Who knew it would drop to those temperatures? Well, aside from God, who could have known that we'd be out of electricity, huddled around the fireplace, borrowing a generator, and shivering? February 2021, affectionately known as the Snow-pocolypse of Texas, marked an historical event in history. Those folks that always brag about wearing t-shirts and flip-flops in December were dealing with something for which only those in the Northern states were equipped. Burst pipes, ruined drywall, carpets soaked ... and bushes and trees that did not fair well.
Arguably the greatest hit species: Fraxinus velutina, also known as the velvet ash, the Modesto ash, or - as we call it - the Arizona ash. This species of Fraxinus is native to southwestern North America, in the United States from southern California east to Texas, and in Mexico from northern Baja California east to Coahuila and Nuevo León.
And the Arizona ash was hit hard ... devastatingly so. Most died in fact. These majestic, enormous, and formerly gorgeous trees were not built for that kind of extreme temperature drop and, in a matter of a few weeks, were no more than wooden skeletons in the front and back yards of thousands of North Texans.
Now what? If your dead tree is located in a yard or along a street, it will likely pose a hazard over time and should be removed immediately. However, if one of your dead trees is within a woodlot, it is much less likely to pose a danger to you or your family.
Because dead ash trees are brittle and unstable it is critical to hire someone with experience and - just as critical - with insurance. Many times these giants must be felled in one piece, so taking them down branch by branch involves risk. When the Arizona ash reaches a large size, severe breakage is common because multiple trunks often form on the tree which weaken the tree's base and cause a split to occur. To prevent this serious condition, early pruning during the tree's first 15 years of life is important.
If your Arizona ash survived, give it the care and attention it needs. Fertilize the Arizona ash in the spring, summer and fall using a 12-12-12 fertilizer. Follow the directions on the label for application. Prune the Arizona ash tree in late February. Remove all branches that cross each other. Cut away all dead or damaged branches. Prune enough limbs to allow light to reach the middle of the tree and the air to flow freely. Airflow can prevent fungal infections in the tree. Removal of a large amount of unnecessary branches every year will prevent the Arizona ash tree from breaking when fully grown.
While ArborBella "benefits" from this unfortunate circumstance through tree removal projects, we'd rather prune and trim and keep these statuesque trees around for decades, if possible. While we'll remove a tree if needed, we love trees and hope to see them thrive.
If it's around February or March, give us a call to help keep your Arizona ash (and other trees) healthy and happy.
If you live in the North DFW are and you've lost one of these gigantic loved ones, give us a call and we'll remove it, including the stump, so your loss is not a constant reminder each day as you go outside and look up.
We're here for you.
Rodolfo Loya, Tree Surgeon
ArborBella Trees (by YardaBella)