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Thornton’s Tree Service is proud to announce that Riley Holt has achieved certification as an arborist from the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). This esteemed accreditation recognizes Holt’s dedication to professional excellence in tree care and maintenance.

ArboristAs a certified arborist, Riley Holt brings enhanced expertise and knowledge to Thornton’s Tree Service, ensuring the highest quality of care for our clients’ trees. Holt’s achievement underscores our commitment to providing top-tier tree services and upholding industry standards.

“We congratulate Riley Holt on this significant accomplishment,” said Mike Thornton, Owner of Thornton’s Tree Service. “His certification as an arborist reflects our team’s ongoing commitment to excellence and reinforces our ability to deliver superior tree care solutions to our valued clients.”

With this certification, Riley Holt continues to elevate Thornton’s Tree Service as a trusted leader in the industry, providing expert tree care services to communities including Abilene, San Angelo, Midland, Weatherford in west central Texas.

International Society of Arboriculture Certification

Texas Spring Tree CareAs March unfolds in Abilene, Texas, the promise of spring is in the air, and it’s the perfect time for residents to turn their attention to the well-being of their trees. Proper tree care not only enhances the beauty of your property but also ensures the health and resilience of your trees in the face of West Texas’s diverse weather conditions. Let’s dive into some essential tree care tips specifically tailored for Abilene residents, helping you cultivate a thriving and verdant landscape.

Assess Damage From Winter Cold and Winds

Before the growing season begins in earnest, take a stroll around your property to assess your trees for any winter-related damage. Look out for broken branches, split bark, or signs of stress. Prune away damaged limbs to encourage healthy growth and prevent the spread of diseases.

Prune with Purpose

Early March is an opportune time for pruning deciduous trees before the onset of new growth. Give us a call today for a free estimate on removal of dead or diseased branches to promote your overall tree health and shape the canopy for optimal sunlight exposure. Proper pruning enhances air circulation, reducing the risk of fungal infections and pest infestations.

Mulching Magic

Mulching is a key practice for tree care in Abilene. Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark or wood chips, around the base of your trees. Mulch helps retain soil moisture, suppresses weeds, and regulates soil temperature, providing an ideal environment for root health. Ensure the mulch is spread evenly and does not touch the tree trunk. Our Thornton’s wood chips make for great mulch!

Water Wisely

In the semi-arid climate of Abilene area and Texas, proper watering is crucial. As temperatures rise, trees may require more water to thrive. Deep watering is preferable to frequent shallow watering, as it encourages deep root growth. Be mindful of water conservation efforts or if you’re lucky to have a well on your property water at will. Just be sure to adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

Fertilize Appropriately

March is an excellent time to consider fertilizing your trees to provide essential nutrients for robust growth. Choose a balanced fertilizer suitable for the needs of your specific tree species. Consulting with our local garden center (we prefer those over the big box stores) to help you determine the right fertilizer and application method for the variety of trees you have on your residential or commercial property.

Stay Vigilant Against Pests

Keep an eye out for signs of pests or diseases on your trees. Early detection is crucial for effective management. If you notice unusual spots, discoloration, or signs of pest activity, consult with the garden centers or the local extension office to identify the issue and implement an appropriate treatment plan.

Storm-Proof Your Trees

West Texas weather can be unpredictable, and severe storms are not uncommon as we’re now in severe storm season. Inspect your trees NOW for weak branches or limbs that could pose a hazard during high winds before the storms get here. Give us a call for a free estimate for pruning or we can even consult on the removal of potential risks to safeguard your property (even your neighbors) and the well-being of your trees.

By following these March tree care tips tailored to the Abilene, Brownwood, Wichita Falls and Weatherford areas, residents can ensure their trees not only survive but thrive in the upcoming spring season. A well-cared-for landscape contributes to the beauty of your property!

Call today for a free estimate for any of your tree service needs.

spring tree care texasIn talking to us about tree care, one of the questions we hear from folks sometimes revolves around “what is the best time of the year to do tree service?”. The answer is, it depends.

In Texas, the best time for tree service normally depends on the specific needs of the trees and the services required. However, a general guideline for tree maintenance is to schedule it during this time of the year which is a dormant season, from late fall to early spring. Here are some considerations for different tree services:

  1. Tree Pruning: Late fall to early spring is ideal, as most trees are dormant during this period. Pruning during the dormant season helps reduce stress on the tree and minimizes the risk of disease transmission. However, if pruning needs to be done, say branches are on a structure or are blocking access, of if you are needing storm damage taken care of, trees can be pruned any time of the year.
  2. Tree Removal: This can be done anytime of the year. However, some property owners prefer to do it during the dormant season to minimize the impact on other plants and reduce the risk of diseases spread by insects. It’s also a good time to be able to re-landscape the are where the tree stood, adding new topsoil to make way for grass seeding, or replacing the tree with a new tree. Which is covered next.
  3. Tree Planting: Fall and early spring are excellent times for tree planting in Texas. Planting during these seasons allows the tree to establish its roots before our hot West Texas hot summer months.
  4. Fertilization and Soil Amendments: Spring is often a good time for fertilization and soil amendments to support the tree’s growth during the active growing season.
  5. Insect and Disease Control: Depending on the specific pests and diseases, treatment may be necessary at various times. It’s essential to monitor trees regularly and address any issues promptly.

Keep in mind that these are just general guidelines, and the specific timing may vary based on the tree species, what our spring climate is like, and individual tree health. We always  suggest giving us a call for a free review from one of our tree care professionals. They’ll come out onsite and can assess all the trees on your property and provide recommendations based on their unique needs.

During this upcoming cold snap here in Texas, you should take care in protecting young trees to the extreme temperatures that will get down to around 5 degrees or less in some places around Abilene, Brownwood, and Weatherford, TX. The Texas Freeze that’s forecast will be nothing like 2021 but it will impact small saplings.

Covering the root zone will help insulate the soil, retain moisture, and regulate the soil temperature.

The recent rains we’ve had in the Abilene area have resulted in the soil being able to retain heat better than dry soil.

You can wrap small trees with blankets, towels, burlap or purchase frost cloth from local nurseries. You need to cover the trunk and vulnerable branches if you can. Make certain the cover reaches the ground to trap head. DO NOT USE PLASTIC! Plastic actually transmits cold to whatever part of a plant that is covered.

Small tree trunks can also be wrapped with burlap or tree wrap to protect the bark from damage and the freezing temperatures.

If you are looking to plant some new trees on your property, make sure you choose trees and species that are well adapted to the local climate and more resistant to cold temperatures. Trees that grow well in south Texas will not survive here in West Texas.

You can’t look at a Mesquite tree here in the Abilene area that has lost leaves without seeing the green sprouts of mistletoe.  Folks who are experiencing their first Christmas in the area may not realize how common it is in this part of the world. They probably don’t even know it’s mistletoe…

Mistletoe clinging to a tree

The tradition of mistletoe during Christmas dates back to ancient times and has pagan origins. Mistletoe was considered a symbol of fertility, peace, and love in Celtic and Norse mythology. It was believed to have magical properties and was often hung in homes for good luck and protection.

During the Roman festival of Saturnalia, which took place around the winter solstice, mistletoe was exchanged as a symbol of friendship and goodwill. It was also associated with the Norse goddess Frigg, who was said to have declared mistletoe a plant of love and promised to kiss anyone who stood beneath it.

Over time, the tradition evolved into what we now know as “kissing under the mistletoe.” It became a popular Christmas custom in England during the 18th century. According to the tradition, a couple standing under the mistletoe is supposed to exchange a kiss, and it’s believed to bring good luck and happiness to the couple.

Today, hanging mistletoe is a common Christmas decoration in many homes, and the tradition of kissing under it remains a playful and festive custom during the holiday season.

Mistletoe is actually a type of parasitic plant that grows on various trees, including apple, oak, and pine trees. It’s known for its distinctive evergreen leaves and white berries. There are several species of mistletoe, but the European mistletoe (Viscum album) and American mistletoe (Phoradendron spp.) are the most commonly recognized.

This plant is unique because it doesn’t root in the ground like most plants; instead, it grows attached to the branches of host trees, like you see it here in West Texas, where it extracts water and nutrients from the trees.

Some great tips on using it for holiday decorating and making your own decorations may be found here.

Whether seen as a blessing or a curse, mistletoe doesn’t spread rapidly. Its growth rate is quite slow, extending only about 2 feet per year. Research suggests that it takes roughly 60 to 70 years for a 1.5-acre area of mistletoe to develop. Similarly, the demise of a single tree due to dwarf mistletoe could take several decades, and an extensive infestation over a large amount of acreage might occur over centuries.

Though mistletoe berries can be poisonous if ingested, the plant has been used in traditional medicine for its potential medicinal properties. In modern times, it’s primarily known for its decorative use like now during the holiday season, where it’s hung as a decoration, and the tradition of kissing under it is observed in some cultures.

Mistletoe And Tree Care

Mistletoe can indeed have detrimental effects on your live oak trees and other host trees. As we mentioned, it is a parasitic plant, mistletoe attaches itself to the branches of trees and extracts water and nutrients from the host. This extraction weakens the tree, affecting its growth and overall health.

In the case of severe infestations or when the tree is already stressed due to other factors like the drought conditions we’ve experienced the last couple of years or disease, mistletoe can exacerbate the tree’s decline. It can lead to stunted growth, branch dieback, and in extreme cases, it might contribute to the eventual death of the host tree. You can contact our tree service professionals to come out and assess your trees. Wintertime is a great time to have us visit as we can see the entire tree without the leaves.

The impact of mistletoe on a tree can vary depending on a variety of factors including the tree’s overall health, the extent of mistletoe infestation, and the specific species of mistletoe involved. Regular pruning of infected branches and managing the mistletoe can help mitigate its impact on the tree’s health.

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.

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