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Long Live the Live Oak!

2 minute read

Long Live the Live Oak!

sprawling live oak with draping spanish moss

by Nazrine Navetia

There are over 19 different species of Oak trees in Central Florida alone (about 90 in the US) categorized into two different types: red ones or white. The Live Oak is a white one.

Live Oaks can reach heights of forty to fifty feet, spread sixty to a hundred and twenty feet wide, with a trunk size of six feet in diameter! Healthy Live Oaks stay alive between two hundred fifty and up to five hundred years. The oldest one? Angel Oak on Johns Island in South Carolina - four hundred years and sixty-five feet tall. Imagine that - or go visit it!

They are medium grow rate trees that are not disease prone but do watch out for canker (looks like open wounds) disease, which is unhealthy, and pruning or removal of branches would be necessary at this point. They are resistant to high wind damage and are essentially evergreen (semi-deciduous). It sheds its old leaves shortly before new leaves emerge in the springtime.

Look for hazards like chemicals in the grass around Live Oaks and be careful with the roots. Disturbing the roots of Live Oaks could bring them to a sloooow death! But we say, long live the Live Oaks – so be careful around the root zone which reaches as far as its branches spread. 

“Saving Live Oaks sometimes means having to kill other trees, which can be expensive, but preserving a single Live Oak can add as much as $30,000 to the value of a house," said Francis Putz, a University of Florida botanist. "They are one of the most durable woods in the World. Furthermore, having a Live Oak nearby is good protection against hurricane damage. The Live Oak’s deep roots, relatively short stature and strong wood help it to withstand the high winds and strong storm surges that topple other trees during hurricanes.” 

closeup of green moss covered live oak bark

So, there you have it, Live Oaks are good for you and could protect your life during a hurricane, or add value to your property, or both. Let us know if you would like to get a free Live Oak check to make sure yours will stay alive and forever sing “and we're stayin' alive, stayin' alive.”

Have a question about your Florida trees? Ask our Certified Arborist Dani.

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