How To Prune A Mature Oak Tree

Fully grown oak trees require very little pruning to keep the tree healthy and appealing in the home landscape. Oak (Quercus) is a large tree type that grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant strength zones 3 through 10, depending on the variety. The very best time to prune all varieties of oak is during the winter season inactive months to minimize the threat of bugs or illness getting in through the open wounds. Pruning is reasonably simple and takes just a few steps.


Confirm the pruning blades are sharp before cutting the tree to reduce damage.
Never eliminate more than 10 to 15 percent of branch growth throughout each season to prevent stressing the tree.

When pruning a fully grown oak tree, remove dead, weak or broken branches using the method described below to decrease damage to the tree from heavy branches. You’ll also wish to eliminate branches growing towards the center of the crown prior to them reaching a diameter of 2 inches. This will open up the interior of the crown for air circulation. In addition, prune to get rid of any branches that rub against each other with the very same method. This prevents injuries on the branches that produce entry points for disease. Finally, eliminate any branches that have an unattractive shape or development direction to keep the tree appealing.

How to Prune Each Unwanted Branch

Disinfect the Clippers and Pruning Saw

Clean up the pruning clipper and saw blade with a disinfectant of 9 parts clean water and 1 part household bleach. Wash the tools with clean water and let them dry prior to utilizing them. Wash the blades before pruning each tree and after removing unhealthy branches to prevent spreading illness in between trees.

Make the First Cut on the Branch

Usage either a pruning clipper or pruning saw, depending on the density of the branch; the pruning saw will work much better with bigger 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.

Make the Second Cut on the Branch

Make a 2nd cut on the top of the branch, about 1 inch far from the very first cut toward the branch tip.

Make the Third Cut on the Branch

Continue cutting the second cut up until the branch falls from the tree. Eliminate the remaining branch section with a 3rd cut at the branch collar.

Things You Will Need

– Household bleach
– Pruning clipper
– Pruning saw


Oak trees can reach an enormous height that produces risky conditions when pruning high branches. Consult an expert tree service company to get rid of branches that you are not able to reach.


Avoid pruning oak trees during the active growing months of April through June. The chance for establishing oak wilt from the open pruning injury is a high danger. Prune all oak ranges during the dormant winter months when the internal fluids are not actively moving through the tree.

Never ever place a ladder on unequal ground or on the back of a truck bed in an attempt to prune branches out of your reach.

Prevent pruning oak branches that are near or touching utility lines to prevent line damage or accidental electrocution.

For more information on pruning oak trees properly or to schedule a consultation with experts, contact Tree Service Pro Sacramento. This family owned business has certified arborists on staff that manages every job to ensure client satisfaction. Visit the company website at or call 916-407-1090.