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Time To Prune Your Oak Trees!

February 10, 2015 by John Griffiths, Master Arborist

In 1961, the Iowa General Assembly designated the “oak” as Iowa’s official state tree, according to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. It was chosen due to its abundance in the state and because it provides shelter, food and nesting cover for many animals and birds.

To keep your oaks – or any of your trees – in the best health possible, pruning is essential. Pruning discourages diseases, pest infestations and storm damage, and it also enhances the appearance of your trees and promotes proper growing.

Because oak trees are susceptible to oak wilt disease, now is the safest and most ideal time to prune them. Oak wilt disease, a fungal disease that causes leaf discoloration, wilt, defoliation and death, is caused by the common picnic beetle, an insect vector that transports the oak wilt fungi from tree to tree. When a wound is created on a tree during pruning, the wound secretes sap. This sap attracts bugs, like the common picnic beetle. When the beetle comes to feed on the tree, it spreads oak wilt spores that can kill oak trees very quickly. To avoid oak wilt disease, oak trees should be pruned in late winter, before spring starts, because this leaves fresh wounds exposed for only a short time before new growth begins the wound sealing process. And during the winter, there is little chance of these beetles feeding on the sap, as they are probably under the frost line, or have been killed due to the cold. To avoid oak wilt disease, oak trees should not be pruned from April to October.

Currently, Wright Outdoor Solutions has openings for tree pruning from late February into early March. A great way to find out whether your tree is in need of pruning is to schedule a free tree consultation. One of our International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborists will come out to inspect your trees, diagnose any problems and make recommendations. Give us a call today at 515.987.0800!

For more information on oak wilt disease, click here. To learn about pruning and maintenance, click here.

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