You Can Now Prune Your Live Oak Trees! But You Should Still Be Careful

Date August 03, 2021

Author TreeNewal Staff

Live Oak trees are some of the most popular yard trees in Dallas-Fort Worth. There are probably several on your street if you live in North Texas, and likely one or two in your own yard. Live Oaks are native to Texas and are prized for their hardy nature. However, some of our Live Oaks have had a rough go of it this year after the freeze in February, which happened right around when Live Oaks first begin budding and preparing to leaf out. Some are still struggling to recover. Many trees in Dallas-Fort Worth, even our mighty Live Oak trees, were damaged by the heavy sheets of snow and ice that weighed down their limbs. If your Live Oak was damaged, you might have already worked with a tree care company to trim them earlier this year properly. If you haven’t pruned or trimmed your Oak trees this year to avoid potentially exposing them to Oak Wilt, your trees might be looking pretty shabby by this point, especially with all the rain we received this spring. In that case, you might be eager to call a tree care professional to give your Live Oak trees a much-needed clean-up. But before you make a call, there are a few things you should know about pruning Oak trees during the summer in North Texas so that you can make an educated decision when choosing a professional tree care company to prune your trees.

Even though spring is over, you still need to be wary of Oak Wilt.

Even the toughest of trees, no tree is entirely resistant to diseases, pests, or severe weather conditions. Like all trees, Live Oaks have a list of things they’re most susceptible to, and Oak Wilt disease is one of those things. Actually, Texas Oak Wilt is one of the biggest threats to all Oak trees of Texas. What is Oak Wilt? Oak Wilt is a vascular wilt pathogen that attacks Oak trees. Once the fungus infects a tree, it invades and cripples the tree’s water-conducting systems, killing the tree in a matter of weeks. It most commonly affects Red Oak and Lives Oak trees in our area, but it can infect any Oaktree. Although Oak Wilt Season is from March to June, many experts warn that you should be wary of Oak Wilt during the summer months. Spring is just the time of the year when the spread of Oak Wilt disease peaks. It continues to spread throughout the summer months as well. Here’s how: When a tree is infected with Oak Wilt, it produces fungal spores that smell sweet and attract the sap-sucking Nitidulid beetle. The beetles feed on sap from fresh wounds in the tree made from pruning, storm damage, or other injuries, and the spores attach to their bodies. When they fly from tree to tree, feeding on open wounds, they spread the fungus. Nitidulid beetle activity and the production of Oak Wilt spores peak during the spring, so that’s why tree care professionals warn that you should avoid all forms of Oaktree pruning and Oaktree trimming during that time. There is very little to save an Oak tree once it has contracted Oak Wilt disease. Oak Wilt treatments might prolong the life of a Live Oak tree with Oak Wilt disease, but a full recovery is practically impossible, so the best method is prevention. Avoiding pruning and trimming Oak trees during Oak Wilt Season is the number one thing you can do as far as Oak Wilt prevention.

Who should prune your Oak trees and why it matters

In general, tree trimming and pruning are some of those tree health care tasks that are best left up to professionals. It must be done correctly, and it can be hazardous. A professional tree care company will have the experience and the tools needed to do the job correctly, safely, and efficiently. In the case of Oak trees in North Texas, working with a certified arborist tree service for all your pruning and trimming needs is especially important. Even in the summer, Oak trees need to be pruned very carefully, and the cut should be protected with wound paint. Using wound paint with an asphalt or latex base creates a protective barrier between the fresh cut and the sap-feeding insects. An experienced tree care professional will apply the paint in a thin layer immediately after the wound is created. Wound paint should be applied no matter the size of the cut, and it should be applied to all wounds on all Oaks year-round. If your tree is already infected with Oak Wilt, you should carefully call a professional tree care company to remove the tree from your property. There’s a lot involved in making sure an Oak tree infected with Oak Wilt doesn’t spread the disease to other Oak trees in the area.

What does Oak Wilt look like?

If you have an Oak tree on your property and you’re wondering what signs and symptoms to look out for, it’s important to note that Oak Wilt looks a little different in Live Oak trees than it does in Red Oak trees. Once the fungus reaches the vascular tissue, the tree tries to protect itself from the further spread by plugging cells and causing branches to wilt. This will likely be when you first notice the signs of Oak Wilt in late spring or early summer. On Red Oaks, leaf symptoms can look very similar to other possible ailments or diseases. At the same time, leaf symptoms on Live Oaks are more distinct to Oak Wilt. In both types, you’ll notice yellowing and then browning leaves at the top of your trees. The individual leaves will begin to brown at the margin toward the end of the leaf and then progress down the margin to the stem. As the leaves brown, they will fall from the tree and litter the ground. Because other Oaktree diseases cause similar symptoms, the best thing you can do if you notice any of these signs is contact a certified arborist as soon as possible to assess your tree.

TreeNewal can handle all your Live Oak health care needs.

If you have questions about pruning your Live Oak trees or if you think your tree might be sick or dying from Oak Wilt, work with a professional tree care company like TreeNewal that has ISA Certified Arborists with official Oak Wilt Qualifications who have specialized training in the identification, prevention, and treatment of Oak Wilt disease. TreeNewal is a certified arborist tree service with the tools and knowledge to perform the safe branch and tree removal techniques, including disposing of diseased materials and performing other preventative measures to stop further spread of Oak Wilt. TreeNewal offers a full range of expert tree care services, including emergency tree trimming and pruning during Oak Wilt season. We care deeply about protecting your trees from disease, pests, fungus, and any other ailments. For more information, go to our website at To set up an appointment, call us at tel:(817) 592-6846.

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