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How to Plant a Live Oak Tree

By Cayden Conor ; Updated September 21, 2017

Live oak trees can be planting in most types of soil, but care needs to be taken when choosing a location. The live oak tree's roots grow close to the top of the ground and will lift cement pads and sidewalks, and can make mowing troublesome. Choose a spot where there is room to build a round garden under the oak tree with a radius of at least 4 feet. The garden area can contain mulch or vines that are not hampered by the roots of the oak tree.

Dig a planting hole twice the size of the rootball and as deep as the rootball. If the tree is balled and burlaped and the burlap is organic, leave the burlap on the root ball, but remove any staples or ties holding the burlap on the tree. Organic burlap will decompose and provide additional nutrients for the live oak tree. If the tree is bare root, soak the roots for at least eight hours prior to planting, to ensure proper hydration.

Center the live oak tree in the planting hole. If the tree is bare root, spread the roots out at the bottom of the planting hole. Backfill with soil, gently tamping it down as you backfill.

Provide at least 1 inch of water. Watering deeply encourages deep root growth and a healthier tree. Shallow watering encourages shallow root growth and a less healthy tree. Unhealthy trees are prone to viruses, fungi and pests.

Mulch with at least 3 inches of compost or pulverized bark. If you are creating a garden under the oak tree, plant the rest of the landscaping plants, then mulch accordingly--except close to the oak tree.

Water the live oak tree and the additional plants with at least 1 inch of water a week until the tree is established. After the first growing season, watering the garden underneath the live oak tree will provide enough water for the tree. If you do not have a garden under the live oak tree, water with at least 1 inch of water every other week.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Pitchfork
  • Compost or pulverized bark

About the Author


Cayden Conor has been writing since 1996. She has been published on several websites and in the winter 1996 issue of "QECE." Conor specializes in home and garden, dogs, legal, automotive and business subjects, with years of hands-on experience in these areas. She has an Associate of Science (paralegal) from Manchester Community College and studied computer science, criminology and education at University of Tampa.