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Why shouldn't you trim oak trees in the summer?

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

Trimming oak trees in the summer can cause oak wilt, a deadly disease that can kill oak trees within weeks.

Oak wilt on oak tree leaves.

It is caused by a fungus that is spread by sap-feeding beetles. These beetles are attracted to fresh wounds on oak trees, so pruning an oak tree during the summer can increase the risk of spreading the disease.

The risk of spreading oak wilt is highest during the summer months, when the beetles are most active.

Here's how it works:

  1. Trimming your oak tree exposes the cambium layer of your tree. The cambium layer is responsible for making new cells during the growing season and makes the trunk, branches and roots grow thicker.

  2. If there are any diseased oak trees nearby, it's likely that sap-feeding beetles are present. If a sap-feeding beetle lands on a healthy oak tree that has been recently pruned, it will feed on the sap from the wound, and in the process, picks up spores of the oak wilt fungus.

  3. The spores germinate and spread through the tree's vascular system, eventually killing it.

  4. The beetle flies to another oak tree and feeds on its sap, depositing the oak wilt spores in the new tree's sapwood.

This can decimate neighboring healthy oak trees in a hurry--that's why you should not trim your oak trees in the summer. But don't let that stop you from getting a free estimate and making plans for the upcoming winter. Contact us today to get on our oak trim list!

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