To trim or not to trim? 6 months after freeze, Abilene arborist shares insight on tree upkeep


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The February freeze planted deep roots when it rolled through the Big Country six months ago. After waiting all spring and now summer, locals wonder if it’s time to cut their losses on seemingly dead tree limbs that have yet to bloom.

An article shared over the weekend by the Texas A&M Forest Service suggests if a tree has not put forth a leaf yet it’s “almost certainly dead.” But Master Arborist Bruce Kreitler, owner of Broken Willow Tree Service, counters that stunted trees shouldn’t be nipped in the bud prematurely.

In order to avoid cutting a tree’s lifespan short, Kreitler suggests holding off on a big chop for a little while longer. He theorizes that because the freeze was so unprecedented that no one can truly be sure what will happen in the next year for shrubbery.

The arborist stresses that owners should be especially cautious of damaging their live oak trees which were hit particularly hard by the freeze.

“Live oaks are still recovering, they’re still doing a little better incrementally,” said Kreitler. “We’re not taking out that tissue that may be recovering. If a branch is peeling bark on it, if fungus is growing on it or it is broken – certainly we would prune that out. But I am trying not to prune branches out just because they do not have branches on them.”

Kreitler suggests patience all around as far as trees are concerned, even when trying to set up appointments for tree services in town. The last few months have been busy, says Kreitler, and as the brittle-branch-making winter draws closer, potential clients might have to wait longer to get their concerns met.

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