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How Fast Do Live Oak Trees Grow?

oak tree image by Zlatko Ivancok from

Live oak trees (Quercus virginiana) are evergreen deciduous trees found primarily in the southern part of the United States, according to Clemson University. The tree is known for its large, spreading canopy and stately appearance.


Live oaks grow to an average height of 80 feet with a canopy width of 100 feet, according to Clemson University. Often, the long branches droop to the ground. The leaves stay attached to the tree until new ones push them out in the spring, although they may turn yellow.


Live oaks prefer the warm, humid environment of the deep South. They grow wild along coastal areas and are resistant to salty air and soil. While they are most prevalent in the South, they can grow as far north as the coast of Oregon. Live oak trees will thrive in USDA growing zones 7B through 10B, according to the University of Florida.


Live oaks grow quickly at first. If they are properly cared for, they can grow an average of 2 1/2 feet per year, according to Clemson University. Live oaks grow fastest in sunny coastal areas in sandy, well-drained soil. As the trees get older, their growth slows. These large trees can have a trunk diameter of up to 6 feet and can live for 300 years or longer.

Bushes Would Grow Well Under Or Near Live Oak Trees?

Very young live oaks will not establish if there is competition for food and water from nearby plants. As they grow, the trees need a clear area around them. Live oaks send down sinker roots to harvest deep soil moisture, and they have a dense network of feeder roots near the soil surface. One strategy is to plant suitable shrubs at the same time as the young live oak, anticipating the mature canopy of the tree to avoid immediate competition but where the tree can grow around them as it matures. Shrub choices depend on the kind of live oak tree involved. It grows in USDA zones 9 through 11. Some yellow-flowered shrubs are bush poppy (Dendromecon rigida), fremontia (Fremontodendron spp.) and cultivars) have flowers in shades of yellow, red and orange and attract hummingbirds. It has large cones of long-lasting white flowers in spring, which turn pink or purple later in the season. Stronger-colored cultivars are available. Barbados cherry, also called acerola (Malpighia glabra), is native to the Caribbean and South and Central America in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11.

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