Oak trees require trimming from time to time to maintain good form and health, as well as keeping them out of power lines and off buildings.

The average cost of oak tree trimming is $730. Larger oak trees can cost up to $1,620 to trim.

Below I break down oak tree trimming by tree size.

Oak trimming cost by tree size

The cost of Oak tree trimming will vary depending mostly on the tree size and the type of pruning needed. Below is a breakdown of trimming costs by Oaktree size.

Small Oak trim (< 10ft.)

As a part of tree maintenance and care, all Oak trees must be pruned once or twice in the first five years after planting. This ensures that it is trained to a single main leader trunk and retains a good branch structure.

Known as formative pruning, you can expect to pay $320. It would involve the removal of crossing branches, a canopy lift, and the removal of deformed or dead branches.

Medium Oaktree trim (< 25ft.)

This would be a juvenile to mid-aged tree up to 20 feet tall. At this stage, you will need to consider another canopy lift (removal of lower branches), or building clearance, depending on your property and the locations of the trees.

You can expect to pay anywhere from $450 – $950 for trimming an oak tree of this size.

Proper American pruning standards need to be implemented, so you will need to hire a certified arborist to carry out the work. I would not rely on a gardener to have the skills and expertise to carry out such a prune with any competence.

Large Oak trim (< 50ft.)

An oak tree of this size would have done most of its growing, with the biggest ones maybe getting another 5 – 10 feet higher. You can maintain its shape and form at this stage by removing problem branches and deadwood.

You could also opt to carry out a tree reduction by pruning 3rd and 4th-order branches to reduce the tree’s overall size or other formative pruning techniques such as a canopy lift or tinning.

Pruning a large oak tree will cost $950 – $1700, depending on what is being done.

When should Oak trees be trimmed?

An oak tree should be trimmed during winter. This is so because trimming it during other seasons, like summer, leaves it vulnerable to oak wilt. This disease is spread by bugs that feed on the oak’s sap. Once this disease invades the tree through the open wounds caused by trimming cuts, it can kill the oak tree.

Therefore, restricting your trimming activities to winter is generally advisable for oak trees to limit the chances of contracting disease.

How often do oak trees need trimming?

The regularity with which an oak tree should be pruned will depend on how fast it grows and the surroundings. Dryer climates and less rainfall will mean a much slower-growing tree, but normally you can expect to prune an oak tree every 3 – 6 years.

When pruning an oak tree having a clear goal to communicate to the arborist is key.

Things like:
I would like to let more light through to my home or grass.
I want to improve my view.
I want to remove dead branches.

This ensures an outcome you are happy with and a healthier tree and you minimize costs.


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How much should I have pruned?

I recommend keeping the prune to less than 20% of the tree’s total canopy for each prune. This will minimize the shock to the tree’s system and ensure it bounces back stronger than ever with new growth year on year.

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Is pruning good for an oak trees health?

Yes, the pruning of any tree is fantastic for its health. The root system of a tree is in balance with what you see above ground. If it wants to grow bigger, it will need a larger root system first.

By pruning a tree, you reduce the number of resources needed to maintain the oak tree which allows the tree to use reserves for new growth, flowering, and fruit production.

You do need to make sure you are using the correct trimming techniques to give your tree the best chance at survival.

This is why fruit tree farmers prune trees every year in winter to ensure a better harvest come spring.

What will it cost to remove an oak tree?

Oaktree removal much like trimming will largely depend on the size of the tree being removed. Other factors such as tree location and time of year come into play also.

The cost of oak tree removal is always cheaper in the winter as there is a lot less work for tree services, and they bid lower prices to win work.

I recommend reading our oak tree removal cost guide for more information on removal costs by size.

Will I need a permit to trim an oak tree?

All cities have a tree removal and pruning ordinance which has rules and regulations regarding the pruning or removal of any tree.

You will need to refer to the Tree Ordinance for your particular city to see whether you will need a permit.

You can find the tree ordinance for your city here.

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