How to Space Young Live Oaks in a Front Yard


The live oak (Quercus virginiana) is a large sprawling evergreen tree that is native to areas of the southern US in USDA agricultural zones 7b and warmer. Because it is a long-lived tree with a tough reputation it is used in parks and recreational areas as well as in parking lot islands. The live oak grows medium fast and can live up to 1000 years or more. The spread on a mature live oak can be 150 feet, but 100 feet is the average spread as the tree begins to mature in 75 years. Live oaks are susceptible to oak wilt, a disease that can spread through overlapping root systems. As a result, the spacing of live oaks in important.

Step 1

Decide if you want the row of live oaks to make an area of total shade, such as down a driveway or walkway, or if you want the trees to be observed as individual specimen trees. To create continuous shade the trees should be spaced 50 feet apart. For individual or specimen planting the trees should be 100 feet apart. Plant the trees at least 50 feet apart to avoid overlapping roots that can spread oak wilt disease. Also remember that very few plants will grow in the dense shade of a live oak.

Step 2

Mark where the first tree should go by pushing a wooden stake in the ground as a marker.

Step 3

Measure the correct distance to the next planting area and place another stake in the ground to mark where the next tree should go. Continue measuring and marking with a stake where each tree should go until you run out of space or live oak trees.

Step 4

Using a shovel, dig the holes and plant the live oak trees where the wooden stakes were pushed into the ground. Use native soil to plant the trees without amendments so the trees can quickly become accustomed to their new planting site.

Step 5

Water trees every week for the first summer and into the cooler months if there is no rain until the live oak trees are established.

Things You'll Need

  • Live oak trees
  • Shovel
  • Source of water
  • Wooden stakes
  • Measuring tape


  • Winter Park Live Oak Fund: Facts About Live Oaks
  • American Forests: Live Oak: The Ultimate Southerner
  • Floridata: Quercus virginiana
Keywords: live oak trees, live oaks, planting live oaks

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.