Use hand pruners to remove small stems and branches from the leader (main branch) of a young northern red oak. Cut branches a quarter inch above the bud. The bud should face the outside of the plant to force a new branch to grow outward.
Use a pruning saw or pole pruners for large branches. Make three cuts in the branch to avoid tearing the bark. The first cut should be 18 inches from the trunk on the underside of the branch at a depth that is half way through the branch. Make the next cut 2 to 3 inches above the first, cutting until the branch falls to the ground. Locate the branch collar, a small swelling coming from the trunk of the tree, and cut the remainder of the branch.
Apply latex wound sealant to prevent insect damage. Use the wood chipper to grind branches into mulch. This mulch can be added directly to garden beds or placed into a compost bin to breakdown and used in gardens. Clean pruners before using on the next tree to avoid transmitting possible diseases.