The Q&A Archives: California Live Oak

Question: I have a young california live oak tree. It is 8 foot tall with 6 side branches. Should I prune this tree, or let it continue in it's natural growth pattern? I would like a rounded shape.

Answer: It is best not to prune live oaks at all, because they are prone to diseases and insect problems when they are wounded. However, sometimes pruning is necessary. The best time to prune is in the late winter to avoid disease pathogens and insect pests, and to cut all the way back to the branch collar so natural healing can occur. I think you will find that as your oak matures it will form a rounded canopy so you may not need to prune at all.

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