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When is it Okay to Prune Oak Trees in Spring?

Billy Cook, Chief Arborist / Fort Worth Branch Manager, ISA Certified Arborist TX-1151A; Texas Oak Wilt Certified – 0016

The blanket recommendation from Texas A&M Forest Service is to not prune Oak trees in the Spring months (mid February – early June) due to the chance of Oak Wilt spread. Instead, they recommend pruning oak trees July through mid-February.

There are instances, however, when pruning oak trees during oak wilt season is worth the risk.

Oak Wilt Tree Sm 1

The main concern with the risk of Oak Wilt spread through pruning in the Spring is making fresh wounds through the cuts on the tree. The Nitidulid beetle can transfer spores from an infected Red Oak fungal mat over to other Oaks through the open, fresh wounds. Fresh wounds are really wounds that are less than 48 hours old.

There are many factors to take into account when deciding whether or not to prune an Oak in the Spring:

  1. Taking into account direct Oak Wilt disease pressure in the surrounding area. Disease pressure in a given area is an issue that Arborists are aware of.
  2. The type or extent of pruning needed. If the pruning needed is limited to a small number of cuts, there really is not much concern regardless of disease pressure. As the individual cuts are made, special wound dressing is applied over the cut to mask the fresh wound.
  3. Status or risk of failure of the tree or individual branches. If the Oak canopy is in need of pruning to reduce the risk of tree failure, or failure of branches, then time of year is thrown out the window. The pruning is better to get done ASAP. Having a tree fail, or branches fail is much worse than the chance of disease spread through controlled pruning. If branches fail from excess weight during a storm, numerous and large wounds can be left within the tree leaving it very vulnerable to disease spread.

The main issues that are important in Spring Oak pruning are sterilization or cleaning of pruning tools, and applying wound dressing to fresh cuts. Have your Certified Arborist review your trees, and help make the best educated recommendation on the optimum time to perform Oak tree pruning.

However, now is the optimum time to prune oak trees. We’re scheduling time to prune while there is less risk of Oak Wilt spread. Call us to make an appointment to have your valuable oak trees pruned in Dallas: 214-528-2266 pr Ft. Worth: 817-581-4502

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