Time to Prune Oak Trees
June 12, 2013
Now is the time to schedule us for oak tree pruning!!
Wonder why you've had to wait all spring for us to prune oaks? Here at Preservation Tree, we take great care to make sure we do not prune oak trees during peak transmission season. Spring is the time when oak trees have the highest chance of contracting oak wilt disease; pruning in spring leaves them very vulnerable to this disease. The Texas Forest Service will tell you that the riskiest time to prune oaks is from February 1st through June 15th.
Fall and winter is the best time to have your oaks properly pruned. Once your tree has contracted oak wilt, did you know that it can spread to neighboring oaks and slowly kill them as well? So if your neighbors are pruning their oaks in spring, your oak trees will be more susceptible to the disease as well. It is ok to prune off dead branches and twigs less than 2" in diameter as needed.
Injury caused by bark feeding insects is one of the most common ways disease enters a tree. Oak wilt is an especially insidious disease that is easily transmitted and can kill a tree in a single growing season. It affects mostly Live Oaks and Red Oaks. Caused by the spores of a fungus, it is carried from tree to tree by small beetles that feed on that fungus. It can also be introduced to a healthy tree by using non-sterilized tools that were previously used on an infected tree. A rapid yellowing of the outer leaves near the top in mid-late spring is an indicator of this disease. The yellowing will spread throughout the entire canopy, with the tree quickly dropping its leaves. Diagnosis by a tree pathologist is critical as successful treatment depends on early diagnosis of all infected trees within an area. It does little good to treat only one tree.
An educated professional tree company will not try to get you to prune your oaks in spring; they'll tell you they can't do the job until late-June or July. The spread of oak wilt disease is minimized by the pruning technician using a special mixture to seal wounds and by sterilizing the tools with alcohol before moving on to the next tree. Our arborists here at Preservation Tree Service complete specialized training to be Texas Oak Wilt Qualified Arborists.