While it may be a natural assumption that what works for most large trees will work for oak trees, when it comes to trimming practices, just the opposite is the case. Oak trees produce a thick sap that flows easily out of trimming-induced wounds, and trimming at the incorrect time can damage or even kill a thriving oak tree. This is why it is especially important to develop trimming practices that safeguard the health and extensive lifespan of this strong, beautiful varietal.
Oak trees benefit the most when pruning is performed from November through February months only. This safeguards the active sap and prevents the tree from injury or invasion by oak wilt, the most pernicious threat to oak tree health.
When preparing to trim an oak tree, several supplies are recommended. First, a strong, sharp pair of trimming shears should be obtained from a local nursery or home goods store. Next, make sure to have black spray paint and wound sealer on hand to repair and seal wounds caused by trimming or natural tree movement such as tree branches rubbing against each other and causing abrasions.
When beginning to trim, remember that moderation is key. Seeking out areas where abrasions are detected can be a good place to start. Removing growth from densely growing limbs will allow better air circulation and reduce the chance of self inflicted abrasions. Removal of lower branches and low hanging growth will encourage tree growth upwards as the spring season returns. Sealing any wounds, especially where sap is flowing, is critical to avoid attracting insects and pests that can cause further injury or harm to the tree. With judicious seasonal trimming, oak trees will enjoy long life and healthy growth.