How to care for live oak trees

5 Tips to Care for a Live Oak Tree

5 Tips to Care for a Live Oak Tree

June 01, 2020

There are 600 different types of oak trees around the world, and North America has the widest variety of species with 90.

You may have a live oak tree in yours or a loved one’s yard and want to learn how to take care of it. When you shower a live oak tree in TLC, it can thrive for generations to come as the perfect family heirloom.

Don’t know how to tend to live oak trees? If so, you’ve got come to the right place. Here are our five top tips.


1. Fertilizing



Fertilizer gives your live oak tree the nutrients to increase its capacity to capture sunlight so it can produce food and energy.

Young oaks, unhealthy oaks, and mature live oak trees that have been re-planted must be fertilized. Add fertilizer to the base of the tree as it helps the oak get comfortable with new surroundings quickly.

Don’t pile mulch against the oak tree trunk, instead create a slope running outwards from the base of the tree so it can receive air and nourishment. You should also leave fallen leaves to saturate the soil when they decompose.

Fertilize in the spring, late summer, or autumn, as rainfall helps nutrients seep into the soil so it reaches every part of the root system.

Apply a fertilizer rich in nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium or one that is nitrogen-based so the surrounding lawn can also reap the benefits.

Also, if you’re planting anything around your oak tree, only choose drought-tolerant plants that don’t need summer watering. Space them at least six feet from your oak tree’s base so it has breathing room.

If the live oak tree has been damaged by construction work or a drought, give it a dose of root stimulator instead as fertilizer will damage your tree.


2. Soil Cover



Covering the soil properly is the key to an oak’s survival. Keep a few inches of soil cover over the tree’s roots to prevent erosion or root damage.

The soil cover should extend six feet away from the tree trunk otherwise the roots will wrap around the trunk and smother it.

You should also look out for signs of a declining growth rate or crown die-back as these are symptoms of root problems. If you notice this, contact us and we will take care of it.

Further, avoid parking vehicles under a live oak tree otherwise it compacts the soil, again smothering the roots.


3. Watering


Young and mature oak trees need little watering, only once a month. You don’t need to water a live oak tree in the cooler months, let winter rain do that for you.

If it’s a dry winter, water your live oak tree once or twice but the water should be gradually released to prevent any waterlogging.


4. Pruning


It’s important to find a tree cutting service that has the expertise and equipment to prune your live oak tree.

Mature oaks don’t need extensive pruning, only the occasional dead branch will need to be removed for safety reasons and to keep deadwood out. Our company knows the importance of pruning young oaks so their branches can grow to be strong.

We will also inspect the live oak tree’s canopy to remove heavy limbs so the tree doesn’t suffer from limb failure. Doing this ensures the tree can sustain itself and maintain healthy foliage.

If the tree has a thick layer of moss, we will thin it so air can circulate more freely. It’s important to note that pruning is best in the drier seasonal months, often around June or July.

You should also be wary about diseases like sudden oak death which is common on the West Coast. This disease is caused by a fungal pathogen that produces red-brown or black trunk cankers that kill your oak tree.

Oak wilt is also common in the Midwest. If a young oak tree is affected, its leaves will turn a pale brown or green and wilt. This starts at the leaf’s perimeter and advances inwards.

Be wary of galls, irregular growths or swelling that appear on oak trees. There are at least 750 different types and they can grow anywhere on the oak tree.

Galls develop when the oak’s tissue reacts to feeding or egg-laying by certain mites or insects. Twig galls may kill individual limbs or, in worse-case scenarios, the entire tree.

If you notice any galls, oak wilt or sudden oak death, call Integrity Tree Care and we will restore your oak tree back to health.


5. Never Tamper With a Live Oak Tree


Avoid driving nails into the oak tree’s trunk. If you want to hang a swing, insert the rope into a rubber tube to create a cushioned layer so it doesn’t rub or strangle the tree’s branches as it grows.

You must also never whitewash a tree, as it’s one of the rules of the Live Oak Society.


That’s How to Look After a Live Oak Tree


Live oak trees look magnificent when they have been looked after properly. You should always fertilize young or re-planted live oak trees, water once a month, and hire an arborist company to prune them once a year.

To ensure your live oak tree maintains healthy foliage, contact Integrity Tree Care so we can inspect and ensure your oak tree continues to flourish.

If your oak tree needs anything from fertilizing to pruning, we’d love to help. Contact us here for further details.

How to Properly Care for a Southern Live Oak Tree

Date March 18, 2022

Author David Gaona

Southern live oaks are a beautiful and iconic part of the Texas landscape. These trees can live for centuries, but they can require some particular care to stay healthy and look good through our brief but brutal winters and long, dry summers. Here are TreeNewal’s favorite essential tips on how to care for your Southern live oak tree!

About Southern Live Oak Trees

The southern live oak tree, or Quercus virginiana, is a species of an evergreen oak tree. They are most often found in, you guessed it, the south – natively from Virginia all the way down into Port Lavaca, TX! Southern live oaks are notably resistant to fire due to their monumental height and are built to withstand most floods and hurricanes considering the dimensions of their mighty trunks.

These majestic trees are also widely known for their extremely long life and relatively quick growth rate. While it takes them up to 70 years to reach their full trunk width, that’s a pretty short length of time compared to the centuries they typically live!

Did you know: The oldest known southern live oak tree is found in Louisiana and is estimated to be around 1200 years old.

How to Take Care of a Southern Live Oak Tree


Make sure to plant your oak in an area that gets plenty of sunlight – they need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day. The species can handle a bit of shade but certainly does best with full exposure.


The ideal time for southern live oak tree pruning in North Texas is once your trees have gone dormant for the late fall and early winter seasons – November through January specifically. This timeframe will help avoid the risks associated with any accidental flesh wounds to the tree that can attract pests and diseases. It’s just always easier to see where you’re cutting when there aren’t leaves blocking your view!

Be especially sure to avoid doing any oak tree trimming or pruning between the months of February and June, as this is peak Oak Wilt season. The good news is an oak tree only needs to be pruned on average every 3 – 5 years once they’ve matured. Here are some things to look out for that let you know the time for pruning has come.

Signs Your Oak Tree Needs Pruning

  • Cracked bark
  • Closely overlapping branches
  • Excessive growth
  • Storm damage
  • Drooping or broken branches
  • Unbalanced canopy
  • Dead limbs

To learn more about good pruning techniques and practices, check out our Common Tree Pruning Mistakes You Might Be Making post. Remember that you can also always give TreeNewal a call to take care of all your pruning needs for you!

Note: Thanks to their massive canopy span, southern live oaks must be planted far away from risky structures like powerlines. Their crowns often stretch anywhere from 75 up to 135 feet across with the tree itself reaching a full height of 40 to 80 feet tall!


Oaks tend to prefer acidic soil. In their natural environments, southern live oaks thrive with a proper balance of potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorous. So, if your soil is not naturally acidic, consider adding some peat moss or pine bark mulch to the area around the tree’s roots.

But that’s simply their preference. They’ll survive just fine in alkaline soil as well as even clay and sand if that’s what is available.

Pests & Disease

Insects and illness can be big, destructive problems for southern live oaks. Sap-sucking aphids, scales, and root borers are the most common pest causes of structural weakening and branch dieback, while mildew, root rot, and canker diseases lead to very similar results as well.

Learn all about root rot and how to control pests this summer.

If you suspect something may already be amiss, our ISA-Certified Arborist can take a look at your trees and plan out how best to identify and manage the issue. Call us today to get treatment started!


And finally, remember to water your oak regularly – especially during times of drought. As just little saplings, southern live oaks grow surprisingly quickly when their roots are given the right amount of moisture. However, that changes drastically to only needing minimal watering after a few years of establishing their roots.

Remember: Always plant your oak trees at a slight elevation from the surrounding soil to encourage healthy water drainage.

Proper care for a southern live oak tree is essential to keeping it healthy and looking great. Our team at TreeNewal is here to help you with all of your southern live oak needs. Contact us today for more information on how we can help you take care of your trees!

If you need advice or assistance with caring for your Southern live oak trees, get in touch with the ISA-certified arborists at TreeNewal and enjoy tailored tree care advice.

To learn more about How to Properly Care for a Southern Live Oak Tree, call our Argyle and Southlake-based teams

at tel:(817) 592-6846 or send us a message.

We’re a little different than the average tree services company.

Learn more about TreeNewal’s ISA Certified Arborists!

Our Dallas/Fort Worth-based tree doctors can explain how sustainable tree care services add more value to your bottom line.

Healthy trees, healthy lives.

90,000 Virginsky oak (Southern Live Oak) - Planting and Care

Page Content

  • 1 How to grow an oak virginsky
  • 2 oak Virginsky care
  • 9000 3 Light
  • 4 Soil
  • 9000 9000 6 temperature and humidity
  • 7 Fertilizers
  • 8 Oak virginia pruning

Virginia oak (Quercus virginiana), often covered with Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) and native to the Gulf of Mexico from Texas to Virginia. Often used to create shade or beautiful avenues, the tree is known for the sheer size of its spreading lateral branches, which are three times as wide as a tall oak.

The tree got its name because it is an evergreen oak that is often confusing. After all, some evergreen oaks are called "live oaks." Because of this, it is most commonly referred to as southern live oak, or better yet, its botanical name.

How to grow virgin oak

If you are thinking about growing this beautiful giant, you must understand that it is very dependent on certain weather and climate conditions, you will need a lot of space for your tree to grow, both in height and width, and the pruning needed to root it may turn out to be a chore.

Care virgin oak

Virginia Oak is not at all picky about its conditions, but it can cause some damage to infrastructure due to its sheer size if you don't plan how big your tree will grow. If you visit their natural habitat, you may notice the tendency of these monsters to raise sidewalks when placed next to streets. If you want to avoid this, you need to plan ahead.

The biggest problem you will face when caring for a young virgin oak is setting the pruning mode. This ensures that your tree has the proper structure to allow clearance under its branches and strength to withstand the next four to nine centuries.


Unlike most oaks, virgin oak does tolerate shade. It will grow best in full sun, but will grow well in partial shade as well. Often the only objects that can cast a shadow on this are buildings or other live oaks, so this is a good example where advanced planning can go a long way in creating the best conditions for your tree.


Virginia Oak is highly adaptable and does well in soils with high alkalinity and moisture. It has its own preference for well-draining, acidic soil, but the tree is so accommodating that no negative problems will be noticed if these preferences are not met.


After planting, regular weekly watering will be required to help your oak establish itself. After the first two seasons, additional watering will not be a problem. A normal amount of 35 liters per 3 centimeters of the barrel, measured with a caliper at knee height, is a good indicator. After the first two years, you can cut back on your watering schedule. Virginia oak is extremely drought tolerant once planted, so you don't have to worry about your tree not getting enough water.

Temperature and humidity

Virginia oak is a southern climate tree that thrives on heat and humidity and will die immediately in places where the mild climate of its native range is not present. It easily adapts to many conditions; temperature is not one of them.


Your oak tree does not need additional fertilization. If you think a tree is suffering from a nutrient deficiency, first test the soil and make sure if you find a nutrient deficiency you will know the exact NPK composition to balance the situation - correct the situation by using a slow release fertilizer that contains the necessary you nutrients. An all-purpose fertilizer will usually do.

Virginia Oak Pruned

Without a doubt, the most important thing you need to do is prune virgin oak from the first year after planting while the oak is dormant (July to December). Your main goal is to create one dominant master branch and remove any further branches that grow about 2/3 up the tree. Essentially, you are lifting the canopy.

This ensures that large side branches do not cross and create a cluster or nest that blocks the passage under the tree. Mark this task on your calendar for the first five years of the tree's life and plan to do it as needed in the future. Eventually, the weight of the side branches can cause them to come into contact with the ground, but you can avoid this with regular pruning.

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Conditions for the successful cultivation of oak

Oak has a huge variety (up to 600) species. They are common in the temperate and tropical zones of the northern hemisphere, they even go to the north of South America. Many species are forest-forming species, others occur as an admixture. According to their requirements for growing conditions, they are very different from each other.

Among them there are both moisture-loving and drought-resistant, light-loving and shade-tolerant, enduring rather low temperatures and very thermophilic species. Oaks can be evergreen and deciduous, and their leaves are entire, serrated, more or less lobed.

Occasionally oak grows in a bushy manner, some species are low trees, most species are mighty giants with a spherical crown, powerful trunks and a root system strongly developed both in depth and in width. Staminate or pistillate flowers are in different inflorescences. The fruit is an acorn surrounded by a cupule covered with scales on the outside. Oaks are propagated by acorns sown in autumn, as they quickly lose their germination capacity. For spring sowing, they must be stored at a temperature of 2-4 C. Oak can also be propagated by cuttings, but they have a low percentage of rooting. In the first year of life, the resulting taproot makes it difficult to transplant, therefore, to obtain a developed fibrous root system, it should be cut. At first, the oak grows slowly in height, after the 5th year the growth rate of the main shoot increases sharply.

This is one of the most durable breeds. Its bark, wood, acorns are used. The latter contain a large amount of starch, they are used to prepare a coffee substitute, alcohol or feed pigs. In some species of oak, acorns are sweet, edible fresh and roasted. Cork oak bark is used to make cork. The wood, bark, galls formed on the leaves, as well as the plush contain a lot of tannins (tannins) used for tanning the skin. Oak is indispensable in landscaping. It has long been the main tree along with linden in the creation of landscape parks; it is often found in manor parks in the temperate zone. It is planted in glades with single trees, creates groups, arrays, alleys, is used in forest belts in the forest, forest-steppe and steppe zones.

Oak in garden landscaping

When we think of oak, we immediately imagine a thousand-year-old fabulous giant. It must be admitted that young oaks also have a solid growth ... If they are allowed. So, before settling an oak tree, let's think about what we want to see in 10-20 years. The slender oak can be a solitary lawn, but it is also possible to use its bushy form as a framing or hedge. Keep in mind that oak blooms late, so in spring you will see its openwork crown against the background of young foliage of other plants.

Planting an oak tree

The easiest way to grow an oak tree is from a mature acorn. Acorn, like many large seeds, germinates very easily. This is the most reliable way, and if you entrust this business to a child, then it is fascinating and useful. Just imagine how the child will run every day to check if the acorn has sprouted. And fantasize how he will tell his children and grandchildren that he once planted that huge oak tree himself . ..

You can transplant a small oak tree from the forest or from the country street where he himself grew up. But keep in mind that even a very young oak tree has a very long root, it is difficult to dig it out entirely, especially from dense forest soil intertwined with many roots, or from a compacted roadside. The oak tree will not tolerate the slightest damage to the tap root.

Decorative molds are now also on sale. Among them there are species resistant to the main scourge - oak powdery mildew. There are also forms with an unusual color of foliage. By the way, do not get carried away with unusually colored species. Individual plants with red, golden or striped leaves look interesting against a green background. The garden, full of colorful foliage even in summer, looks at least unnatural. When laying out parks and estates, the old masters played subtly with various shades of green.


Weeding and watering in the first years of life. Control and prevention of powdery mildew, especially in very young trees. This fungus does not affect the entire tree, but only affects the foliage. But the loss of foliage is dangerous for fragile plants.

Cutting and shaping

This is important. Without pruning, oak cannot be accommodated in the country house. For many trees and shrubs, I recommend starting molding as early as possible. Not so with oak. Strong pruning of a young oak turns it into an oak bush. If a hedge is not included in your plans - cut later, let the stem form. After that, you can try yourself in topiary art - to form a ball on a leg with a haircut, for example.

What is subtle? Shearing only growth throughout the crown promotes branching and thickening. This is a technique of topiary art. To maintain the natural shape of the crown, the branches must be cut "from the trunk." We remove part of the growth and entire branches. In this case, the crown turns out to be openwork and even lets in a certain amount of sunlight.

Red oak.

Red oak is one of the most popular oak species in Russia. This is not surprising: red oak is the most frost-resistant among its counterparts. Its frost resistance is 40 degrees, and if the root system is solid and the taproot is not cut, then the degree of its frost resistance increases. Despite the fact that oaks do not grow in the wild on the territory of the Tomsk region, there are concrete examples of the fact that oak grows successfully in our country!

Red oak - a slender tree up to 25 m tall, with a dense tent-like crown. The trunk is covered with thin, smooth, gray bark, cracking in old trees. Young shoots are reddish-felt, annual shoots are red-brown, smooth. The leaves are deeply notched, thin, shiny, up to 15-20 cm, with 4-5 pointed lobes on each side of the leaf, reddish when blooming, dark green in summer, lighter below, in autumn, before falling off, scarlet-red in young trees, the old ones are brownish-brown.

Red oak blossoms at the same time as the leaves open. Acorns are spherical in shape, up to 2 cm, red-brown, as if chopped off from below, in contrast to English oak, ripen in the fall of the second year. It bears fruit steadily and abundantly from 15-20 years. When young, it grows faster than European oaks.

Conditions for successful oak cultivation are as follows:

- a good place to plant. Red oak loves dry and bright places with acidic soil (pH 5.5-7.5), so there is no need to pour ashes into the planting hole. It can not be planted where the soil is flooded in the spring, as well as where there is constant stagnation of water. Oak does not like stagnant water, so when landing at the bottom of the pit, it is imperative to pour drainage. And so that in a few years, when the earth in the planting pit settles, the root neck does not end up in a depression where water can accumulate in the spring, you need to plant an oak tree so that after the pit is finally filled with earth, the root neck of the seedling is on a small mound (the root neck is something where the roots meet the trunk). Over time, the mound will settle, and the root collar will be flush with the soil level. Oak is photophilous and prone to a disease called powdery mildew, so it must be planted in a bright, well-ventilated place;

- seedling health. So that the oak does not get sick with powdery mildew, it should be sprayed from time to time with an infusion of kombucha (1-2 cups of a monthly infusion per bucket of water) or shungite water, or a mixture of these solutions. But we must remember that this is a means of prevention, not control. When this fungal disease appears, it is already too late. In general, it is pointless to fight fungal diseases with the help of "chemistry", but prevention with the help of the above means gives excellent results;

- in no case should you fertilize plants with fresh manure! An excess of free nitrogen contained in manure forms loose tissues in all parts of the plant, the wood of such branches and trunks with loose tissues does not ripen by autumn, and in winter a plant fed with manure can freeze severely or even die. Also, manure-fed plants are attacked by pests and diseases, especially fungal diseases.

In red oak, unlike pedunculate, acorns ripen not in one season, but in two. And yet, an essential addition that needs to be mentioned for the successful cultivation of oak. Many plants (especially forest plants) grow very slowly without mycorrhiza on their roots. What is mycorrhiza? You probably know the different hat mushrooms that grow in the forest. So, these same mushrooms are already fruits, and the body of the mycelium itself is located in the upper layer of the soil, its hyphae (thin threads of the body of the fungus) spread horizontally for many meters, the roots of plants and forming mycorrhiza on their surface, mycorrhiza is a commonwealth of roots of different plants and fungi. Without this mutually beneficial community, some plants do not grow at all or grow very poorly, especially if they find themselves in unusual conditions. There are myceliums that specialize in some particular plants, and there are universal ones. For example, porcini mushroom grows under pine and oak, boletus under aspen, birch boletus under birch, fly agaric under different plants, common fungus is a very versatile mycorrhizal mushroom, if you manage to have it in your garden, then any plants will be happy with it, and grow and bear fruit very productively. How to infect oak roots with mycorrhiza? Find an old overgrown porcini mushroom or an ordinary oyster mushroom in the forest, bring them home, soak them for a day in a bucket of water (preferably rain or from some clean reservoir). After a day, pour this water into the holes made around the oak trunk, mulch the soil around the trunk with leaves from the forest, sow forest grasses or green manure in this place, and in no case ever loosen or dig the soil around the trees. In this case, the growth of the mycelium is disrupted, and it may die. This is the main secret of growing mycorrhizal fungi: they do not grow where the soil is loosened or dug up. When the mycelium grows (about three years later), the first mushrooms will appear. This will be a sign that you did everything right.

Red oak does not need shelter for the winter. It is prone to decay of the root neck, so you need to make sure that the root neck is ventilated and does not get wet from weeds (especially wood lice). In order to avoid root collar rot, spring melt water and ground water should not be allowed to be heated. If you have close-lying groundwater on your site, then you need to plant it on a mound and arrange drainage in the pit (fill in broken brick or expanded clay, pebbles with a layer of 15-20 cm).

Pedunculate oak (Q. robur)

One of the most important forest-forming species in Russia, widely distributed in nature from Western Europe to the Urals. In the north of the forest zone it grows along the valleys, to the south - in mixed forests with spruce, and further south it forms pure oak forests. In the forest-steppe and steppe zones, it grows along gullies and ravines, not reaching such a powerful development as in the forest zone. In urban plantations, oak can be found throughout the territory of natural distribution, with the exception, perhaps, of especially arid places. Not a single forest park, city park, old manor can do without it. The beginning of planting oak forests was laid by Peter I. The importance of oak in the national economy is great. It produces construction timber of very high quality. Beautiful and durable, it is used in carpentry, furniture, cooper production, in shipbuilding and car building, is used for the manufacture of parquet, and is also widely used for firewood.

Oak wood is light, with a beautiful pattern, after lying under water for a long time, it acquires a dark color (bog oak) and is especially valued in furniture production. Oak bark contains up to 20% tannins, wood - 6%. They are widely used for tanning leather. In a zone favorable for its growth, the oak reaches a height of 40 m, the trunk diameter exceeds 1 m. The largest old specimens live up to 1000-1500 years, while having a trunk diameter of 4 m. strong branches. Mature trees have thick, deeply fissured, grey-brown bark. Young shoots are olive-brown, then red-brown. Leaves up to 15 cm long and 7 cm wide, oblong-obovate, with ears at the base, with 6-7 obtuse, long lobes, the depressions between them reach a third of the width of the plate.

Leaves are shiny, glabrous, green above, lighter below. In the spring, in May, when the leaves begin to bloom, stamen catkins become visible at the base of the shoots. Pistillate flowers sit in the axils of the leaves on long peduncles of 2-5 pieces. Acorns are oval, 3.5 cm long and 2 cm in diameter with a spike at the top, brown-yellow, shiny, on the stalk, which is why this species is called petiolate. The plush is shallow, cup-shaped, 1 cm tall, the scales covering it are gray-pubescent. Acorns ripen in October. Oak grows best on degraded chernozems and gray forest loams, with sufficient moisture. It is demanding on mineral and organic nutrition, protection from wind and direct sunlight, especially at an early age, but it is drought and salt tolerant.

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