Question: We have new red oak and live oak trees and wonder how soon we should start removing the lower limbs to help them develop their trunks.
Answer: As with pecans, oaks’ trunks will thicken and grow stronger more quickly if they have limbs close to the ground. That doesn’t mean that you should allow them to grow long and rangy, but you should at least leave them in place until the tree gains some height. For example, when the tree is 10 feet tall, you’ll probably have no limbs below 4 feet, and, by the time it’s 20 feet tall, you probably will have removed the lowest limbs up to the final heights of 5 to 6 feet. If in doubt, however, leave the limb in place. You can never get the tree to regrow it later.