When and How to Trim Oak Trees

If you have an oak tree in your yard or garden, you need to take care of it as much as possible. When and how to trim an oak tree is the key to oak tree care. Mature oaks do not need to be heavily trimmed to maintain their health and beauty. But when they do need pruning, you should trim at the correct time every year.

When to trim oak tree

Winter (December to February) is the best time to prune oak trees.

Pruning oak trees in winter can greatly reduce the risk of oak wilting and infection. Oak blight is a fungal disease that is fatal to many oak trees. It is caused by insects that feed on the juice of newly pruned trees. These insects are attracted by the sap from the wounds and holes in the sap and transferred from the infected oak tree to the healthy tree. If not dealt with in time, the oak tree will die. And trimming oak trees in winter can greatly reduce the risk of oak wilt and infection. Because of the cold, insect activity is reduced during this period. It also ensures that the trees have enough time to repair the wounds before the next winter.

When is the Best Time of a Year to Prune Trees

How to trim oak tree

Clean pruning shears and saw blades

Before pruning the oak tree, the pruning shears and saw blades need to be disinfected, soak the pruning shears and saw blades in 9 parts of water and 1 part of bleach, then rinse and air dry.

Trimming newly planted oak trees

Newly planted oak trees require only decorative pruning and involve withered or broken branches. Doing so reduces the risk of exposure to diseases and prevents you from accidentally killing trees. Wait for it to grow again for 2 or 3 years before starting to shape it.

Trimming mature oak trees

The first step is to remove dead, sick, or broken branches. In order to ensure the air circulation of the oak tree, you need to remove the branches that grow toward the center of the crown. In addition, you also need to remove the branches that rub against each other to prevent the branches from being injured.

Let the tree heal the wound

Trees naturally seal incisions; there is no need to use artificial sealants, as this may trap microorganisms in the tree and cause disease.

How often should oak trees be trimmed

Young oaks are usually trimmed every 2 to 3 years. This includes removing dead, broken branches.

Most mature oaks grow slowly and the wounds heal slowly, and they can be trimmed once every 3 to 5 years. This includes removing dead, broken branches, reducing crowns and shaping.

Can I trim the oak tree by myself

For small oak trees under 15 feet in height, you can try to complete the work by yourself while ensuring safety.

If trimming mature oaks, hire a tree specialist or tree surgeon because they have extensive experience and equipment to complete the work safely and efficiently. Trimming oak trees is not only for beauty, but also a strategic process to improve the overall health and longevity of oak trees.


Avoid pruning of the oak tree during the active growth of the oak tree from April to July every year.

When trimming oak trees, do not remove more than 25% of the branches to prevent stress on the trees.