Trees

Oak, Live Quercus virginiana

Live Oak—Quercus virginiana

This magnificent, broadleaf evergreen tree will be a picturesque addition to your landscape. It grows rapidly when young and may live to be centuries old. Adapts to almost any soil. Live Oaks can be used as street trees. Tolerant of salt spray. Grows 40'-80', with an 80' spread. (Zones 7-10)

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Zones 7 - 10
Zones 7 - 10

Hardiness Zones: Zones 7 - 10
The Live Oak can be expected to grow in the zones shown in color in the arborday.org zone map. VIEW MAP

Shade Tree
Shade Tree

Type of tree:
The Live Oak falls into the following type(s): Shade Trees

40' - 80' High
40' - 80' High

Mature Height:
The Live Oak grows to be 40' - 80' feet in height.

60' - 100' Spread
60' - 100' Spread

Mature Spread:
The Live Oak has a spread of about 60' - 100' at full maturity.

Medium Growth
Medium Growth

Growth Rate:
This tree grows at a medium growth rate. [More about this.]

Full Sun
Full Sun

Sun:
This oak does well in full sun, partial shade.

Various Soils
Various Soils

Soil:
The Live Oak grows in acidic, alkaline, drought tolerant, loamy, moist, sandy, well drained, wide range, clay soils.

Rounded Shape
Rounded Shape

Shape:
This oak has rounded, spreading or horizontal shape.

More Info
More Info

Attributes:
The Live Oak tree has been called majestic, romantic, and "one of the most impressive trees in North America." They will thrive in almost any location and have superior wind resistance. The character of Live Oaks can change dramatically with location, however. On drier sites it assumes a dwarf form and near the northern climates it drops its leaves in the fall like any ordinary broad-leaf tree.

Description:
This magnificent, broadleaf evergreen tree will be a picturesque addition to your landscape. It grows rapidly when young and may live to be centuries old. Adapts to almost any soil. Live Oaks can be used as street trees. Tolerant of salt spray. Grows 40'-80', with an 80' spread. (Zones 7-10)

Wildlife Value:
Sweet live oak acorns are at the top of the food preference list for birds such as wood ducks, wild turkeys, quail, and jays, and mammals such as squirrels, raccoons, and whitetail deer.

History/Lore/Use:
The Live Oak provides one of the most indelible images of the Old South. The huge branches of Live Oak festooned with Spanish Moss and spreading horizontally over grassy lawns conjure up images of antebellum plantations. The tree has long been a favorite tree not only for its beauty and shade, but for its strong and dense wood. It was once so valuable for wooden vessels that the Navy maintained its own Oak forests. The early Native Americans liked it too, extracting an oil from its sweet acorns that was something akin to modern olive oil. It earned its place in American history as the lumber used in the construction of the naval frigate USS Constitution, and when British cannon balls bounced off the hull during a battle, the vessel was thereafter known as "Old Ironsides."

Moisture:
Normal moisture requirements. Has some flooding and drought tolerance.

Leaves:
This tree's leaves are leathery, 2 to 5 inches long and usually have a smooth margin that rolls slightly downward and inward. They are dark, glossy green on top and paler beneath, often with fine down. The leaves persist into the following spring.

Flower Color:
Brown, faded.

Bloom Time:
April-May.

Fruit Description:
This tree produces acorns that are green, turning dark brown at maturity. They are about 3/4 inch long and borne singly or in clusters of up to 5.