How to Prune Bur Oak


The bur oak should only be pruned during the dormant season (December to March). Take care not to prune or wound the tree during the growing season (April to November). Exposing even the smallest amount of tissue underneath the bark of the bur oak is an invitation to the picnic beetle. Picnic beetles are carriers of oak wilt spores and can infect the tree. Should you have to prune your bur oak tree during the growing season, you must apply pruning paint immediately. Due to the free form of this tree only prune it to remove dead branches, to remove branches that are a danger, or to remove branches that are too close to a building.

Step 1

Step back and view your tree from all sides before pruning. Make sure the branches you intend to prune will be visually appealing.

Step 2

Locate the branch collar (on the underside of the branch where the branch meets the trunk) and the branch bark ridge (on the top side of the branch where the branch meets the trunk). Select the proper tool for the size and location of the branch you plan to prune.

Step 3

Make a clean cut being careful not to leave a stub. Stubs make the tree susceptible to infestation.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not prune near electrical wires; leave this to the power company. Also do not prune any high branches as this can be a danger to you and to the surrounding property. Call a professional for these pruning jobs.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand-pruning shears
  • Lopping shears
  • Pruning saw
  • Pole pruner


  • What's New La Porte?
  • United States Department of Agriculture
  • Johnson's Nursery, Inc.
Keywords: bur oak prune cut, free form shape, remove branches pruning

About this Author

Paula M. Ezop’s inspirational column "Following the Spiritual Soul" appeared in "Oconee Today," a Scripps Howard publication. She has published her first book, "SPIRITUALITY for Mommies," and her children's chapter book, "The Adventures of Penelope Star," will be published by Wiggles Press. Ezop has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University and has been writing for 10 years.