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 back and view your tree from all sides before pruning. Make sure the branches you intend to prune will be visually appealing.
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.
Make a clean cut being careful not to leave a stub. Stubs make the tree susceptible to infestation.