I have lost many Red oaks up to 36" due to drought and disease. Now I...

Asked September 20, 2013, 12:45 PM EDT

I have lost many Red oaks up to 36" due to drought and disease. Now I have a 43" water oak that has several 9" limbs dying from the end. Should I cut off only the dead end or the entire limb at the trunk? Should it be done now or during the winter? Thank you for your assistance. Don

Rains County Texas trees and shrubs horticulture

1 Response

The drought of 2011 has done tremendous damage on many trees and the damage will continue to be evident for the several more years.
I would suggest waiting till trees are dormant before pruning, assuming that this is not a disease issue but rather a decline issue.
Several things to remember about pruning:
If dead or dying limb is a hazard (i.e. failure of the structure could cause damage to human or property), then limbs should be removed.
Pruning should be done for tree health and aesthetic purposes (i.e. if limb appear to be dead or dying or in decline), prune out the whole limb.

I would also suggest for you to contact your local Texas A&M AgriLife Extension county office to see if you can get some local assistance for tree information. Also, if this tree is a specimen tree (i.e. one of high value) it may be prudent to hire a certified arborist to do an onsite evaluation.