A mature oak with branches spreading out over the lawn adds beauty and elegance to any property. Like virtually all trees, however, fully grown oak trees need pruning every so often to remain healthy and vibrant. Here's a brief guide to pruning mature oaks that will help you get the job done properly.
Time of Year
A key factor in pruning any tree is the time of year. For a variety of reasons, the best time to prune a tree is during the dormant season, which lasts from late fall through winter. For example, pruning trees during summer could make the tree more susceptible to damage from insects. Also, pruning after the leaves have fallen makes it easier for the pruner to see what branches need to be trimmed.
In addition, there is also a particular reason why it is a bad idea to prune an oak tree during the spring and summer. During this time, oaks are especially susceptible to a disease called oak wilt. Sap beetles, which spread this disease, are especially active during the spring and summer and will be attracted to any recent pruning cuts. Oak wilt is a very serious disease that can kill your trees, so only prune your mature oaks at the appropriate time of the year.
Prune all dead or diseased limbs or branches, as leaving these on the tree will not only reduce its visual appeal but can also harm the health of the tree. Also, if you see any branches that are growing across each other, trim those back as well.
Pruning a mature oak typically involves cutting back larger branches. The cuts should be made at the collar, which is the swollen area where the branch grows out of the stem. Make as clean a cut as possible and avoid leaving a stub. Do not bother putting any wound dressing on the cut, as this is not effective at reducing decay or helping the tree heal the wound.
Pruning large trees, such as mature oaks, has an inherent risk because large branches can cause bodily injury when they fall. If you do the job itself, make sure the area is completely clear of any people or pets and that you are well out of the way of any falling branches.
To avoid safety issues, it's best to use a professional tree service to prune your mature oaks. For more information, contact a tree service such as Brown's Tree Service.