As strong and mighty as oak trees are, there’s one pesky problem that can really get under their skin—err bark.
It’s called oak wilt, a disease that crops up when oaks are pruned at the wrong time of year. Oaks have a particular pruning window that must be followed to protect them from this fatal fungus.
So when should oaks trees be pruned, and when’s it too late? Find answers to these questions below.
How often to trim oak trees
You should Trim oak trees every 2-3 years to keep them in good shape. Read about the best pruning schedule for oak trees here.
When is the best time to prune oak trees?
In most cases, the best time to prune oak trees is November 1 to March 31.
That’s because sap beetles, insects that spread oak wilt, are active from April to August. These beetles sniff out the sweet smell of the oak wilt fungus on infected trees, feed on the fungus and then spread it to healthy oak trees that have fresh pruning cuts. So, pruning oaks during the sap beetle’s busy season leaves an opening for infection.
When can you prune oak trees in Texas? What about tree removal?
Live in Austin, Georgetown or Lakeway Texas? Then your oak tree pruning guidelines are a bit different than the ones mentioned above. These Texas cities have tree removal restrictions to be mindful of, too. Here’s how and when to prune oak trees in Texas:
- Austin, TX: You should prune an oak tree in Austin between July 1 and January 31. But, keep in mind that you’ll need a permit to prune more than 25% of a Protected Tree’s canopy or to remove a Protected Tree. In Austin, a Protected Tree is any tree larger than 19 inches at the diameter at breast height (DBH)—meaning, the tree’s diameter 4.5 feet above the ground. Not sure what to put on a tree after pruning, click here.
- Georgetown, TX: In Georgetown, oaks including Live Oak, Post Oak, Shumard Oak, Bur Oak, Chinquapin Oak and Monterey Oak that have a DBH of more than 26 inches are called “Heritage Trees.” They can be pruned between July 1 and January 31, but you need a special permit first. You’ll also need a permit to remove Heritage Trees or Protected Trees, which, in Georgetown, includes most trees with a DBH of 12 inches or more. Not sure what to put on a tree after pruning, click here.
- Lakeway, TX: In Lakeway, you cannot prune oak trees from February 1 through June 30 due to city restrictions. If you absolutely must prune at this time for safety reasons, give the City Forester a call first. In addition, you’ll likely need a permit to remove a tree if 1) your home was built and occupied after April 18, 2011; and 2) the tree is larger than 16 inches in diameter (not DBH). Not sure what to put on a tree after pruning, click here.
Best time to avoid trimming oak trees
Davey arborists recommend you avoid pruning oak trees during this time to prevent oak wilt.
If your oak tree is due for a trim, and it’s the right time of year, get in touch!
Contact a local certified arborist to schedule a free tree trimming consultation.
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