How to Trim Pin Oak Trees in Eastern Missouri


The pin oak is a popular landscaping tree in the southeastern parts of the state in and around the Ozarks region, thanks to its uniform growth habit. The tree is distinguished by its branches, which spread straight out halfway up the tree and droop on the lower margins. Like most oak trees, pin oaks need very little pruning. Branch removal should focus on clearing away drooping branches to create ground clearance, and removal of diseased or dead branches.

Step 1

Examine the form of the pin oak and decide which branches to remove. Plan to remove any dead or diseased limbs, limbs that are in danger of falling and limbs that rub one another.

Step 2

Sharpen the blades of all your pruning tools before using them. Swipe each blade with a bleach-soaked cloth between pruning each limb to prevent the spread of disease.

Step 3

Climb on a ladder so that you never cut a branch over your head. All branches that are removed should be cut away while you are standing so that the limb is at chest height.

Step 4

Remove each branch by making a cut just outside of the ridge of bark in the fork of the tree, and angling down and away from the tree stem.

Step 5

Remove thick, sturdy branches by first sawing a third of the way through the underside of a branch 2 inches above your final cut. Make a second cut completely through the branch from the top and cut straight downward beyond the first cut. Your third cut should begin just outside the ridge of bark in the fork of the tree and angle down and away from the tree stem. This will prevent you from stripping the bark on the tree.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear protective clothing when pruning a tree. Protective clothing includes gloves, long sleeves and pants, shoes, a hard hat and protective eyewear. Branches that cross into electrical lines should be removed by a professional.

Things You'll Need

  • Blade sharpener
  • Pruning saw
  • Pruning loppers
  • Pruning shears
  • Bleach
  • Cloth
  • Ladder


  • United States Deparment of Agriculture: How to Prune Trees
  • Missouri State Extension: Simple, Broad-Leaved Trees
  • State Compensation Insurance Fund: Pruning Safety

Who Can Help

  • Missouri Department of Conservation: Pin Oak
Keywords: removing branches from a pin oak, pruning a pin oak, caring for pin oaks

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."