How to Plant a Live Oak Tree Close to a Fence


The live oak (Quercus virginiana) grows best in the Southern United States in U.S. Department of Agriculture horticultural zones 7 to 10. Although it is a strong, durable tree in its native range, the limbs can be broken and the tree devastated in areas where there are significant ice accumulations during the winter. Live oak trees grow to 60 feet tall with a spreading canopy to 100 feet. They are long-lived and slow growing evergreen trees with some specimens living more than 300 years. The trunk can reach a diameter of 6 feet.

Step 1

Locate a place near a fence to plant the live oak tree considering the eventual shade that may occur to any neighboring property on the other side of the fence. For example, the tree may eventually shade a vegetable garden. The location should receive six hours or more of direct sun each day. Also, the location should be well-drained, because live oaks do not grow well if planted in soil that remains waterlogged for long periods of time. The location should be 3 feet from the fence, if possible, to guarantee that the expansion of the trunk will never reach the fence or cross a property line.

Step 2

Dig a hole for the live oak tree that is twice as wide as the root base of the tree you are planting. The depth of the hole should be enough sot that the tree will be planted at the same depth as it is planted in the container.

Step 3

Place the live oak tree in the hole and begin adding the same soil removed from the hole. It is not necessary to add any amendments to the planting soil because live oaks are native in the area where they are normally sold and planted, which is the Southern United States. Spread out any roots that may be encircling the other roots of the tree, so they don't continue to grow around the root base. Roots that encircle the root base can eventually cut off moisture and nutrients to the tree and kill it.

Step 4

Add water to the soil as you add it into the planting hole around the roots of the tree. This will create a seal of soil so no air pockets form around the root system.

Step 5

Add a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch around the base of the tree after planting. Extend the mulch out another 6 inches from the root base. Mulch prevents moisture loss and controls weeds. Leave a space of about 1 inch between the mulch and the tree. As mulch decays, it can spread mildew to the bottom of the live oak.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Mulch


  • Clemson Cooperative Extension: Live Oak
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Quercus virginiana, Southern Live Oak

Who Can Help

  • USDA: Horticultural Zone Map
Keywords: live oak tree, planting live oak, oak trees

About this Author

Based in Rockdale Texas, Jim Gober has been writing garden-related articles for 25 years. His articles appear in several Texas newspapers including The Rockdale Reporter, The Lexington Leader, The Cameron Herald and The Hearne Democrat. He is a Master Gardener and Certified Texas Nursery and Landscape Professional. He holds bachelor degrees in English Writing from St. Edward's University and Finance from Lamar University.