University of Florida

Live Oaks

Live oaks are large, picturesque trees that grace many Southern yards with deep, inviting shade.

These stately trees can grow up to 60 feet tall, with a spread of up to 100 feet. With the potential for a six-foot-diameter trunk, they need plenty of room to expand. They usually have many curved trunks and branches, and can live for hundreds of years if planted in a fitting location.

Live oaks are tough trees that will grow vigorously with plentiful moisture in well-drained soil. They need regular pruning when young in order to develop a strong branch structure for wind resistance.

The branches of live oaks are often draped with gray tangles of Spanish moss, but don't worry—these epiphytes don't harm the trees and don't need to be removed.

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