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TreeFolks’s First Reddit AMA

By October 18, 2023January 19th, 2024No Comments

On Thursday, September 28th, we had an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session, thanks to the administrators at r/Austin. Valerie Tamburri, our Director of Reforestation and Lead Arborist, answered your questions for 3 hours whole hours.

She was a champ while finding solutions to your tree queries. “It was like a live quiz.” Your questions were very unique and thankfully none stumped her. (Pun intended)

Ready to refresh your tree knowledge? Check a few of your questions she answered:

u/tomorrowis asks, “What are the recommended ways to protect young trees from animal damage? Squirrels and bunnies have killed a half dozen small trees I’ve planted. This summer I lost a 3′ tall goldenball (snapped in half) and 5′ tall flameleaf sumac (girdled)”

Val: If small animals are damaging the bark, you can add a trunk guard to protect it. If there are larger animals, such as deer rutting your tree, you should add a cage around it. This can be easily done with 3-4 t-posts wrapped with wire caging roll. The posts can be placed around the outside of the mulch ring (for distance from tree). We hope this helps your trees!

u/Doodle-Cactus asks, “What is the proper way to deal with a tree with a limb that broke off? Does anything have to be done to the breaking point in the still-standing tree? What about branch trimming? Is there anything beyond the cut that should ideally be done?”

Val: If a large branch has broken, it is best to prune the remainder of the branch back to the branch collar for more efficient healing of the wound.

Here’s a helpful branch pruning diagram to know how to do this.

u/ClutchDude asks, “Which is worse: Cedar Elms or Hackberrys? Which is better: Ligustrum or Nadina? Which is best: White oaks or red oaks?”

Val: Both hackberry and cedar elms are wonderful native trees! (We love them both). However, cedar elms are less prone to breaking, therefore would make a better tree near a structure.
We could do without both Ligustrum and Nandina! They are both highly invasive and non-native.
White oak vs Red oak: They are both beautiful and native, it just depends on your preference. (Note: red oaks are more susceptible to oak wilt than white oak).

u/Doodle-Cactus asks, “Given Austin’s ongoing climate change outlook, are there any native trees that hit the sweet spot of being both drought resistant and frostproof to survive our New Normal summers and winter Icepocalypse events?

Our primary tree goals are: pollinator-friendly, produces shade for house, no teeny tiny leaves (we can let a thick leaf fall make a mulch mat every season but teeny leaves that get everywhere are SO obnoxious)”

Val: This is a tough issue that many arborists are attempting to solve!
If you are looking for shade, pollinator-friendly, thick leaves, the first one that comes to mind is Anacua. They seem to have fared well through the ice storms and droughts so far, producing white blooms and edible berries.

u/Holiday_Ad_8986 asks, “What are ways to support the work you do?”

Val: TreeFolks grows with support from our community! You can donate your time or financial support to help our work keep going.

Our biggest fundraising event of the year is coming up, the 2023 RootBall! It’s a celebration of the ecological life cycle at the Texas Natural Science & History Museum on October 26th! If you can’t make it to RootBall, you can always support us with a monthly or one-time donation at If you own a business, ask us about in-kind donation options for the RootBall!

We have a packed calendar for volunteer opportunities, especially in our brand-new nursery, as well as our fall planting events


Héctor González is our Marketing and Communications Coordinator and they organized and managed this AMA. They love to bike around town and will be part of the Tree of the Year Bike Tour with TreeFolksYP on October 22th!