How to Prune Interior Live Oak


Interior live oak is also called highland live oak and Sierra live oak. It has a rounded top and smooth bark. The tree matures in the second year and grows up to 60-feet tall while the shrub gets to be about 10-feet tall. Interior live oak has fruit in the form of acorns and blooms between March and May. It is most commonly found in slopes, interior canyons and valleys. The plant is evergreen, with very smooth, waxy green leaves. Pruning interior live oak will take care of any diseased or dying limbs and improve the appearance.

Step 1

Take into account that interior live oak has a spherical form. This means it has many lateral branches that may compete for dominance. This form should be maintained because if you prune the tree into an unnatural form, you'll have to do continual maintenance.

Step 2

Prune interior live oak when they are young to produce a strong structure. As they grow, pruning will keep the tree healthy, and improve its structure, form and appearance.

Step 3

Thin the crown so that more air and light can get to the tree. At the same time, you'll be able to develop and maintain the tree's form and structure.

Step 4

Cut the branches at the node, which is where one twig or branch meets another. Each spring, bugs will sprout, and twigs will grow until there is a new node.

Step 5

Keep all branches that are attached with strong U-shaped joints. Remove those branches with narrow, V-shaped connections because they are weaker and are likely already cracked.

Step 6

Cut off the branches that are facing downward, on the underside of the tree. This is called crown raising and will allow clearance for pedestrians, traffic and lines of site. The tree will also have a neater appearance.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not remove more than one-quarter of the crown at a time or you may cause stress and excessive production of epicormic sprouts.

Things You'll Need

  • Ladder
  • Saw or pruning equipment
  • Goggles
  • Gloves


  • Forestry Resources Extension
  • The Regents of the University of California
Keywords: interior live oak, prune, tree

About this Author

Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.