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To prune or not, a mature Quercus Alba

Posted by rovenorth Western WA (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 26, 14 at 13:16

Greetings ...

I am new to Bellingham, WA and have had a difficult time finding a certified arborist, so I thought I'd post this to see if anyone has advice.

There's a gigantic (how's that for specificity?) and apparently entirely healthy white oak on my lot. It's closer to the house than I'd like, and has a slight lean toward the house too.

The tree has three massive lower limbs (beginning roughly ten feet up the trunk) shading a lawn and a vegetable garden a bit too much, so I'd like to have them removed, but that's where my two concerns arise.

First concern: I fear that removing the lower limbs will make the tree "top heavy." That wouldn't be good. If I remove the three lowest limbs, the next major laterals would be about five feet farther up the trunk.

Second concern: I've been looking around on the Internet, and there seems to be a general consensus that it's best to leave very old and otherwise healthy oaks alone. In other words, the pruning I'm considering might just be asking for trouble (disease and pests).

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Many thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: To prune or not, a mature Quercus Alba

Find a library that has a copy of Alex Shigo's book "A New Tree Biology" and read it.

See what happens to the inside of the tree.


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RE: To prune or not, a mature Quercus Alba

based on the pix provided.. i have no idea how to answer this question ...

nor do i understand how you couldnt find an arborist .... see link ... the result of a .41 sec search .. as per google ...

after his inspection.. should you be able to post some pix.. we could discuss his recommendations .... if you wish ...

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: To prune or not, a mature Quercus Alba

Thanks tenacre for the reference. Being new to the subject, I was unaware of Shigo, and over a cup of coffee this morning I definitely enjoyed reading up about him and his work. That stated, it's unlikely I'll read a 600+ page book before making a decision about this particular tree. Again, though, thanks ... I enjoyed reading about Shigo.

Good golly, Ken, woke up on the wrong side of the wolverine, did we? Things really that depressing in MI (a place I've always loved)? Thanks for the .41 second search "as per" Google. Yes, I know that company. In fact, they're 2.5 blocks from my as per house. But no, I don't want to as per hire them. Maybe you could realllllly put your back into it and give me an as per .42 second search, if you're not too as per whatever.


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RE: To prune or not, a mature Quercus Alba

Rovenirth, Ken is saying he needs pictures to give recomendations.

First you need to determine if sudden oak death or whatever folks seal oak wounds to prevent is in your area.

Second figure out proper pruning cuts. The two (or more if they are huge) cut method and branch collars.

Third, trees do not like big changes and it is difficult to put a branch back on after removal so go slowly.

Good luck.


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RE: To prune or not, a mature Quercus Alba

White oaks are tough trees. In my neighborhood heavy pruning of mature white oaks has not hurt their health.
Washington State U has a master gardener program. Here is a link (specifically for your county) where you can try a call to ask for someone who might give you expert advice, or someone who might at least steer you to a trustworthy arborist:
http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ch/mg.html
What motivated someone to call the county Whatcom, by the way? Never mind. Good luck.


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RE: To prune or not, a mature Quercus Alba

If you can use another area of your yard for a garden, and let the white oak be, that would be ideal. It's your yard and tree, the oak may be fine after pruning, but if it can be left alone, I would leave it be. If you will only be planting a few things, you can get away with a small garden plot. Well, that's your choice.


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RE: To prune or not, a mature Quercus Alba

> Alangrr Mon, Jul 28, 14 at 23:06
> ...has not hurt their health

How do you know? How many years ago was the heavy pruning done?

.


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