Southern Live Oak

Quercus virginiana
Category Tree
Size 40' x 50'
Flower Color Tan
Flower Season Spring
Exposure Full Sun to Partial Shade
Growth Rate Fast
Hardiness 15°F


This majestic evergreen grows forty to fifty feet tall and almost as wide with a broad, rounded canopy, horizontal branches, and thick, leathery, green leaves. During cold winters, the tree defoliates and new green leaves emerge in the spring. Its bark is dark and deeply furrowed at maturity. Southern live oak produces inconspicuous, tan, catkin-like flowers in the spring that are typical of most oak trees. After flowering, brownish-black acorns appear in abundance, which are sweet and edible, and are eaten by birds and other animals.Use it as a shade or specimen tree on golf courses, in front of large-scale buildings, along streets, around parking lots, and in parks as a screen, or planted in masses in wide-open spaces. Southern live oak is the designated state tree of Georgia. It is native to scrub lands, and coastal and inland wetlands throughout Virginia. This tree also grows natively in parts of Florida, Texas, and southeastern portions of the United States. It can also be found in isolated mountain areas of northeastern Mexico.


It takes full to partial shade, likes moist, well-draining, sandy soil, and tolerates drought conditions when established. It needs supplemental irrigation during the hot, dry season. This fast grower is long-lived and hardy to fifteen degrees. It is excellent to use for fuel or firewood. The tree needs minor maintenance and some pruning to remove occasional suckers at the base of the tree.
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