Summer is a Good Time to Prune Oaks

While it’s always recommended to paint fresh wounds with an oil or latex paint, the heat at this time of year also helps protect against oak wilt.

The really hot weather of July and August is a good opportunity to give our oak trees a little trim. While it’s always a good idea to paint fresh wounds with an oil or latex paint, the heat at this time of year actually helps protect against oak wilt.

The form of fungus that spreads the disease and the insect that transports the spores of that fungus are nearly non-existent at this time of year.

When pruning, follow these rules to ensure proper pruning and prevent oak wilt:

  • Large branches (greater than 1 inch) should be undercut to minimize additional damage and help the wound heal faster. Follow the three-step cutting method.
  • To promote healthy wood and minimize damage, aim to remove dead, damaged, diseased and rubbing branches.
  • If early training has not been possible, crown reduction prevents conflicts with traffic, power lines or other structures. Never cut off more than 25 percent of a tree in a single year, and keep in mind that young trees compartmentalize, or seal against decay better than old trees. In many cases, the only alternative for a tree that has outgrown its site is to replace it with a smaller-growing variety.
  • ONLY oaks require paint on fresh wounds. Any oil or latex based paint is appropriate. Be creative! Use different colors. Mix and match with the house.
  • Always keep your tools sharp and clean them with a fungicide. I suggest Lysol, either original or lemon scent is fine.

Just keep in mind that if you lost the opportunity this summer, winter also affords the opportunity for more pruning. In fact, winter is the best time to prune all trees, except spring blooming trees.

Consult with a Certified or Licensed Arborist before doing any major pruning. Certified arborists may be found at the International Society of Arboriculture. Licensed arborists can be located by calling the City of San Antonio Department of Development Services, City Arborist.

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