Oak trees are substantial and robust, usually requiring minimal upkeep. However, periodically trimming an oak tree can benefit its health and strength.

The best time for trimming Oaks is towards the end of winter, or at least when the coldest parts of winter have passed. The month of February would be an ideal time to prune. These colder months reduce the risks of invasion of pests or diseases. Not only that but with the leaves off the tree, it’s also easier to trim and shape.

Fungal diseases such as oak wilt can occur in open tree wounds spread by beetles. This disease can be lethal to oak trees and occurs most commonly in the spring and summer months.

canopy lift on aok tree front yard

The worst time of year to trim an oak would have to be mid-summer. There are times when it is unavoidable such as a branch failure after a storm. The active growing months of all trees are during spring and early summer (April to June). During this time, sap-feeding beetles are very active and can easily spread oak wilt from infected trees.

When you remove a branch, you leave an open wound on the tree that it needs to heal. In the meantime, there is an open door for beetles and fungus to make themselves at home in your tree.

Oak wilt is a disease that lives on the tissue of live trees so it moves quickly. It’s first noticed by the wilting and loss of leaves at the tops of trees. It can kill oak trees within a matter of weeks.

If an oak tree must be trimmed due to storm damage or some other necessity, one tip is to use latex paint over the open cut. The paint helps to reduce the odor that attracts the beatles. Although it’s still risky to trim in spring, this small tip may help to prevent oak wilt during pruning.

What is a reasonable price for Oak tree trimming?

While trees usually don’t require a lot of work, in order to keep their appearance at the peak, sometimes a good trimming is necessary. Obviously, the size of the tree and the amount of work needed will affect the price.

The average range from a small trim to a canopy reduction on a mature specimen is anywhere from $250 to $1,500.

We have a more comprehensive guide on the cost to trim an oak tree which will break the prices down by tree size and trim type.

Additional factors such as the location of the tree (it is hard to get to and the number of trees needing attention will also be reflected in the cost.

It’s a good idea to call around different tree-cutting companies to try and get the best price.

You’ll want to make sure you hire a certified arborist as they have the knowledge and experience necessary to provide great service.

Also, keep in mind if it’s an emergency tree removal situation and a tree service is called, they may have a flat rate simply for emergencies. This flat rate may be in addition to other services needed. Always be sure to ask before getting hit with a giant bill.

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How often should Oak trees be trimmed?

Trees should be trimmed based on age and motive for pruning. Younger specimens need a trim every 2 -3 years to help train them to a single main leading trunk and good branch structure, while a mature tree only needs a trim every 6 – 7 years to remove dead branches.

In regards to how often to trim oak trees, it’s a good idea to have them trimmed every 4 -5 years on average trimming no more than 25% of the tree’s foliage. This prevents stressing the tree and also encourages new growth.

Trimming can help to maintain the shape of mature trees and ensure that there are no unsecured or crossing branches. In younger trees, it’s needed to help provide a proper structure and create an appealing aesthetic.

oak tree being trimmed by arborist pole saw
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Should I do it myself or get a certified arborist?

While it certainly may seem to be more cost-effective to prune trees yourself, there are plenty of things that could go wrong. If done improperly, certain diseases and pests may spread to otherwise healthy trees.

Younger trees that just need a quick trim can usually be done without a professional.

Few tools are needed and there are plenty of sites on the internet to help a beginner learn the tricks of the trade. Even a simple conversation with different tree professionals may be all it takes to trim a small, young tree. However, that’s usually where the do-it-yourself trimming should end.

If the tree is more mature and branches are higher up then it’s essential to call a certified arborist. They will be able to safely remove any high branches and have your tree looking its best.

When choosing an arborist, make sure they are certified and insured with public liability insurance. A certified arborist means they are a highly trained tree professional with experience in planting, caring for, and maintaining trees.

Oak trees are stunning and require limited intervention to keep them looking their best.

A simple pruning every few years will give your tree the perfect shape and keep it healthy for years to come.

Ben McInerney
Author: Ben McInerney - Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.