Live oaks provide food and habitat for numerous wildlife species. Native Americans used live oaks for medicinal purposes, dyes, and oils. Live oak wood is so dense it was used extensively as framework for wooden ships. Native to Coastal Plain of the Southeastern US from VA south to FL and west to central TX.
Culture for Live Oak
Native to sandy, well-drained soils, but performs well in finer textured soils. Very resistant to salt spray and soil salinity. Adequate soil space must be provided as roots can interfere with sidewalks and other infrastructure.
Concerns about Live Oak
Canopy structure is a concern and young trees need structural pruning to develop a central leader or select for branches with wide angles of attachment. Generally pest resistant except for oak wilt in Texas, where this disease can be devastating. Borers are attracted to and attack stressed or damaged trees from construction or poor growing conditions.
Management Practices for Live Oak
Structural pruning when young is necessary to obtain proper canopy and branch development. Preventative applications for borers may be necessary in stressed trees or new plantings. Maintaining adequate soil moisture on sandy soils will improve growth rates and reduce stress. Mulching to conserve soil moisture and increase soil organic matter should be recommended.