Live Oak Introduction:
Live Oak Specifics:
Pronunciation: KWERK-us ver-jin-ee-AY-nuh
Common name(s): Southern Live Oak
USDA hardiness zones:: 7B through 10B
Live Oak Origin: native to North America
Live Oak Uses: wide tree lawns; large parking lot islands; specimen tree
Live Oak Availability: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range.
Live Oak Description:
Live Oak Spread: 60 to 120 feet
Live Oak Crown Uniformity: symmetrical canopy with a regular (or smooth) outline, and individuals have more or less identical crown forms.
Live Oak Crown Shape: round; spreading.
Live Oak Crown Density: dense
Live Oak Growth Rate: medium
Live Oak Trunk and Branches:
Pruning requirement: requires pruning to develop strong structure
Current year twig color: gray
Current year twig thickness: thin
Wood specific gravity: 0.88
Live Oak Foliage:
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Live Oak Pests:
Galls cause homeowners much concern. There are many types and galls can be on the leaves or twigs of live oak. Most galls are harmless so chemical controls are not suggested.
Soil tolerances: clay; loam; sand; acidic; occasionally wet; alkaline; well-drained
Drought tolerance: high
Aerosol salt tolerance: high
Soil salt tolerance: moderate
Be sure that adequate soil space is given to Live Oak. Although roots will grow under curbs and sidewalks when planted in confined soil spaces allowing the tree to thrive in urban sites, in time, they lift sidewalks, curbs and driveways. This may be a small price to pay for the bountiful shade cast by a row of healthy trees.
One of the biggest problems with Live Oak in our cities is the lack of pruning. Therefore, it is not a plant-and-forget tree. Because this tree can live for such a long time, it is very important to develop proper trunk and branch structure early in the life of the tree. Following planting in the nursery, prune the tree each year for the first three years, then every five years to age 30. This program will help ensure that the tree develops into a strong, long-lived fixture in the community, and will help develop the 14 to 15 foot tall vehicle clearance needed for planting along city streets.
Best growth is made in moist, acid soil, sand, loam or clay, but the tree is amazingly adapted to drought. It also tolerates alkaline soil well. Young trees grow three feet each year and the trunk adds about one-inch in diameter under nursery conditions. Construction-impacted trees take a long time to die, giving Live Oak a reputation for being a tough tree. It is usually the last tree to die around a newly constructed building.