Care of Live Oak Trees


Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) presents a broadleaf evergreen tree that grows quickly and lives for hundreds of years. The Live Oak grows in most types of soils, reaching up to 80 feet in height and width. This oak prefers warmer climates, and offers an optimal tree for USDA Hardiness Zones 7 through 10 where minimum winter temperatures don't drop below 5 degrees F. The Live Oak's naturally rounded canopy and dense foliage make it a good shade tree. The Live Oak produces acorns in clusters during the late summer and fall. Care of Live Oak trees requires regular watering and pruning.

Step 1

Water your Live Oak tree two or three times every week during the growing season to supplement rainfall. Keep the soil around the Live Oak moist at all times, especially during hot, dry conditions.

Step 2

Fertilize your Live Oak tree in the early spring using a slow-release granular tree fertilizer, according to the dosage instructions on the label. Spread the granular fertilizer on the ground to cover the canopy area.

Step 3

Prune your Live Oak when it's young to establish a healthy structure. During the first five or so winters, establish six to eight main branches on the tree and prune away all other lateral growth.

Step 4

Prune your mature Live Oak tree each winter to remove any dead, damaged or crowded growth.

Step 5

Spread a 2-inch layer of organic mulch over the root zone of the Live Oak, keeping the mulch 1 to 2 inches away from the trunk. Spread fresh mulch around the tree each spring.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't plant a Live Oak tree if you have a small yard. Live Oaks take up a lot of space, not just in height but in spread as well.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose or irrigation system
  • Slow-release granular tree fertilizer
  • Pruning tools
  • Organic mulch


  • Tree Help: Live Oak

Who Can Help

  • Arbor Day Foundation: Oak, Live Quercus virginiana
Keywords: plant live oaks, oak tree care, grow Live Oak

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.