Live Oak

Common name(s): Live oak

Scientific name: Quercus virginiana

Plant family: FAGACEAE


Description: One of the favorite oak found in old homesteads and southern historical sites throughout the South. Long-lived evergreen tree, with thick trunk, gently spreading limbs. Excellent shade tree with strong root system. Native from Virginia to Florida all the way to Eastern Texas. Leaves are 1 – 5 inches with edges up-turned like a floating boat. Fruit: acorns. Trunk of tree as it matures form deep furrows with blocky pattern.

Growing Conditions: Grows best in mixed-moist organic soil, well drained. Will adapt to variety of soil, not hot, sandy soils. Full sun best. Hardiness Zone: 8 -11. Life span, long lived. May grow up to 300 years. In may cases, salt tolerate to some degree. Will add 1 –  2 feet or more per year depending on growing conditions.

Wildlife: Acorns is a major food for deer, small mammals. Tree canopy is used as shelter and nesting site for variety of bird life.

Relation to Nehrling Gardens: Some of our largest live oaks in the front gardens very likely were originally on property when Henry Nehrling bought the property.

Location in Gardens: C5-6, D14, E3

Additional Information: There are a number of small oaks that may do well for home landscapes with restricted area. Sand live oak, scrub oak, Dwarf live oak are just a few. Nearly evergreen throughout the year. Will drop leaves in spring or late fall depending on location in country. Fast growing and slows as it ages. The U.S.S. Constitution, maritime sailing vessel, was named “Old Ironsides” due to the construction of the hull made totally of Live Oak timbers and its survival during the repeated cannon fire during the War of 1812.