An Overview of How to Prune a Mature, Damaged Oak Tree During the Summer

During the summer, oak trees should only be pruned when damaged by high winds, lightning strikes, or some other natural or man-made calamity. The problem with pruning an oak tree in the summer is that doing this makes it more susceptible to getting infected by the oak wilt disease. The oak wilt disease is caused by a fungus that is carried by insects that are active during the summer. If you are a homeowner that has a damaged oak tree in your yard that needs pruning and you wish to do the job yourself, here is an overview of how to properly trim a damaged mature oak tree during the warm summer months when insects are active.

You Will Need:

  • Chainsaw
  • Rope
  • Ladder
  • Wound Dressing
  • Paint Brush

Set ladder

You will need a ladder to reach most branches. Do not place the ladder against the damaged branch you are trimming. If the branch is large, the shifting of the tree when the branch falls off of it can cause the ladder to move suddenly, and you could get knocked off of it. Place the top of the ladder against a large branch above the one you are trimming and tie it to the branch with a piece of rope. Make sure the ladder is angled so you can make a cut underneath and above the damaged branch.

Cutting the Branch

You should make your first cut underneath the branch. Look to see how far back the damaged limb travels toward the main trunk of the tree. Pay special attention to the bark. The weight of the limb can cause the bark to rip. You should make your first cut where the ripping of the bark ends on the branch. You only need to cut the bottom of the branch enough to cut through the bark. The undercut will prevent the bark from continuing to rip while you make your top cut.

Make your top cut over the spot where you made your undercut on the branch. Slowly cut down through the branch until the branch breaks off and drops to the ground.

Apply Wound Dressing

You want to seal the cut with a wound dressing like latex paint. The smell of fresh wood attracts insects that could be carrying the oak wilt disease to the tree. Once the fungus gets into the tree, you'll gradually see the leaves and branches start to die. Eventually, the entire tree could become infected and die. Apply the dressing with a paint brush. Make sure to cover all of the exposed wood. The wound dressing will cover up the smell of fresh paint and act as an insect repellent.

For more information, contact a tree service like Treetime Inc. 

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