trunks, and signs of pest infestations. We were just out to a residence to provide a quote and we noticed a large hollow spot on a tree adjacent to the tree the property owner wanted to be removed or trimmed due to the 2021 Freeze damage.

Prune your trees: Prune any dead or damaged branches. This is actually a dangerous situation with the high winds we’ve been experiencing, especially in the trees that were damaged in the February 2021 Freeze. The tree trimming will help improve the tree’s overall health and appearance.

Fertilize your trees: Apply a slow-release fertilizer to your trees to promote healthy growth. Be sure to follow the recommended dosage and application instructions on the product label. This will also help the trees stand the stress of our hot Texas summers.

Mulch your trees: Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base of your trees. This will help conserve moisture, control weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Please, please, please do not have the mulch touch the tree trunk. Also, do not create those “volcano mounds” around your trees. The mulch is there to keep the soil around the tree moist and it has to let your sprinkler water or rainwater get down to the roots. Those large mounds will actually kill your trees by cutting off needed watering.

Water your trees: When you water, make sure to give your trees a deep watering, especially if the soil is dry as it has been. A thorough watering will help the tree flourish and establish strong roots and stay healthy throughout the season.

Oak Wilt diseased trees
Oak Wilt diseased trees

Protect your trees: Protect your trees from pests and diseases by applying insecticides and fungicides as needed. Keep an eye out for signs of insect infestations, such as holes in leaves or bark, and treat them promptly. Remember that if you have Live Oak trees, oak wilt is definitely a problem.

You will see oak wilt show up on the leaves of the trees. You will see a pattern that often reminds people of “fish bones”, and that’s called veinal necrosis. The leaf veins become yellow or brown and the leaf soon falls off the tree.

By following these spring tree care tips, you can help your trees thrive.

We do have a lot of Bradford Pear trees around the Abilene area but these trees do have a hidden danger and will eventually need to be removed.

bradford pear tree
Courtesy: USDA Bradford Pear or Callery Pear

They are quick-growing ornamental shade trees that are not native to Texas.

They get to be about 20 feet tall and are pretty when they bloom in the spring. If you have them on your property or walk by them when they are flowering for 10 to 14 days you know they really do stink.

Property owners need to be mindful that these trees have a short life of only about 20 years.

Here in West Texas their weak branches easily break off during storms or high winds as the years go by. That seems to always happen at the worst time.

The Bradford Pear also Bradford is notorious for its unpredictable growth patterns. They can grow tall quickly and then suddenly start branching out in unexpected ways, which can make them difficult to manage and maintain.

Older Bradford Pears are Dangerous

As these trees get older they pose a greater danger as their branch joints are not stable and it’s not uncommon to see these trees split apart. The branches have narrow unions (also called crotches) and grow at steep angles.

Thorntons Tree Service removing Bradford Pear
Bradford Pear Removal South Abilene

Just last week we removed an old tall Bradford Pear that was planted fairly close to a home on the south side of Abilene.  The new homeowner knew those branches hanging over the house were dangerous. Our crews made quick work of safely removing the tree which was also close to the home’s incoming electric service line.

It’s even suggested that you don’t even park your vehicle under a Bradford Pear due to the potential splitting and the dropping of branches in high winds.

Bradford Pears Being Banned

Ohio has banned their sale starting this year, and South Carolina and Pennsylvania are banning their sale starting next year citing their invasiveness. According to the USDA when these trees border roads and fields, their dense growth and in some wild varieties sharp thorns threaten equipment and livestock. They can also grow in the understory of pine plantations, where they can impede some forest management practices.

If you’re looking to plant a new shade tree on your property here in West Texas, we suggest you consider Texas or Oklahoma Red Buds, Chinese Pistache, among others.

Our tree service sees this type of work all the time, fast-growing trees that need to be removed.

Many people, especially in newer subdivision demand shade, and they want it now.

The problem: our brutal west Texas weather of sizzling summers and (at times) unforgiving sub-freezing temperatures.

There are a number of fast-growing trees that people will plant, without thinking about the long-term benefits of planting proper shade trees on their property.

Texas Horticulturist and author Neil Sperry recently point out that all fast-growing shade trees have at least one fatal flaw. Most have several, and for that reason, property owners expect to have to replace them in as few as five or 10 years.

You can make a list of all the fast-growing shade trees, and every one of them will have some kind of bad news you can tack up beside it.

If you’re in the Abilene area, the tree recommendations will differ from Weatherford to Possum Kingdom Lake, to Wichita Falls.

The City of Abilene provides a great list of shrubs and trees that are great for in and around the city. You can download the list here.

The Big Country Master Gardeners also have a list of recommended trees.

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