3 Essential Things To Know Before Pruning An Oak Tree

Whether you have planted them yourself or have moved into a home with multiple on your property, oak trees are definite statements in any landscape design. Not only are they strong and durable, but their massive heights and lifespans of over 300 years ensure these oak trees will be around for multiple generations. Of course, proper care of these trees is crucial if you want them to be appealing and healthy. Pruning can help protect your oak trees, but you will need to know the proper steps for removing disease, discolored, and decaying limbs and foliage. Here are a few things to know when pruning oak trees.

Winter Is Best

How to prune is important, but knowing when to prune is also necessary. Most experts believe winter is the ideal time to prune oak trees.

Because oak trees are dormant during the winter months, meaning they are not growing in this colder season, there is less risk of pests infesting the open wounds that develop from pruning. In addition, fungal growth is not likely during the winter, so fungus cannot invade the tree right after pruning.

Removing damaged overgrowth from your oak tree in the winter will also ensure new growth in the upcoming spring season.

Prune, Don't Top

If your oak tree is growing too high or you want to create a more uniformed look to your tree, you may consider topping, which is basically trimming off portions of the canopy. Unfortunately, topping the tree can actually do more harm than good.

Not only does topping reduce the leaf area, which affects its overall appearance, but it also weakens the tree, placing it at risk for breakage, pests, and diseases.

Instead of topping the canopy, use pruning shears to trim away interior, lower, and damaged branches.

Avoid Excess Cuts

Many people get carried away when making cuts. One of the worst mistakes you can make when pruning an oak is to make excess cuts that focus on the lower part of your tree.

You may think pruning numerous lower branches is smart, for different reasons, such as to help raise the canopy or allow sun to hit grass under the oak tree. However, removing too many lower branches will create a "broccoli tree," which is not only dangerous, but unhealthy for your oak tree.

Considering they are so durable, you may think pruning oak trees is simple. Unfortunately, mature oak trees should be pruned by experienced tree pruning professionals to ensure they not only continue to grow, but also continue to thrive.