Live oak trees can live for 80 to 100 years. They can reach heights of 40 to 100 feet and have spreads of 60 to 100 feet. They require trimming, but in moderation. If you have a live oak that needs excessive trimming, you should spread it over two seasons to give the tree time to recover. All cuts to the tree should be made flush to the trunk or the major branch from which it grows.
Plan to trim your live oak in the fall or winter. Avoid pruning during the spring and summer, as fresh cuts can attract pests that spread fungus.
Gather the tools you will need. You will need pruning scissors, or hand-held pruners, to trim small branches. Branches 2 to 3 inches in diameter will require a pruning saw. Branches larger than 4 inches will require the use of a chain saw.
Cut and remove any branches that could pose a health risk. This includes any branches growing too low to the ground, as well as dying, unhealthy or weak branches that could break and fall.
Trim and remove any branches that rub against each other or against buildings or other structures. The rubbing can damage the bark and become an entry point for disease or pest and insect infestation.
Cut and remove suckers growing out of the tree's trunk or growing from the roots of the tree. Identify suckers by their lack of bark. They will have smooth skin.
Remove any branches growing downward or straight up.
Trim for aesthetic reasons last. These cuts should shape the tree and give it a more healthy and uniform shape.
Seal the cuts you have made with a wound sealer or black spray paint.