Late fall and winter are the best times to prune central Texas oak trees.
When the tree doesn’t have its leaves, the arborist can easily assess the structure of the tree’s limbs, and identify the best pruning actions to take for overall tree health.
Pruning and Oak Wilt
The Texas A&M Extension Service recommends that you avoid pruning healthy oak trees between February 15th and June 15th. Open wounds during that time attract a beetle that may vector Oak Wilt.
If your oak tree has never been pruned, however, it is very likely that it has crossing, rubbing limbs causing an abrasive wound that can’t heal. Or you may have limbs rubbing on your roof that constantly get re-wounded when rubbing. Leaving an abrasive wound that is constantly re-wounded is worse than making a proper pruning cut to remove the abrasive limb and allow the limb to heal. Most pruning wounds stop sap flow within a few hours.
Local Restrictions on Oak Tree Pruning
The cities of Rollingwood and West Lake Hills, forbid oak tree trimming, pruning and removals from February 1st to June 31st. (Section 24.04.008 of the City of West Lake Hills Code of Ordinances)
Permits are generally only required for oak tree removals, not oak tree trimming:
Required Removal for Diseased Trees City of West Lake Hills Code of Ordinances Section 22.03.304 (b)(7)(7) When removing diseased, dying or dead trees under the following conditions: The property owner must submit a request for the permit to the city inspector specifying the affected species, location and trunk diameter. If the city inspector concurs with the property owner's assessment of the condition of the tree, then the permit shall be issued. If the city inspector does not concur with the property owner's assessment of the condition of the tree, then the property owner shall have the right to submit a signed letter from a certified arborist identifying the specific disease or condition from which the tree suffers and providing a professional justification for the tree's removal. The city administrator shall then consider the arborist's letter and determine if a permit is warranted. If the city administrator does not approve the permit, then the applicant may appeal the decision to the city council. In all cases, the permit for removal must be received prior to removal of the tree except as otherwise provided for in subsection (c) below.