Tree House In Oak Trees

If you own an oak tree, you will need to do regular pruning to keep the tree in good shape and health. Removing the dead branches and thinning its canopy will help improve the overall health of your tree. Failure to do so can have pretty bad consequences, including the deadly Oak wilt disease or branch failure.

So, wondering when the best time to take care of your oak tree is? Well, the best time of the year to trim Oak trees is during late winter, just before the beginning of spring. This gives the tree enough time to heal its wounds before the coming winter.

As you go about trimming your oak tree, there are a couple of questions that will help you prepare and navigate through the winter pruning period.

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Is Pruning In Spring Too Late?

As mentioned earlier, winter is the best time to prune most trees, including Oaks. Pruning in winter is safer than during the hibernation period of a tree and impeding the shock. This means it will slowly realize the wounds once it starts to come out of hibernation after winter.

However, younger Oaks (10 years or less) have a greater bounce-back capacity, and you might get away pruning them in spring. This is exclusive to young oaks only, and mature trees may suffer a big blow.

How Much Should You Take Off?

The amount of tree cover you intend to remove will depend on your plan for pruning. Generally, for a perennial pruning routine, you should not remove any more than 5% of the Oak's foliage.

For heavier pruning (usually done every 3-5 years), it is recommended that a maximum of 20% of the tree should be removed. But we'd recommend settling in with 15% to make sure your tree recovers fast and fully.

While this is just a rough estimate, the pruning amount depends on the age, growth rate, and size of the tree. Three years for heavy pruning might be too fast for a juvenile Oak that takes a longer time to grow.

How Does The Oak Tree Get Infected?

The fungus can enter an Oak tree in two main ways. First, it can find its way through an open wound. A small beetle is usually the carrier and transfers the fungus from an infected tree to a healthy tree. The second scenario is if your Oak tree roots are about 50-100 feet from the roots of an infected tree. If they touch each other, the fungus is likely to get transferred to the healthy species.

How Do You Prevent Oak Wilts?

Oak wilt is a common disease among these trees, and the easiest way to eliminate them is through pruning at the end of the year until early February next year. If the temperatures are warm while trimming a large limb, you may have to paint the open wound with latex paint to protect its exposed surface.

Other tips to consider

Clean Trimming Tools Before Use

You don't need any sophisticated cleaners to sanitize your tools. It can be a simple soap and warm water or a little bleach. Make sure you dry the tools before cutting to avoid the risk of transferring infections.

Watch Out Which Branches You Prune

The way you trim is not the same for all types of Oak trees. You should only trim the dead or dying branches of juvenile Oaks if they are under three years old. This reduces the exposure to diseases and gives them ample time to fully grow.

Older trees can be trimmed to your desired shape, but you should eliminate branches growing towards the center of the trunk. Also, look out for branches that rub each other because it is the easiest way to develop wounds.

When To Consider An Expert

Oaks are large trees, and it is always advisable to consider a tree expert, unless your Oak tree is less than 15 ft. Even if it is below that height, you should always put safety first and make sure that your pruning practice will not damage the tree, such a topping.

The safest way to go about oak tree pruning is to leave it to the certified arborists. Professionals bring the necessary skills and tools required to execute the job diligently. They know when exactly to trim the tree, and they'll give you professional advice on prevention and oak tree care for the coming seasons.

Mature oak trees do not usually require heavy maintenance pruning. Knowing how and when to prune is crucial as it acts as a long-term maintenance routine. Pruning mature Oaks will require a little help from professionals.

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