This iconic Southern goliath of a tree has been hailed as one of the most impressive specimens of North America, respected for its majestic width, longevity, and adaptability.
What distinguishes the lovely Live Oak?
Incredible berth and magnificent height.
Spectacular resilience and adaptability.
Exceptionally solid wood.
Tolerance to soil compaction and salt spray.
Fast growth rate and great longevity.
Great attractor of a variety of wildlife.
Keeping up appearances…
The Live Oak isn’t a specimen for cramped spaces; this majestic tree is known to grow up to 40-80 ft. on average, with a far greater spread of 60-100 ft. Its unique berth and cloak of Spanish moss render it as an inimitable icon of the Deep South, almost rendering each tree as a geographic landmark that is reminiscent of antebellum plantations.
The Live Oak’s wonderfully dense canopy allows it to serve as an exemplary shade tree, its glossy dark green leaves characterized by their soft fuzzy texture and their paler undersides. The tree’s green acorns darken into rich russet brown when mature, evolving singly or in clusters, and attracting a variety of wildlife including quail, jays, squirrels, raccoons, and white-tailed deer.
A friendly recommendation.
Given its outstanding hardiness, fast growth rate, and the potential to live for centuries, the Live Oak is prized as a street and shade tree; it survives in hardiness zones 7-10. With commendable adaptability, the Live Oak is known to grow in acidic, alkaline, clay, loamy, moist, well-drained, and sandy soils, though it does prefer normal moisture (ideally rich, coastal soils and along riverbanks) and full sun to partial shade. It exhibits decent flood and drought tolerance, tolerates compacted soil and salt spray, and has remarkable wind resistance.
Awesome tree trivia!
- The Live Oak’s wood is extremely strong, and was often used for wooden vessels; the Navy actually maintained its own live oak forests for this exact purpose.
- Some of the Live Oak’s lumber was actually used in the construction of the naval frigate USS Constitution; when British cannon balls rebounded off the hull during a naval battle, the ship was baptized “Old Ironsides.”
- Native Americans also prized this specimen for the oil—akin to modern olive oil—that could be extracted from its sweet acorns.
- Georgia has proudly claimed the Live Oak as its state tree.
- The “Live” portion of its name refers to the tree’s evergreen nature; with the exception of specimen found in more northern regions, the Live Oak is known to keep its green foliage throughout the winter.
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