How to Prune a Live Oak Tree

Prune your oak tree carefully. image by Petr Kratochvil


Live oak trees should primarily be pruned for safety and the health of the tree. Knowing how to prune a live oak tree will help you to keep your tree healthy. Identify areas where branches could fall and cause injury and property damage. Look for insect-infested wood or damaged limbs that can spread disease in your live oak tree. Pruning the crown of the tree encourages air flow and reduces some pest issues.

Step 1

Remove weak or damaged tree limbs. Use a pruning shears for limbs less than 1 inch in diameter. For larger limbs, use a pruning saw.

Step 2

Start each cut where the branch growth begins from the trunk. Make cuts in the same direction that the limb grows so new bark will close the tree's wound.

Step 3

Prune tree limbs to a desired first branch height after several years of maturing. This will provide access under the tree for lawn care and pedestrians. The most common height from ground to first limb is 8 feet.

Step 4

Prune damaged forking branches. Make cuts just outside the dead or diseased branch. This will encourage the healthy portion of the branch to heal over the wound.

Step 5

Prune branches between 12 and 18 inches apart after the oak tree is several years old. This will decrease the need for crown thinning and allow good air flow within the tree.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never remove limbs around power lines. Call the power company and have them remove the limbs. Avoid using a ladder to reach limbs. Use extended shears that are available at most hardware stores.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Pruning saw


  • Prune a Tree
  • Oak Tree Pruning
  • Tree Pruning
Keywords: prune live oak tree, oak tree pruning, prune a tree

About this Author

Kenneth Crawford is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. His work has appeared in both print and online publications, including "The American Chronicle." Crawford holds an associate degree in business administration from Commonwealth College.

Photo by: Petr Kratochvil