Nothing says Central Texas hill country quite like a majestic live oak. These trees have a special place in properties throughout Austin.
Larger trees can be 200-300 years old, and with proper care, some can live up to 500 or 600 years! Many of these gentle giants have been around since before we were born, and they will continue to grow for decades after we’re gone, but for this relatively short season, we get to play a part in helping them thrive — how cool is that?
But how often should you trim live oak trees, and when? Let’s find out.
Why should you trim live oak trees?
Regular trimming and care are essential for maintaining your live oaks for years to come. Pruning helps maintain the tree’s health, promote growth, and prevent damage to people or property.
- Health: broken/crossed limbs are often entry points for disease.
- Safety: you don’t want big branches falling on your dog or your neighbor’s new Cybertruck.
- Aesthetics: Trimmed trees look better.
- Cool factor: It’s scientifically proven that your neighbors will think you are at least 14% cooler if they see you trimming your trees.
How often should you trim live oak trees in Austin?
The frequency of trimming live oak trees depends on a few factors, such as size, growth rate, and overall health.
Most live oaks can use light pruning about every year. This includes removing suckers and lightening up low-hanging branches. This will help lift the canopy and relieve stress on heavy limbs.
Beyond that, live oak trees can use a more thorough trimming every two to three years to maintain their shape, remove dead or diseased branches, and promote healthy growth.
Some signs that a live oak tree may need trimming include:
- Dead or diseased branches: These should be removed as soon as they are noticed to prevent spreading disease or pests to the rest of the tree.
- Crossing or rubbing branches: These branches can rub against each other, causing damage or breaking off. It is best to remove these branches as soon as they are noticed.
- Crowded or overgrown canopy: A tree’s canopy can become too dense or overgrown, which can lead to poor air circulation and disease. Thinning the canopy can help improve the tree’s overall health.
If in doubt, give us a call for personalized recommendations based on your trees’ size and health status. We can give an accurate assessment and suggestions based on the specific tree and your landscape needs.
When should you trim live oak trees?
Many people like to trim live oaks during the dormant season, from late fall to early spring. During this time, the tree’s energy is focused on its roots rather than on producing leaves and flowers, which makes it more tolerant of trimming. Trimming during the growing season can lead to more stress on the tree and can also lead to an increase in new growth, which will require more frequent trimmings.
There isn’t really a best time to trim oaks, but there is definitely a worst time: spring. Springtime pruning puts your live oaks at risk of contracting Oak Wilt, an insect-borne disease that’s wiped-out thousands of beautiful oaks in Central Texas. You should NOT trim live oaks from February through June. The trees start growing like gangbusters during these spring/summer months, and their pungent sap can attract disease-carrying beetles from miles around. Only trim July through January to prevent the risk of Oak Wilt.
In addition, to proper timing, always disinfect your tools and properly seal all wounds after trimming/pruning. This helps prevent cross-contamination and infection.
You can read more about live oak trimming best practices in this article about common tree trimming mistakes.
Why we do what we do
We love taking care of nature. We are grateful to partner with you in bringing our native landscape to its fullest potential and beauty. Tim Keller defines work as: “rearranging the raw materials of God’s creation in such a way that is helps the world in general, and people in particular, thrive and flourish.”
Top Choice gets to partner with you to do this in tree trimming and other landscaping maintenance and enhancements. We want to help these trees flourish and help people enjoy their beauty and functionality (shade, swings, property value, etc). What a gift to care for these majestic creations.
Let’s get busy!
At the time of writing, there are only a few weeks left in January before the live oak trimming season officially ends. Call 512-291-7050 or send us a message to get a quote.
We look forward to helping your trees flourish for decades to come.
A quick poem about trimming
Oh oak trees, with branches so high,
Let’s make the neighbors exclaim, “Oh my!”
But wait, before you get too excited,
There’s a time for trimming, and one that’s ill-advised.
Spring is when oak wilt spreads, like wildfire,
So we’ll trim in winter, when it’s nice and milder.
While others trim all year round,
We strive to be extra careful, our oak trees to astound.
From February to July, we’ll let the oaks be,
So they can grow strong and naturally.
Trimming trees is more than a chore,
It’s for the health, safety, and aesthetic score.
And let’s not forget, the cool factor,
Your neighbors will think you’re a tree caring master.
So let’s partner up, to reshape and prune,
And bring our oaks to flourish and grow to the moon
It’s a gift, to care for these creations,
Top Choice, is here for all your trimming manifestations.