How to Care for a Live Oak

oak-treeCaring for a live oak is not that difficult. It’s not even that different from caring for your other trees. However, there are some things we want you to know about how to care for a live oak. We’ll explore them in this blog post.

Plant a live oak in the right environment.

The first and most important thing is that you should plant a live oak in the right environment. Live oaks do best in warm, moist weather. They also like areas with mild winters. That makes them perfect for Central Texas. Live oaks cannot survive prolonged freezing temperatures and icy weather. The live oak does best in soil types that range from well-draining loam to poor-draining clay so long as you keep your pH balance in the neutral to slightly acidic range. (For more information on pH balance and soil types, keep your eyes out for future blogs on this page.)

Water a live oak regularly when it’s young.

A young live oak needs regular watering. You’ll know it’s watered correctly when the soil is moist. If it’s wet, then you’ve watered too much. You don’t want to over or under-water your live oak. Neither is good for the health of the young tree. You also don’t want to water your live oak in winter. Allow winter precipitation to water it for you.  When the tree is mature, it’s best to water not more than once a month. The best way to water a live oak is to use a drip system for a slow, gradual soaking.

Prune a live oak as often as it needs it.

Live oaks are beautiful, sprawling trees. They have lots of branches. Dead limbs do happen. Don’t worry. Just prune them as soon as you can. They need to be gotten rid of for safety reasons. Keeping the dead wood out allows for good wound closure, which is very important for the continuing health of your live oak. You should inspect the canopy regularly. If it looks like limbs are too heavy at the ends, thin those out to prevent limb failure. As the tree gets older, the growth will slow, and you will need to prune less often. Taking good care of the tree will allow it to sustain itself year after year and live oaks can last many years.

Protect the root zone of a live oak.

You want to limit competition for resources surrounding your live oak. The best environment for a live oak is one where there is a comfortable root zone that contains mulch. You may have to remove sod and plants. You don’t want anything around the tree that can inhibit its growth. That might even mean keeping other trees or turf away from the tree. We know that might not be your best landscaping option, but it’s best for the tree’s continued health.  A 15 foot radius is good. Otherwise, the roots could smother and the tree will die a slow death.

We really hope that you know how to care for a live oak. We, at Austin Tree, are very familiar with the species. If you need your tree pruned or to make sure it’s root system is in good condition, we suggest you give us a call at 512-341-8888.