Oak is among the popular trees in the United States, and 101,000 Americans voted to recognize the oak tree as the National Tree of the United States in 2004. Sometimes referred to as the “King of the forest,” this tree is a beautiful addition to any property.
It’s remarkable for its wood, beautiful leaves, and majestic structure, especially when it reaches dozens of feet in height. However, like most tree species, the oak requires a fair amount of care to keep it healthy, strong, and attractive.
Trimming is an integral part of caring for oak trees. But can you kill an oak tree by trimming it?
Winter Is the Best Time for Trimming Oak Trees
Can you kill an oak tree by trimming it? Yes, if you do it at the wrong time. While you can prune some trees any time of year, that’s not the case with oak trees, as they’re prone to a disease known as oak wilt.
This aggressive fungus kills thousands of oak trees yearly by impeding water flow to the trees’ leaves and canopies. It results from bugs that feed on the sap of newly trimmed trees. The bugs carry fungal spores from infected trees to healthy trees.
You can avoid oak wilt by trimming your trees in the winter because bugs are less likely to contaminate the trees during this season.
Only Use Clean Trimming Equipment on Your Oak Trees
It’s critical to ensure your trimming equipment is clean and dry before using it on an oak tree. You can quickly clean the equipment with water and household bleach. If you need to trim multiple oak trees, clean the equipment between trees to minimize the risk of spreading diseases.
Use The Right Trimming Technique on the Branches
The trimming technique varies based on the age of the oak trees. For trees under three years old, you should only remove the dead or broken branches. This practice helps minimize the risk of diseases and prevent the accidental killing of the tree.
For oak trees above three years old, you should only trim branches growing toward the tree’s center. You also need to look for branches rubbing against each other, as they lead to wounds that expose the trees to diseases.
Don’t Apply Dressing to Trimming Cuts
Applying pruning paint or wound dressing doesn’t prevent wood decay and may undermine the natural healing of tree wounds. However, if you need to trim an oak tree in spring or summer, paint the cuts with latex house paint within 15 minutes to prevent oak wilt transmission.
Contact Your Local Tree Experts for Assistance
Can you kill an oak tree by trimming it? Not if you follow the instructions above. If you need professional help trimming your oak trees, Affordable Tree & Landscape is here. Call us at 904-687-9856 for a free quote and to learn more about proper tree pruning techniques.