Red oak tree with some dead branches

reddartMay 25, 2008

A red oak was planted in my front yard a couple of years ago. From the pic in the link below, you can see much of the top branches do not have leaves, while the trunk has a lot of leaf growth, I assume the tree did this to compensate for the dead growth.

What should I do to this tree so it doesn't end up looking funny? Trim off the dead branches and remove the leaves on the trunk?

Here is a link that might be useful:

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pam_chesbay(VA 8a/7b)

reddart: Your oak is young. Some of my young oaks, maples and gum trees look similar. On this forum, someone asked if they should prune young trees to make them look better. The consensus seemed to be that you can prune dead branches at any time. You can prune crossing branches. Don't prune the leaves on the trunk yet - leaves provide your tree with food which it needs to grow stronger (I'm making this simpler than the expert's advice).

Here is a link to a thread about pruning transplanted trees that will teach you more than I can.

Here is a link that might be useful: Should You Prune Branches & Leaves on Transplanted Trees?

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 7:39PM
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kman04(z6 KS)

I agree, in case you were overwhelmed by the other thread, only prune out the dead wood. The young tree needs all the leaves it can get right now to produce enough energy to grow a good root system and then it will produce some strong shoots of new growth up top. Actually, some of those leaves along the upper part of the trunk will probably shoot up and form a new leader and some lower down will probably shoot out and form new branches. So, removing them would not just hurt the tree, but you'd be removing the future branches and new leader.

Also, your assumption was correct, the new growth along the trunk and lower down is in response to transplant shock from dead and cut roots, which lead to dead top growth.

I bet in a couple of years you won't be able to tell there ever was a problem with the tree without close scrutiny.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 11:39PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I'd give it a couple years since the growth it does have appears rather healthy and robust. I think it's latent transplant shock. I'd ONLY remove dead growth this year, doing a cut about a quarter to half-inch above the first live growth, and let it go a couple seasons before attempting "shaping" but being an oak, if it does pull through, it will look "normal" in a few years.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 11:21AM
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