The live oak tree

Planting a live oak can be challenging, but you can do it. We will give you tips on how to plant a live oak in this article. This way you can care for a live oak with minimal difficulty.

Collect & Sow

If you want to grow a live oak from a seed, you must do so with care. Live oak acorns can be collected after the month of October from the trees. Acorns found on the ground have a much lower germination percentage than ones found on the trees themselves. Remove the acorn caps and float them in a bucket of water. Discard the floating acorns, caps and debris. Also, get rid of acorns with wholes, shell cracks or fungal growth. You want to keep the best acorns to use to seed your live oak.

The larger the acorn is, the more successful it will be in germination and early growth. Sow the acorns in good, well-drained but moist mineral soil. It’s best not to store acorns as this can cause fungal growth and other longevity problems. Live oak acorns have no cold requirement before germination. You should plant them in the fall. Sow acorns eight inches apart and with 1/3 inch of mineral soil and 1 inch of low density, organic mulch on top. Germination should begin within days and finish up within four weeks.

The new root will quickly expand into the soil and grow fat on the nutritive materials provided by the acorns themselves. The small tree is prone to under-watering and over-watering damage so you should be careful to get this part just right. Partial shade on site can help. It allows for germination and prevents the emerging radicals from drying out. You will want to transplant the growing seedling oaks with large lateral root systems to field growing areas. Grow live oaks 2-8 years.

Planting

Successful planting of a live oak is similar to that of other trees. The site you use should have full sun. Live oak produces few shade leaves even when it’s young and needs sunlight to grow. You should not allow interference from other plants or turf, vines and shrubs. Weeding is important to keep other growth away from the live oak. It’s best to maintain a plant-free zone around the live oak base. The live oak needs adequate watering; however, it’s important to note that poor soil drainage can kill many young and newly planted live oaks.

If you are not self-growing your live oak, you can pick one up from a nursery. Young live oaks need pruning many times as they grow. They also need to be hardened off before planting. Hardening means that you hold the root pruned dug trees in the ground for several months. You can dig them up in late summer, early fall or winter so long as you have not pruned the tree multiple times. Non-root pruned trees have a poor survival rate compared with root pruned trees. Do not use fall transplanting with live oaks. Spring transplanting assures good root colonization.

Field-grown live oaks usually outlast, outperform and outgrow container grown trees. That’s because they’ve been pruned and hardened. If you use a container grown tree, you should shave away the outer inch of the container soil with a shovel at planting time. Smaller container grown trees perform better than their larger counterparts due to root constraint problems being magnified as trees get transferred to progressively larger containers. These root constraints can last a long time after planting.

Go Shallow & Wide

Excavate a large planting saucer – make it wide, not deep. Make vertical slices all the way around the saucer into the surrounding soil to provide root growth channels. Cultivate the site ahead of time. You should not plant the trees any deeper than the middle of the lateral root tops. Generally, the primary lateral roots must be visible 1-2 inches above the soil surface at the tree base. Don’t use any intermixed, layered, or surface applied soil amendments in live oak planting saucers. Minimize fertilization, if any is used at all, for the first year.

Start irrigation immediately with the amount determined by site drainage. You need to apply water over the root ball with a little extra over the saucer area and the native soil. Water should always pass down through the planting site. However, it should not accumulate around the roots. Irrigate live oaks a minimum of two times a week for the first growing season, and once a week for the second growing season and during extended drought periods. Control competing weeds for at least the first three years. Maintain a clear soil surface area closely around the base of a newly planted tree.

Planting Summary

Proper planting when root growth can start quickly is essential for a successful live oak to grow. Spring planting is very effective. Field grown, root pruned and hardened young trees make great candidates for planting. Give them plenty of water as well as plenty of soil drainage in a large, shallow and wide-spread planting area is ideal. Do not amend the planting saucer backfill soil. Do not fertilize in the first growing season. Use a thin layer of a light-weight, non-compressible organic mulch over the planting site except for the six inches immediately around the stem base. Key components to good management of live oak throughout its life will be water, space, training, great soil, and wound prevention.

If you want to know how to care for a live oak that’s already mature, we’ll deal with that next week. Stay tuned to our blog.

Planting Oaks

Doug Tallamy, a professor of entomology at the University of Delaware, shares how you can plant an oak tree in your own backyard. By Doug Tallamy

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Oaks have a reputation for being hard to transplant successfully. This can be true if you’re seeking instant gratification and attempt to plant an oak that is too big, or a potted oak that is too old. Oaks develop massive root systems which they grow quickly when young—it’s one of the reasons oaks are so good at protecting our watersheds and topsoil. To transplant an oak that’s already several feet tall you have to root prune it nearly to death. If it survives the transplant, it will grow very little for years afterwards as it tries to develop new roots. It is hard to believe but oaks planted as acorns or young saplings catch up and pass 15-foot transplants in just a few years. Finally, large transplanted oaks are expensive, often thousands of dollars for a tree with a 50 percent chance of dying in the first year.

Several Quercus rubra (red oak) line a driveway. At maturity, red oaks reach 50 to 75 feet tall with an equal spread.
Photo by: shapencolour / Alamy Stock Photo.

Potted oaks have similar problems. Oak roots grow so fast that a potted oak can become root-bound in a single season. A potted oak that is 5 feet tall may be root-bound, with a high probability of choking itself to death once in the ground. Trees that have been root pruned when successively moved to larger containers have a good chance of survival, but will not be as vigorous as a tree planted directly from an acorn.

Oaks also have a reputation for being slow-growing. I have heard landscape professionals tell clients not to plant oaks because they won’t live long enough to enjoy them. But that is hardly the case. I am writing this as I sit under a willow oak that I planted 16 years ago from an acorn. It is now over 30 feet tall, and I can assure you, I am enjoying it!

The good news is that all of these problems—transplant difficulties, root-bound plants, and expense—can be easily avoided if you plant your oaks when they are small. Here’s how:

Choose the location wisely. Although some species remain small even when mature (e.g. dwarf chestnut oak), most oaks will become large trees much faster than you think, so picture the area a mature oak (and its root system) will occupy in 20 years.

Start small. Planting an acorn or small seedling is the best way to go. Collect acorns as soon as they fall from the tree.

Acorns from species in the white oak group germinate right away in the fall, so they need to be planted immediately. They will send a radicle (embryonic root) straight down into the soil and spend the winter that way. Then, in the spring, the young plant will shoot up towards the sun. Acorns from the red oak group wait until spring to germinate, so they can be stored through the winter with a little bit of soil in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator.

In both cases, I recommend starting your acorns in deep pots and protect them from mice, chipmunks, and squirrels until the plant is well above the soil line. Tend them in their pots through the first summer and then plant them into your yard in early September. Be sure to water them until they are well established.

If you purchase an oak, buy the smallest one the nursery offers. But remember, acorns are free!

Protect your oak from deer. I use five-foot-high wire fencing material and form a cage about 5 feet in diameter around the oak. This might seem like overkill at first, but your oak will fill the cage in just a few years. When the tree grows well about the cage, remove the cage and loosely wrap the trunk with plastic or wire fencing material to discourage damage from “buck-rub” (bucks like to rub their antlers against trees with a 2- to 3-inch diameter trunk). This scrapes the bark off and can easily kill the tree. Be sure to remove the fencing before the tree grows into and around it, and remember that young bark can get sunburned too.

Don’t fertilize your oaks. Oaks are adapted to soils low in nitrogen and doses of fertilizer can trigger rapid growth periods that split the bark or stimulate lush leaf growth that is prone to insect infestation.

Use the right soil. If you are worried that your soil is poor, inoculate the planting site with a little soil and litter from under an established oak of the same species. This introduces the mycorrhizae species that aid nutrient exchange in your oak.

Create the right-size planting hole. You can make the hole wide, but don’t make it deep. The most common source of transplant mortality is from planting a tree below the root-line. Many people dig a deep hole and back fill to the appropriate depth. But the loose soil in the bottom of the hole usually settles a few inches, just enough to sink your tree into the danger zone. Dig your hole no deeper than the root ball of your tree. If you like to dig, make your hole wide, but do not make it deep.

Mulch the right way. You can mulch with oak leaves but do not build a volcano of mulch next to the trunk. This may cause trunk rot.

Editor’s note: For more information on planting oaks, see the University of California page on How to Grow California Oaks. (Although the title refers to “California,” the information is universally appropriate.)

This bonus content accompanies “An Evolutionary Pair”—an article about how the relationship between blue jays and oak trees has shaped the natural world and how you can help that relationship continue—in the Autumn 2017 issue of Garden Design magazine.

Southern live oaks (Quercus virginiana) are majestic trees that are emblems of the South. When given enough room to grow, their sweeping limbs plunge toward the ground before shooting upward, creating an impressive array of branches. Crowns of the largest southern live oaks reach diameters of 150 feet—nearly large enough to encompass half of a football field! On average, though, the crown spread is 80 feet and the height is 50 feet. Branches usually stem from a single trunk, which can grow to 5 or 6 feet in diameter. Unlike most oak trees which are deciduous, southern live oaks are nearly evergreen. They replace their leaves over a short period of several weeks in the spring. Sweet, tapered acorns produced by the trees are eaten by birds and mammals, including sapsuckers, mallards, wild turkey, squirrels, black bears, and deer. The threatened Florida scrub jay relies on the scrub form of the southern live oak for nesting. Other birds make use of the moss that frequently hangs from the biotree branches to construct nests.

Typical Lifespan: Southern live oaks are fast growing trees, but their growth rate slows with age. They may reach close to their maximum trunk diameter within 70 years. The oldest live oaks in the country are estimated to be between several hundred to over a thousand years old.

Habitat: Southern live oaks grow well in salty soils and in shade, which makes them great competitors against other less tolerant trees. Southern live oaks are confined to warm parts of the country, though, because of their inability to survive freezing temperatures. These trees grow in the wild, but they’re also popular ornamental plants with many southerners.

Range: As their scientific name Quercus virginiana suggests, southern live oaks are found in Virginia, and from Virginia south to Florida and west to Texas and Oklahoma.

Life History and Reproduction: Flowers of the southern live oak aren’t bright and showy like those of some other trees. They are small, brown, and pollinated by wind in spring. Acorns fall in autumn and serve as a food source for many animals.

Fun Fact: Wood from southern live oaks is incredibly tough and durable. The naval vessel USS Constitution was nicknamed “Old Ironsides” after her live oak hull survived repeated cannon fire during the War of 1812.

Another Fun Fact: Planting a Southern Live Oak with a person’s ashes in a tree pod burial is growing in popularity throughout the Southern and Central part of the U.S.!

Live Oak

The live oak (Quercus virginiana) is the principal evergreen oak in South Carolina. Although it is adapted to all of South Carolina, it favors conditions along the coast, where it grows wild. The full development of the live oak in South Carolina can be expected only within the warm, humid environment of its natural range. It tolerates cold extremes up through the Piedmont (not the mountains), but will grow more slowly and may suffer from ice storm damage.

Live oaks (Quercus virginiana).
Karen Russ, ©HGIC, Clemson Extension

Mature Height/Spread

Live oak is rounded and wide spreading, growing 40 to 80 feet tall and 60 to 100 feet wide. In the forest it stands erect, growing 100 feet tall, but in open landscapes the sprawling horizontal branches arch to the ground and form a broad, rounded canopy.

Growth Rate

This tree grows moderately fast in youth, producing 2 to 2½ feet of growth per year if properly located and maintained. Trees grown outside the coastal region will grow more slowly. The growth rate also slows with age. One of the longest-lived oaks, it may live 200 to 300 years.

Ornamental Features

The live oak is probably best known for its massive horizontal limbs that give old trees their majestic character. The trunk can grow to more than six feet in diameter. The leaves remain intact through the winter, then yellow and drop in spring as new leaves expand. Trees growing further inland, however, become semi-evergreen, losing some leaves in fall and winter. The waxy leaves are resistant to salt spray.

Live oak (Quercus virginiana) leaves and acorns.
Lindsay Caesar, Horticulture Department, Clemson University

The small (1 inch) acorns are dark brown to black when ripe, and are primary food for many wildlife species along the coast. They are produced in clusters of one to five.

Problems

Live oak is susceptible to leaf blister, a fungal gall that disfigures leaves but does no appreciable harm. Several insect galls are also found on live oak. No control is available. Oak wilt is a serious fungal disease that can kill infected trees within a year or two of infection. This disease occurs in only six counties in South Carolina: Chesterfield, Kershaw, Lancaster, Lee, Darlington and Barnwell. For more information on problems of oak, refer to the fact sheet HGIC 2006, Oak Diseases & Insect Pests.

When grown in the South Carolina Piedmont, outside of their natural range, live oaks may be injured or killed by cold temperatures or ice storms. For this region, select cold-tolerant cultivars or seed-propagated live oaks with proven cold hardiness.

Landscape Use

Live oaks are reminiscent of the Old South, especially when planted along avenues or drives leading to old plantations. Although used extensively for street tree plantings, in time the roots will lift sidewalks or streets if planted too close. It will do well as a lawn specimen provided it is given plenty of space.

Mature Live Oaks (Quercus virginiana) are often decorated by nature with resurrection ferns and Spanish moss.
Joey Williamson, ©2015 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Although it responds best to plentiful moisture in well-drained, sandy soils, it tolerates drier, more compacted sites. Once established, it is drought-resistant. It prefers sun but tolerates more shade than other oaks because its leaves function throughout winter.

Pruning is only necessary to develop a strong branch structure early in the life of the tree. It should be trained with a central leader. Eliminate young multiple trunks and branches. Prune in mid-to late summer to avoid oak wilt disease.

Cultivars & Varieties

Highrise® – This was the first patented cultivar of live oak. It was discovered as a seedling growing in Orangeburg, SC. It has a uniform, upright pyramidal growth habit with a mature height and spread of 30 to 40 feet and 12 to 18 feet, respectively.

Cathedral Oak™ – This cultivar has a pyramidal canopy when young that becomes broad to ovoid as it matures. It is expected to have a mature height and spread of 40 to 80 feet and 60 to 120 feet, respectively.

Millennium Oak® – This cultivar has the traditional, picturesque growth of live oak and has a predictable growth rate and habit. Expect a mature height of 50 to 75 feet and a spread of 60 to 100 feet.

Note: Chemical control of diseases and insects on large trees is usually not feasible since adequate coverage of the foliage with a pesticide cannot be achieved.

Live Oak Tree Care: Learn How To Grow A Live Oak Tree

If you want a graceful, spreading shade tree that is an American native, live oak (Quercus virginiana) might be the tree you are looking for. Live oak tree facts give you some idea of how impressive this oak might be in your backyard. The tree grows some 60 feet tall, but the strong, sinuous branches can spread to 120 feet wide. Read on for further information about how to grow a live oak tree and live oak tree care.

Live Oak Tree Facts

If you are thinking of a live oak tree growing in your garden, consider the size, shape and other live oak tree facts before you jump in. With its deep, inviting shade, the live oak looks like it belongs in the Old South. It is, in fact, the state tree of Georgia.

This mighty tree’s crown is symmetrical, rounded and dense. The leaves grow in thickly and hang on the tree until spring, when they yellow and fall.

Its beauty aside, the live oak

is a tough, enduring specimen tree that can live for several hundred years if planted and cared for correctly. However, the tree is vulnerable to the fatal oak wilt disease, spread by insects and infected pruning tools.

Live Oak Tree Growing

Learning how to grow a live oak tree is not difficult. Perhaps, the most important thing is finding a site with sufficient space to accommodate the tree at its mature size. In addition to the height of the tree and spread of the branches, the trunk itself can grow to 6 feet in diameter. The wide surface roots might in time lift sidewalks, so plant it away from the house.

The live oak tree is undemanding. You can start a live oak tree growing in partial shade or sun.

And don’t fret about soil. Although live oaks prefer acidic loam, the trees accept most types of soil, including sand and clay. They grow in alkaline or acidic soil, wet or well-drained. You can even grow live oak by the ocean, as they are tolerant of aerosol salt. Live oaks resist strong winds and are drought tolerant once established.

Caring for Live Oaks

When you get your live oak tree growing, you need to think about live oak care. This includes regular irrigation while the tree is establishing its root system. It also includes pruning.

It is critical for this giant oak to develop a strong branch structure while it is young. Prune out multiple leaders to leave one trunk, and eliminate branches that form sharp angles with the trunk. Caring for live oaks properly means pruning the trees each year for the first three years. Never prune in early spring or the first month of summer to avoid attracting the insects that spread oak wilt disease.

The Dangers of Root Disturbance

Tree root structure. Artwork by RuthAnn Jackson.

Published March 1, 2009 By ARBORILOGICAL SERVICES

All trees are sensitive to root disturbance. Examples include construction, landscaping, sprinkler installation, and grade changes. The effects of these changes on preexisting trees can be quite devastating and can take five to ten years to become fully visible.

To understand how trees are affected by root disturbance it is important to understand the structure of a tree’s root system. Ninety percent of the root system is located in the first 12 to 18 inches of soil. The roots extend radially from the trunk one to two times the height of the tree.

During construction, the root system is cut to install foundations, sidewalks, driveways, utilities, pools, landscape beds, and irrigation systems. The closer to the tree the construction occurs, the more destructive it is.

Tree after roots are cut. Photo by Joseph O’Brien, USDA Forest Service.

THE 2 MAIN TYPES OF TREE ROOTS

1. Structural Roots

These roots anchor the tree and keep it from falling over. The structural roots begin at the base of the tree called the root flare. They grow mostly horizontally in the soil and taper in diameter as they move away from the tree. The cumulative mass of the root system keeps the tree upright, not just the tap root. The tap root can dissipate over time and is replaced with a series of sinker roots (smaller tap roots) through the entire root zone. In conclusion, the closer to the trunk roots are cut, the higher the chances the tree will be unstable and fall over. A good rule of thumb is to stay approximately six to twelve inches from the trunk for every inch in diameter the tree is at DBH (diameter at breast height or four and a half feet above grade.) For example: a 16” Live Oak requires a construction free distance of eight to sixteen feet from the trunk. Your certified arborist can assist you in deciding the critical distance depending on your individual situation.

2. Feeder Roots

These roots are the small fibrous roots that absorb water and minerals. The more of these roots that are destroyed, the more the tree’s ability to feed itself is impacted. Cutting roots is not the only way these roots are killed. Damage also occurs through compaction of the soil from heavy equipment repeatedly driving over the root zone or construction supplies being stored under and around the tree. Compaction of the soil reduces the pore space between soil particles, eliminating the oxygen in the soil which causes root death. Signs of feeder root damage are small pale colored leaves, leaves turning brown on the edges or shedding early, and the tips of the limbs dying over time.

Root damage from construction. Photo by Joseph O’Brien, USDA Forest Service.

In general, it is recommended not to remove more than 20 to 30% of the tree’s live tissue, either above or below ground at a given time. Tree species react differently to construction changes, but all trees take several years to acclimate and recover.

The most common damage following construction is from irrigation installation and over-watering. Sprinkler installation can cause just as much damage as initial construction due to the amount of trenching in the root zone. When laying out sprinkler lines, limit the trenching across the root zone under the trees. Radial trenching can aid in this process.

Example of radial irrigation installation.

After all of the construction is completed and the irrigation is installed, it is critical not to over water the existing trees. Most of our native trees are adapted to dry conditions and are adapted to receiving approximately 30” of rain a year. When an increase in water occurs, the soil can stay saturated, reducing the amount of oxygen. Roots begin to rot in this anaerobic condition, and trees can decline or die. Clay soils stay saturated longer than sandier soils. It is recommended to limit watering to one inch of water a week during the growing season including rainfall. This allows the soil to be moistened and then dry out, mimicking our region’s natural rainfall pattern. Remember slope, drainage, rainfall, and sun exposure will vary the frequency and duration of the sprinkler system schedule. It is also helpful to match the water requirements of what you plant under the trees to the trees themselves. For example: planting Impatiens or Azaleas (requiring frequent waterings) under a Red Oak (preferring dryer soils) will damage the Red Oak over time.

GUIDELINES FOR TREE PROTECTION

Before Construction:

• Meet with your certified arborist
• Select trees that can be saved
• Follow your cities tree and landscape ordinances
• Consider access of construction crews and supply holding areas
• Install protective fencing around trees
• Begin getting trees as healthy as possible (fertilization & other possible treatments)

During Construction:

• Maintain protective fencing
• Maintain access paths and supply holding areas. If these areas exist over trees roots, put a thick layer of mulch (six to twelve inches deep) down to reduce compaction, remove mulch from access path after construction).
• Mulch trees in protected areas if possible (two to four inches deep)
• Water appropriately
• Apply recommended fertilization and treatment programs
• Where roots are cut, make sure the cuts are smooth and straight across (paint root cuts where & when it’s appropriate)

After Construction:

• Keep trees mulched where possible
• Water appropriately
• Continue fertilization and treatment programs
• Set up an inspection program with your certified arborist to monitor progress

Improvement of the soil through fertilization is recommended to encourage new root growth. Fertilizing three to four times a year for the first few years following root damage is common. Root regeneration can take many years, do not expect quick results.

A systemic insecticide can be added to the fertilizer application to reduce insect feeding. Borers commonly attack stressed trees causing significant and irreversible damage. Active damage can be recognized as weeping fluid or sawdust on the trunk, but it is not always visible.

Because trees are stressed during and following construction, pruning should be minimal the first few years. The more leaves and branches in the tree, the more food the tree can produce aiding in recovery. Branches causing clearance problems with houses, driveways, or streets can be pruned.

With responsible planning, implementation, and after care our trees can survive and thrive the inevitable changes our urban lifestyles create.

About the author

Arborilogical Services

Arborilogical Services shares information and news about trees, tree maintenance and tree industry news. Arborilogical is the expert tree care company your trees deserve.

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Wednesday – May 30, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Trees
Title: How close can house be built to live oak from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have a healthy 21″ live oak tree on our lot and are planning to build a home in Circle C subdivision in southwest austin. The home foundation will be within 15′ of the large live oak. Need your help assessing the following: 1. Is there a risk of moving/expanding root system causing foundation cracking in future ? What is a safe distance away from the live oak tree to build a home ? 2. Are tannins and other chemicals given out by live oak trees a problem to growing a lawn or other plants under the tree’s canopy ?

ANSWER:

This is a question we get over and over, so we are going to refer you to some previous Mr. Smarty Plants Questions for some of the other answers.

No. 7884

No. 7413

No. 7427

No. 6917

No. 6844

No. 4701

Okay, we are sure you get our drift, and please don’t shoot the messenger. You will have to make some hard decisions about where on your lot your house can be located, or if the tree is in danger of having to be removed to protect the house. We have given you a lot of information, but we can’t make the decision for you.

In reference to Question No. 3, here is an extract from another former Mr. Smarty Plants question:

“Various studies have demonstrated that oaks can have allelopathic affects on surrounding plants. Allelopathy is the production of plant inhibiting chemicals by one plant to regulate the growth of others in its vicinity. One important group of chemicals produced by oaks is tannins. They are produced in leaves and litter and also directly by root systems in soil. Tannins are inhibitory to many organisms. Salicylic acid and other organic acids are also produced by oaks and are toxic to other plants. Allelopathy is species specific for the oak in question and the species that is inhibited.”

In other words, it depends on which plant and which oak, and we don’t have lists of plants that will grow under specific species of oak.”

And then, of course, there is the shade cast by a healthy live oak, which also affects negatively the growth of plants beneath it.

From the Image Gallery

Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis
Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis
Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

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Monday – October 19, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: About Live Oak trees in Austin, Texas
Answered by: Janice Kvale

Hello, I planted a couple texas live oak two years ago in South Austin. They’re about 5 feet tall. How long will it take for them to mature? Thanks

The short answer to your question is that the Quercus virginiana (live oak) trees mature in about 50 years, more or less. They are actually one of the faster growing trees when in an ideal environment, growing about three feet a year when young. As they get larger, the growth rate tapers off. What follows may be more than you want to know, but I just can’t stop myself. Mr. Smarty Plants likes native Texas trees!

The happiest live oaks are planted in soil, sand, clay, or loam that is acid and kept well watered, especially when young. That said, the live oak is a relatively hardy tree and adapts readily to drought and alkaline soil though it may be harmed by freezing temperatures further north. Thought to be evergreen, Quercus virginiana (live oak) and its cousin, Quercus fusiformis (plateau oak) actually replace about half of their glossy, waxy leaves annually in early spring.

Many like to shape the young oaks through pruning. Oak wilt is endemic in central Texas and can be spread through injudicious pruning as the Nitiludid beetle invades the new cuts. Pruning must be done only in the coldest or hottest months in central Texas when the beetle is less active. Learn more about how to correctly prune at our and more about preventing oak wilt through the Texas Oak Wilt website.

Texans love their live oaks with good reason. A popular shade tree in Central Texas, the live oak can grow to between 30-80 feet in height. It is often wider than it is high with wonderful sturdy branches that spread horizontally before reaching for the sky, perfect for climbing or maybe a tree house. (One needs to consider the space needed for the mature tree before planting!) Austin is well known for the 500-year old Treaty Oak, still hanging on after several assaults. It is located downtown on Baylor between 5th and 6th Streets. An excellent history and a photo of Treaty Oak is on the Wikipedia website. A stunning live oak located behind the Hampton Branch of Austin Public Library in Oak Hill at 5125 Convict Hill Road was named Austin’s Tree of the Year in 2007. An outdoor classroom created by local Rotarians is located under its broad branches.

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