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Southern Live Oak
Scientific Name: Quercus virginiana Mill.
Family: Fagaceae
Southern Live Oak (Quercus  virginiana) Recommended Temperature Zone:
sunset: 4-31
USDA: 8b-10

Frost Tolerance: Hardy to 15 F (-10 C)

Sun Exposure: Full sun

Origin: Southeastern USA

Growth Habits: Tree up to 60 feet tall (18 m)

Watering Needs: Regular water to abundant water

Propagation: Seeds (acorns)

Quercus virginiana L., live oak is most commonly found on the lower Coastal Plain of southeastern United States. The tree can grow up to an average of 50 feet in height and 36-48 inches in diameter, but can have trunks over 70 inches in diameter. The bark is furrowed longitudinally, and the small acorns are long and tapered. The bark and twigs are dark to light grayish color and becomes darker with age. The leaves are thick, shiny, and dark green on top, lighter below. Small flowers are produced when new leaves are grown. The fruit which is the acorn is about 1 inch long cup, somewhat narrowed at the base. Root crowns and roots survive fire and sprout vigorously.

Southern Live Oak (Quercus  virginiana)

Southern Live Oak (Quercus  virginiana)

Cultural Practices:
Live oak grows in moist to dry sites. It withstands occasional floods, but not constant saturation. It is resistant to salt spray and high soil salinity. Live oak grows best in well-drained sandy soils and loam but also grows in clay and alluvial soils. Live oak is intermediate in shade tolerance.

Once established, it withstands competition. They are extremely salt tolerant and this resistance may account for its dominance in many climax coastal forests in the northern part of its range. Dense stands of live oak reduce forage production for livestock. Live oak is extremely hard to kill because it sprouts vigorously from the root collar and roots.

Blooming Habits:
Light yellow or greenish flowers.

Fruiting Habits:

The acorns must be fresh and not dried. Make sure that the squirrels don't go after them after they are planted. Seeds and seedlings can be collected in the wild when the acorns mature and fall and then begin sprouting. It can also be obtained commercially from forest seed companies. Approximate seed per pound: 352.


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Desert-Tropicals is dedicated to provide gardening advice, gardening ideas, and information about flower of all kind for landscape and collections. We try to check carefully the identification of the plants on the illustrations as well as the other information from the page, but occasionally errors do occur. if you notice anything that needs to be changed please contact us. Thanks.

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