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Old 05-25-2011, 11:42 AM   #1
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Pruning Live Oaks


I have a neighbor who is pruning his live oaks hallf-way up...in some cases more. He is convinced it is better for his lawn and keeps leaves out of his pool. I think he is ruining the oaks. They look unnatural stipped half-way up the trunks. What do you think?

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Old 05-25-2011, 12:24 PM   #2
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Pruning Live Oaks


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I have a neighbor who is pruning his live oaks hallf-way up...in some cases more. He is convinced it is better for his lawn and keeps leaves out of his pool. I think he is ruining the oaks. They look unnatural stipped half-way up the trunks. What do you think?
Yes, yes they do.

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Old 05-25-2011, 12:31 PM   #3
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Pruning Live Oaks


Thanks for the response...I'm new on the site and didn't know what to expect. Now I need to find someone who will tell me how far up you SHOULD trim Live Oaks. I have seven of them in my back yard and love them, but want to keep them healthy. Thanks again.
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Old 05-25-2011, 01:51 PM   #4
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Pruning Live Oaks


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I have a neighbor who is pruning his live oaks hallf-way up...in some cases more. He is convinced it is better for his lawn and keeps leaves out of his pool. I think he is ruining the oaks. They look unnatural stipped half-way up the trunks. What do you think?
There's not just one right way to prune trees.

A good deal of it is personal taste. For instance, I've trimmed some old gnarly pine trees pretty high, in our back yard. A good friend of mine thinks they look like crap, and that's fine. I wanted to clean up the yard, so I pruned high. The two pine trees in this picture used to have branches rubbing on the ground, in a 25 foot radius of both trees. Not any more.

I guess, in the end, they're your neighbor's trees. If he completely jacks them up, it's his problem.


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Old 05-25-2011, 01:51 PM   #5
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Pruning Live Oaks


I'm confused, all my oaks have dropped their lower limbs, all the mature ones at least. On some of my 50 foot oaks the lowest limb might be 25-30 feet up, and that's natural.

For pruning, I've always new told never to prune more then 1/3 of the trees leaves, other than that I guess it's mostly an issue of taste.
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:20 PM   #6
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Very true, his trees are his to do with as he likes. Through a little more research I've discovered what he has done is called "lion tail." It is personal taste, but I think the trees are ruined.

Looked at yours in the photo and like the looks of them. My neighbor's are much more severe.
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:28 PM   #7
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Pruning Live Oaks


MLMIB: If the tree drops the limbs naturally, that's different. but not only has my neignbor trimmed the limbs up half way, he has also trimed on each limb half of it's length. For a live oak, that just does not look natural.

Most of my oaks are Live Oaks that don't loose leaves in the winter. My Burr Oak does.

My rule for limbs is to trim them if they hit your head when you walk under them. About seven feet of clearance is my minimum.
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Old 05-25-2011, 05:05 PM   #8
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Very true, his trees are his to do with as he likes. Through a little more research I've discovered what he has done is called "lion tail." It is personal taste, but I think the trees are ruined.

Looked at yours in the photo and like the looks of them. My neighbor's are much more severe.
Yeah, I'm not a fan of that "lion tail" pruning - regardless of what kind of tree.

Another thing that bothers me is when the power company comes through and just butchers trees, in order to get the away from power lines. I fully understand why they have to do it, but it sure does make for a lot of horrific looking trees!
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:16 PM   #9
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Pruning Live Oaks


His trees and his to do with I guess. I planted or specified to be planted many live oaks because their lower branch structure can look so nice.

He will probably take them down soon if leaves in the pool is the issue. With the pruning the tree will respond as best it can with more leaves falling from above.

Who would plant live oaks next to a pool anyhow? They are amazingly resistant to dry spells, never get that tall I guess, but have nasty root systems that may seek revenge as they climb through his pool walls some night.
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:16 AM   #10
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Yeah, oaks are great. Mine are about 30-40 feet high now. Planted them 14 yrs ago. Can't imagine stripping them with the 'lion tail' thing. They give enormous privacy from the two story next door.

Would add a photo...but I don't know how.
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:44 AM   #11
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Yeah, oaks are great. Mine are about 30-40 feet high now. Planted them 14 yrs ago. Can't imagine stripping them with the 'lion tail' thing. They give enormous privacy from the two story next door.

Would add a photo...but I don't know how.
I think you have to have 20+ posts before you can add photos.

And yeah, I agree about mature trees - especially hardwoods. I'd love to have a 3-acre lot, carved out of the middle of a forest. I could be very happy surrounded by all kinds of beautiful trees.
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Old 05-26-2011, 12:11 PM   #12
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And yeah, I agree about mature trees - especially hardwoods. I'd love to have a 3-acre lot, carved out of the middle of a forest. I could be very happy surrounded by all kinds of beautiful trees.
Always been a dream of mine too but with an ocean a few minutes away as well to swim in so I would not need a pool. Closest I came was as a practicing landscape designer who talked clients, when possible, into creating calculated urban forests. Clients were taught to prune and care for trees and groundcovers (or hire pros) and not grass lawns whenever I could get away with it. It's fun to go back and see that work from decades ago and revel in how happy clients that still own properties are with the approach now that most trees have reached maturity.

So far none has hacked a live oak with a chain saw. I did plant expensive flowering cherries next to a black bottom pool but the owners are more than willing to put up with the snow storm of blossoms and some fall leaves that make it into the pool for the effect.

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