Get the Facts: Tree Care at The Grove

We recently began a program to preserve and manage the beautiful heritage oak trees at The Grove at Shoal Creek. 

No protected or heritage trees are being removed as part of our program.

To go further, we have help from Don Gardner, a highly respected local arborist and tree care expert. He recommended how to nurture the large live oak trees on the land. The work is being performed by the professionals at Davey Tree Experts.

We spent the last 2 months letting people know we would be doing this work to ensure the health of the trees for years to come. 

On June 30, a video was put online that shows Davey Tree Experts removing a tree, and this has upset some people. Please allow us to clarify what this video shows. Our responsible efforts might be misunderstood if you’re not familiar with tree care. 

We are removing Hackberry Trees that are located within the "drip line" of the live oaks and harmful to the health of the heritage trees. 

In the video, a worker from Davey Tree Experts is using a machine to remove a 5-year-old Hackberry Tree that is less than 8 inches in diameter and covered in poison ivy. 

Hackberry is not an invasive tree species, but our arborist recommended its removal because the Hackberry root system was interfering with the root system of one of the largest heritage oaks on the property, which is about 300-years-old. Left unattended, this situation would continue to harm the heritage oak. 

This work was recommended by our arborist, is consistent with City code, and keeps the commitment we made before the work began to responsibly care for the live oaks.

Today, a city official came to the site and reviewed our program. He complimented our work and approved it to continue. 

One more thing about the video... In it, the foreman honks at the worker to shut down his machinery to protect the person recording the video from being hit by flying debris, since you must remain 200 ft. away from the equipment. 

We are also removing invasive species of plants, like Chinaberry and Ligustrum. 

Why You Remove Chinaberry
The Chinaberry is an invasive plant, and its removal is strongly encouraged by arborists. It is known for its rapid growth rate and has berries that are poisonous to humans and some mammals. The dropped leaves of these trees can alter soil chemistry by increasing the nitrogen and pH. The plant is native to countries on the other side of the world. 

Left untended, a single Chinaberry can quickly grow into a thicket that chokes the life from surrounding native vegetation.

Why You Remove Ligustrum Shrubs
These are prolific seeders that can drown out all other species until you have a Ligustrum forest, which can cause serious harm to the trees around it. Plant experts instruct that Ligustrum will create erosion problems by disturbing the root structure of grasses that keep the soil intact.

Simply put, both Chinaberry and Ligustrum will endanger the heritage oaks, and it is our responsibility to better care for them at The Grove. 

To ensure that our program is proceeding properly and responsibly, we have asked Davey Tree experts, Don Gardner and Austin City Arborist Michael Embesi to further review our work and to continue to offer guidance. 

Now that you know the facts about the work being performed, the video can be seen in its proper light.