Why Live Oak Trees?
Few trees are as colossal and awe-inspiring as the Live Oak Tree. It’s an easy, large grower, ultimately reaching up to 80 feet tall and 100 feet wide. Thriving in rich, coastal soils and along banks of streams and rivers, moss drapes over its long branches and dances with each breeze, giving it one of the most distinctive appearances of any tree.
Plus, you can expect long-lived elegance. The Live Oak’s strong, heavy wood stands up to high winds and coastal storms with ease. And it’s aptly named, enlivened with evergreen foliage that shines year-round, through hot summers and harsh winters (even keeping A/C costs down in the summer).
Planting & Care
1. Planting: Do not plant too close to structures, streets, or sidewalks, and ensure you select an area with well-drained soil and enough sunlight per day.
Dig your hole and make it twice as wide as the diameter and as deep as the depth of the root ball. Keep the tree straight as you back fill the soil, gently tamping down the soil with your shovel until it’s firm. Water the planting area thoroughly, allowing the water to really soak into the ground. Spread a 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch around the tree.
2. Watering: Over-watering is a common tree care mistake. A damp soil that dries for a short period will allow adequate oxygen to permeate the soil. As a rule of thumb, your soil should be kept moist. Usually 30 seconds with a steady stream of water from a garden hose once a week in the cooler seasons is sufficient. In warmer climates, you may need to water 2 to 3 times weekly. Cease watering during the winter.
3. Fertilizing: Oak Trees experience a quick spurt of growth in the spring, followed by slower spurts of growth throughout the summer and fall seasons. Apply your fertilizer in the early spring before this initial spring growth spurt starts. The best fertilizers for oaks are those with a nutrient ratio of 12-6-6 or 12-4-8. While a healthy Live Oak doesn’t technically require fertilization, occasional feeding can help boost tree growth and acorn production.
4. Pruning: Pruning your tree during the winter months will allow it to care for its wounds in spring, when it will recover more quickly. At first, limit trimming only to dead or broken branches on newly planted trees. Two to three years after planting, you can begin developmental trimming to shape the tree.