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The recent storms in North Texas have produced an unprecedented amount of broken limbs, downed trunks, and other tree waste material. Local residents have become frustrated with the seemingly slow response to the mess, and both cities and tree services have been scrambling to clean up what is left before we have another storm. Why has there been such a delay? Why did tree companies not offer haul-away right after the storm? We hope this post will give a little insight and information, as well as give you the resources to contact your city for more information about storm debris cleanup.

Right after the storm we had in June 2019, thousands of tree crews, both municipal and private, took to the streets. Several dozen crews were called in from other parts of Texas or even out of state. Priority had to be given to rectifying hazards to life and limb, restoring power, and clearing roadways. As the massive amounts of debris were removed to complete these goals, it had to be put somewhere. Normally, tree waste and debris is taken to a conventional landfill or a “greenfill,” which specializes in recycling organic material. Unfortunately, the facilities in the DFW area were overwhelmed by the amount of debris, and there just wasn’t enough room. Tree waste dumps soon had long lines and increased fees. In Dallas, at the intersection of US 75 and IH 635, a vacant building site was called into service as a temporary tree debris disposal site. Wherever the debris was deposited, in many cases city crews, utility clearance crews, and other critical operations had priority over private tree companies. Even among private companies, there was a mix of experienced crews and smaller, “storm-chasing” crews, so the flow of debris management was disrupted.

Do You Always Haul Away Debris?

At Texas Tree Surgeons, our standard Work Proposals include full cleanup and debris haul-off. During storm periods, however, we are unable to haul away as we want to be able to help as many people as possible. When we give an estimate during a storm period, we will always give the customer the option to have the work done as soon as possible without haul-away, or to wait until we are able to take everything with us. In some cases, especially when insurance is involved, we are able to offer haul-away even during a storm period, but there is an increased cost, usually a percentage of the total job cost, to reflect the addition time and fees involved in accessing the debris dumps during times of high demand.

Can You Leave the Brush for the City to Pick Up?

During periods of normal operation, all of our proposals include debris haul-off at no extra charge (with the exception of stump grinding). Some tree owners prefer to schedule their tree work to coincide with their city’s bulky trash pickup. If we are able to leave all the debris on-site for city cleanup, we are happy to offer a 10% discount on the total job price. If you are considering keeping the debris for city cleanup, though, it is important to keep a few things in mind:

  • Depending on your city’s bulky trash schedule, the debris may sit on the law for quite a while, preventing light from reaching the grass below. This situation can cause parts of the lawn to die.
  • Even if the debris is not there long enough to kill the turf grass, its weight and size can cause major dents or gouges in the lawn surface.
  • Municipalities often use a claw-type device to pick up bulky trash. The large metal claws can cause further damage to lawns, sidewalks, and curbs.
  • During storm periods or at other times, your city may alter the schedule of pickup and levy increased fines for trash that remains too long on the curb.

Before City Pick-Up
After City Pick-Up

While it may be tempting to have a tree service leave the debris to save a little, it may cause more headache and expense in the long run! Additionally, depending on your location, we may not be allowed to stack brush for the city. We have put together a rundown of some North Texas communities’ rules for bulky trash haul-off as they relate to debris from tree trimming and removal.

Rules for Brush Haul-Off in North Texas


At Texas Tree Surgeons, we love trees and we love our customers! Storms and other bad weather can cause massive damage and confusion throughout our community, and we want to give everyone the information they need to deal with the aftermath. We hope that all of our residents and trees can stay safe through the storms to come, and we will always do what we can to keep you informed. If you have questions about storm damage, debris haul-off, or any of our policies and procedures, let us know!