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How to Prune Pin Oak

Pin oaks are beautiful trees with a pyramidal shape that require minimal pruning. Most pruning will be to remove low branches that are in your way, branches that may be brushing up against a building or diseased or damaged branches. Prune pin oaks during the dormant season, from November through February, to avoid any disease complications (such as oak wilt fungus). The required tools will depend upon the size of the branch and the location on the tree (for higher branches you will need to use a pole pruner/saw).

Determine which branches need to be pruned. Make sure that the branches you want to cut will not destroy the pyramidal shape of the tree. Step back and look at the tree from all sides when determining which branches you are going to prune.

Locate the collar and the bark ridge on the branch you want to remove. The branch collar is on the underside of the branch, where it meets the trunk. The branch bark ridge is on the topside of the branch, where it meets the trunk. You want to leave these areas intact, cutting just in front of them. This helps the tree to heal quickly.

Using the proper tool (depending upon the branch size) make your cut. Follow the same procedure for each branch you prune. Cut up large branches up for firewood. Dispose of smaller branches.

Prune A Mature Oak Tree

Mature oak trees require minimal maintenance pruning to keep the tree healthy and attractive in the home landscape. Oak (Quercus) is a tall tree species that grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 10, depending on the variety. Pruning is relatively simple and takes only a few steps. This will open up the interior of the crown for air flow. Clean the pruning clipper and saw blade with a disinfectant of 9 parts clean water and 1 part household bleach. Rinse the tools with clean water and let them dry before using them. Wash the blades before pruning each tree and after removing diseased branches to prevent spreading disease between trees. Use either a pruning clipper or pruning saw, depending on the thickness of the branch; the pruning saw will work better with larger branches. Start by cutting 18 inches from the branch collar, or the area that swells at the base of the branch, on the lower side of the branch. Stop cutting when you get to the center of the branch.


All pruning tools should be sharp so that you can make a clean cut.


Do not prune branches that are near electrical wires; leave these to the electrical company. Do not leave any cut stubs; they make the tree susceptible to disease. Pruning any extremely high branches should be left to the professionals; know when to seek their assistance.

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