With the extreme temperatures that we have had recently, most of the stubborn oaks in the area have finally started turning loose of their leaves.
Even though it is damp outside this is the perfect opportunity to evaluate the health of the trees without the leaves. Anytime you have a broken or dying limb in the canopy, it is at risk to fail and could come crashing down on top of the house, vehicle, or something else valuable.
These limbs should always be removed at any point in the year. However, this time of year the trees have entered a dormant or 'sleeping' state and most of the sugars that provide the tree with energy have moved down the stem and await warmer days to resurface.
Removing low lying limbs and thinning out the crown of the tree can be done during this period that lasts until bud break around early spring. Be safety cautious when using tools to remove limbs. Always remove any branch larger than a couple inches in diameter by using three cut or drop cut method.
This begins with a cut on the underside of the limb, about 1 foot from the trunk or branch. Cut about one-third to one-half way through the limb.
Make a second cut on the upper side of the limb, about 2 to 6 inches farther out on the limb than the first cut. Continue sawing until the branch splits off. The third cut should remove the short stub that was left but allow enough room for the wound to heal.
Remember to hire professional help for large limbs or limbs out of reach from the ground.
If you have any questions contact a certified arborist or the Extension office.