Tree Care & Trimming

When is the Best Time of Year to Trim Oak Trees?

Whether you’re considering pruning yourself or are looking to hire a professional tree service, timing is everything. Learn more about when, why, and how to cut oak trees for optimal tree health.

When Is It Safe to Prune Oak Trees?

Common species of oaks found in North Texas landscapes are red oaks, live oaks, post oaks, and pin oaks, just to name a few. You can find these scattered across commercial and residential landscapes throughout Dallas – Fort Worth, Texas.

Many people wonder when the best time to prune oaks is. Although true oak pruning season is during the winter months, you can trim your tree at any time of year as long as you take the proper precautions.

Southern Botanical’s team of licensed, certified arborists share what you need to know below.

Oak Wilt Disease: What You Need to Know

The seasonal spread of oak wilt disease depends on the weather. Most commonly, it occurs in February – June in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. During this period, you need to take extra precautions to protect the health of your trees.

Put simply, a sap-feeding beetle spreads oak wilt fungus by contacting fresh wounds on trees infected with oak wilt.

These beetles, primarily the nitidulid beetle commonly known as a sap beetle, serve as vectors for the fungus that causes oak wilt. As these beetles feed on sap produced by oak trees, they inadvertently pick up fungal spores, which can then be transferred to healthy trees through open wounds or fresh pruning cuts.

Once introduced into a new host, the fungus quickly colonizes the tree’s vascular system, impairing its ability to transport water and nutrients, ultimately leading to wilting, defoliation, and often death.

The rapid spread facilitated by these beetles poses a significant threat to oak populations in affected regions, such as Dallas Fort Worth, highlighting the importance of vigilant monitoring and management strategies to mitigate the impact of oak wilt disease. If you’re concerned about the health of your tree, read more about How to Identify Oak Wilt on Your Property.

Take Precautions When Trimming Oak Trees in Summer

The beetles that spread oak wilt disease are most active during the warming months. During the Texas summer heat, you need to take extra precautions when pruning or removing trees to prevent the spread of this disease.

Our team of Oak Wilt Qualified, ISA Certified Arborists recommend the following precautions:

DIY Oak Tree Trimming Rules

  • Safety first – tree work can be very dangerous. If you do not choose to work with a professional tree service, then you need to be extra mindful of safety. This includes safety glasses, a helmet, and remaining aware as you prune your trees.
  • The Right Tools for the Job – depending on the height of the limb you’re pruning as well as its thickness, you need to select the right tools for the job. This could include hand pruners, pole pruners, ladders, chainsaws, etc. Remember to use sharp, clean tools.
  • Have a Plan for Debris Removal – it’s essential to have a plan for debris removal to maintain a tidy and safe environment. Consider renting a chipper or arranging for a professional debris removal service to efficiently handle the branches and trimmings.
  • Use the 3-Cut Method – start by making an undercut to prevent bark tearing, then make a second cut to remove the branch, leaving a stub. Finally, make a third cut just outside the branch collar to promote proper healing and prevent disease.
  • Paint Your Cuts – apply a thin layer of lac balmsam (or similar arborist approved protection) immediately after pruning, covering the entire cut surface but avoiding the branch collar, to effectively seal the wound and minimize the risk of fungal infection.
  • Clean Your Tools to Prevent Disease Spread – use a solution of bleach or rubbing alcohol to disinfect tools, paying particular attention to blades and cutting surfaces, and allow them to dry completely before storing to inhibit the growth of pathogens.

Leave Your Trees to the Pros

Need help pruning your trees? Our team of ISA Certified, Oak Wilt Qualified Arborists offer free 30-minute consultations in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex.

Oak Wilt Certified Arborists will give you an estimate for pruning along with recommended timing. In some cases it is can be better to wait to Prune Outside of Oak Wilt Season, and in other cases the work can be safely performed anytime. You can trust your trees are in good hands with Southern Botanical’s professional tree services that are affordable, fast, and safe.