Like any area of the country, San Antonio has many trees within the city. Some of these are younger trees while others are historic trees that have been in the city for generations. Most people are able to care for young or adult trees with minimal help from a tree professional (although the assistance can be useful), but historic trees tend to need additional care.
Within San Antonio, there are a series of trees that are designated as heritage trees. These trees have some claim to fame, whether it is being at an important location, an important piece of history, very large, or simply being older than the average tree. The heritage trees within the city have a series of rules and regulations in place to protect them and as such, they can rarely be cut down without good reason.
In fact, if at some point someone wants to cut down (or preserve) one of these heritage trees, the decision is left up to the historic preservation officer, an official who deals specifically with preserving the city’s history, both in terms of historic buildings and plants. The historic preservation officer will head a commission that reviews the request and then determines the appropriate course of action. In some cases the commission will recommend cancelling construction or similar plans that require the removal of the historic tree.
In other cases, they will allow for the removal of the tree, but impose some sort of tree replacement, typically in the form of a monetary amount that will help to fund future planting of trees on public property. This second option is designed as a way to ensure that even if a historic tree is no longer there, other trees have been planted to take its place.
To some extent, caring for a historic tree is just like caring for any other tree in San Antonio. This means that it will require regular watering and fertilization. The tree will also need to be pruned regularly to remove dead or dying limbs or those that are infected. When it comes to historic trees, it is essential that only a certified arborist works on them, as they will know the exact amount of pruning to do, without doing too much or too little. An arborist also needs to periodically examine the tree to ensure there are no weak points, pests, or diseases.
When it comes to caring for San Antonio’s historic trees, it is also important to protect them from construction. Even if they are not removed during a construction project, they may be within a danger zone for construction debris. It can help to put up protective barriers around historic trees before nearby construction.
As trees age, they sometimes become weaker. When this happens, a certified arborist can examine the historic tree and determine whether it needs additional support, such as cabling or bracing. If this is necessary, they will be able to set it up in the ideal way to provide maximum support, letting the tree continue to thrive for as long as possible and remain a historic part of San Antonio.