Thinning an Oak Tree

The oak tree reaches its majestic size with a rapid rate of growth. In favorable conditions, the average oak can grow by 2 feet per year. The oak's dense branches block wind, so in storms they often split or break off completely. Thinning protects both the tree and its surroundings from damage.

When to Thin Oak Trees

Thinning of any deciduous tree is best done in winter, when the sap is at the roots. Thinning of oak trees can also be done in midsummer after a growth spurt, once all the new leaves are producing food.

Other Reasons to Thin Oak Trees

Oak tree foliage is also thinned out to prevent obstruction of electrical wires, to allow light penetration into gardens and lawns, and to redirect the tree's growth vertically.

How to Thin Oak Trees

Crown thinning and crown lifting techniques are perfectly safe for the oak when performed by experienced arborists.

  • Crown thinning maintains the natural direction of branch and limb growth, permits sunlight to pass, reduces wind resistance and slows the oak tree's growth rate.  
  • Crown lifting removes the branches nearest the ground to ensure minimum ground clearance for pedestrians and tall vehicles such as double-decker buses and freight trailers.