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Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Quercus palustris, Pruning trees

I have a big pin oak that needs to be pruned. Maybe 1/3 of the leaves have dropped. Is this a good time to prune or should I wait a week or two?

Answer:

The American Horticultural Society's Pruning & Training (DK Publishing, 1996) says to prune pin oak (Quercus palustris) as you would white oak, that is, when the tree is dormant, in winter or early spring. Pin oak can be trained as a central-leader standard, but if this is a mature tree which was not trained this way, do not attempt it now. Established trees should not need much pruning at all, so only prune what is dead, diseased, or damaged, or any branches which are drooping, in order to provide clearance.

The Sunset Pruning Handbook (1983) says the following: "Pin oak is a pyramidal tree when it's young. It forms a rounded top as it matures. during the pyramidal stage, its lower branches are down-sweeping. If you remove the lowest branches to gain walking space beneath the tree, the limbs above will bend into a down-sweeping position. When the tree is mature, the down-sweeping process will stop. You can then cut off lower limbs to create a tree suitable for walking under."

Date 2017-04-15
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August 01 2017 12:36:01