Best Time To Trim Oak Trees

Best Time To Trim Oak Trees
26 Jan 2017

Are you searching Google for “Best Time To Trim Oak Trees“, while looking for oak tree pruning articles? If so, Phoenix Trim A Tree can help! We put together a guide to show you the best times and seasons of the year to prune or trim your oak trees.

What is pruning? Pruning is something that will alter the growth and form of a plant. Based on science and aesthetics, pruning can be considered preventative maintenance. Most issues can be prevented by correctly pruning during the forming years for a shrub or tree.

Reasons For Pruning

Pruning to promote plant health.

  • Remove branch stubs
  • Removing dying or dead branched that are injured by insect infestation, storms, disease, animals or other damage.
  • Remove branches that are rubbing together.

Avoid topping trees. Remove the large branches leave stubs that could cause health issues. It could destroy the natural shape of the plant and promotes development and suckering of weak branch structures.

Pruning to maintain plants in the landscape:

  • Maintaining a dense hedge
  • Maintaining desired special garden or plant forms
  • Encouraging fruit or flower development

Pruning to improve plant appearance

Landscape appearance is vital to the usefulness of a plant. For many landscapes, the natural form is best. Avoid shearing shrubs into geometrical forms that could affect the flowering unless it has to be trained or confined for a purpose. Whenever plants are pruned properly, it is hard to see that they have even been pruned. Pruning to:

  • Remove unwanted branches, suckers, waterspouts, and fruiting structures that take away from plant appearance.
  • Control plant shape and size
  • Keep shrubby evergreens dense and well proportioned

Pruning to protect the property and people:

  • Have hazardous trees taken down
  • Remove dead branches
  • Prune shrubs or trees that block the entry to your home
  • Prune weak or narrow tree branches that hang over homes, sidewalks, and parking areas.
  • Remove branches that interfere with traffic signals, street lights, and overhead wires. Do not prune near an electrical or utility wire.
  • Prune branches that obscure vision at intersections

Pruning Starts At Planting Time

Pruning is the best preventative maintenance that a young plant can get. It is vital for young trees to be trained to encourage them to develop strong features.

Young trees that are pruned improperly or have not been pruned at all for year could need a lot of pruning to keep the tree from becoming deformed.

At planting, remove only the broke, diseased, or dead branches. Start training a plant during the dormant seasons after the planting.

  • Remove multiple leaders on evergreens and other trees where a single leader is wanted.
  • Remove branches that grow back towards the trees center and crossing branches.
  • Remove lower branches to increase the crown and remove branches that are too close to the trunk.
  • Prune to shape young trees but don’t cut the leader.

Pruning young shrubs isn’t as vital as pruning a young tree, but it does help to use similar principles to promote positive branch structure. Shrubs grown in Containers will need very little pruning.

  • When planting deciduous shrubs o hedges, prune each plant to 6 inches off the ground.
  • When planting thin out the branches for good spacing and prune any crossing, circling, broken or diseased roots.

Pruning Large Established Trees

Leave pruning of large trees to professionals who have the right equipment. Consider the natural form of the tree when possible. Many hardwood trees will have a rounded crown that don’t have a strong leader, and they may have lateral branches.

common pruning types are:

  • Crown cleaning: This is the selective removal of diseased, dead, and dying wood from the crown.
  • Crown reduction: this removes the larger branches from the top of the tree to reduce height. When done right, crown reduction is the least wanted practice and it should only be done when needed.
  • Crown raising: This is removing the lower branches on a developing or mature tree to let there be more clearance above streets, lawns, sidewalks, etc.
  • Crown thinning: This is removing branches on a young tree through the crown. This helps to promotebetter health and form. Remove the weak branched but don’t overdo it on a mature tree.

Proper branch pruning

  • Always prune above a bud that is facing outside of the plant to force a new branch to grow.
  • To shorten the twig or branch, cut it back to a side branch or make the cut about a quarter of an inch above the bud.

Best Time Of The Season For Pruning

The late dormant season is best for pruning. Pruning late in winter or just before spring will leave fresh wounds exposed for just a small amount of time before a new growth begins to seal the process. Another advantage to dormant pruning is that it’s easier to make pruning choices without leaves covering the branch structure.

Pruning during the right time can help you to avoid certain psychological and disease issues:

  • To avoid oak wilt, don’t prune between April and October. If the oaks need to be pruned orare wounded during these time, apply latex paint or a wound dressing to mask the smell of cut wood so that beetles won’t spread oak wilt.
  • To avoid stem cankers, prune the honey locust when it’s still dormant in late winter. If it has to be pruned in summer, avoid humid or rainy weather.
  • Prune apple trees in late winter. Spring or summer pruning will increase the chance of infection and spread firelight. Autumn or early winter pruning is more likely to result in die back or drying at pruning sites.
  • There are trees that have free flowing sap that will bleed after pruning. Though this bleeding causes little issue, it could still cause concern. To prevent bleeding, you need to prune the following trees after the leaves are fully expanded in late spring to early summer. Never remove more than a quarter of the live foliage. For instance:
    • Birch and its relative’s blue beech and ironwood
    • All maples, including the box elder
    • Walnut and butternut

Shrubs that bloom new growth may be pruned in spring before the growth starts. Plants that have hardy stems like shrub roses and clematis need to be pruned to the live wood. Hardier shrubs like late blooming spireas and snowball hydrangeas need to be pruned to the first bud above the ground.

Using The Right Tools For Pruning

Using the right tools will make pruning easier and help you to do a good job. Keeping your tools well maintained and sharp will improve the performance of the tool. There are a lot of tools for pruning, but the following are best for most pruning:

  • Pruning shears: These are the most important tool. It cuts up to ¾ inches in diameter.
  • Looping Shears: These have longer handles than the pruning shear and can cut up to 1 ½ inches in diameter.
  • Hedge Shears: These are just for pruning hedges. They cut small stems or succulents the best.
  • Hand Saw: These are important for cutting branches over 1 inch in diameter. Most types of handsaws are available.
  • Pole Saw: This lets you get an extended reach with a long handle, but it needs to be used carefully as it could be hard to get clean cuts with it.
  • Small Chain Saw: These need to be used on larger branched. You will need to wear protective clothing and use caution when using it. Never use a chain saw above your shoulders or when you are on a ladder.

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