En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Safe time to trim live oak trees

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
4 ratings

Friday - June 20, 2008

From: Bynum, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Trees
Title: Safe time to trim live oak trees
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Our live oak trees need a little trimming, as some of the branches are hanging too low, almost to the ground. We planted them about 5 years ago, so they are well established, healthy trees. My husband heard that it's not good to trim them. Is this true? If not, is it safe to trim them back now? Our temps are in the high 90s. Thanks! Debbi

ANSWER:

Trimming them is just fine, but the timing of the trimming is crucial. The reason for the concern is oak wilt. The beetles responsible for spreading the fungus that causes oak wilt are most active during the warm spring weather. They are still around the rest of the year but are least active during the hottest months of summer and during cold spells of our winters here in Texas. Please see the answer to a recent question to learn more details about oak wilt and measures to prevent it.

Before you trim your oak trees be sure to read "Guidelines for Proper Pruning to Prevent Oak Wilt Infection" by Kim Camilli (Oak Wilt Coordinator, Texas Forest Service) and "Studies on Pruning Cuts and Wound Dressings for Oak Wilt Control" by Kim Camilli, David N. Appel, and W. Todd Watson. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry 2007. 33(2):132-139. Also, visit the Texas Oak Wilt Information Partnership page for more information.

Additionally, you probably should check with your Hill County Extension Agent to learn about the current status of oak wilt in your county.

 

 

More Pruning Questions

Trimming of Pineapple Sage and Salvia Greggii
October 07, 2007 - I live in Central Austin. My question is: When is the best time to trim back Pineapple Sage and Salvia Gregii? How far back should these plants be trimmed?
view the full question and answer

Branching on plants
March 14, 2008 - Hi Mr SmartyPlants, I would like to cause my cerus peruvinesus (sp?) to branch low to the ground and another plant to branch higher up..what causes branching & how can I duplicate this?
view the full question and answer

Cutting back perennials in PA
July 25, 2011 - Can you pinch back echinacea in the spring to produce a shorter plant? I have some that get too tall and fall over.
view the full question and answer

Why aren't my Forsythias blooming in Stone Mountain, GA?
March 24, 2010 - We have a large forsythia stand that has bloomed beautifully for 14 years in a row. Two summers ago I cut them way back in July. For the past two years they have only leafed out, no, or very few bloom...
view the full question and answer

Lilies not blooming from Austin
May 03, 2013 - Last December 8, you published a letter in the Statesman that I had written to you regarding Rain Lilies, Oxblood Lilies, and Copper Lilies. The were sprouting in my garage in a bag. You recommended...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center