Coastal Live Oak Scientific name: Quercus virginiana
History/general species info: In the days of wooden ships, live oaks were the preferred source of the framework timbers of the ship, using the natural trunk and branch angles for their strength. The frame of USS Constitution was constructed from Southern live oak wood harvested from St. Simons Island, Georgia, and the density of the wood grain allowed it to survive cannon fire, thus earning her the nickname "Old Ironsides". Even today, the U.S. Navy continues to own extensive live oak tracts. The Big Tree is an estimated 1,000-year-old Southern live oak located in Lamar, Texas, the largest live oak in Texas.
Characteristics: Evergreen to semi-evergreen large native tree. Also called Southern Live Oak. Slow to moderate growth in sand, clay and loam. Susceptible to oak wilt. Majestic and long-lived, with a crown that can spread up to twice its height. It is pH adaptable, and tolerant of drought and poor soils, although it does not tolerate poorly drained soils or extremely well-drained deep sand. Its small, leathery gray-green leaves are evergreen but considered deciduous, because late each winter dropping its old leaves just as new ones emerge.
Flower: yes; yellow catkins, 1-3 in. long
Planting / Care: Very easy to care for, requiring little watering until 4 or 5 feet tall, then no watering at all. Dry to moist soils, whether gravelly, sandy, loamy or clay, but does best in neutral or slightly acidic clay loams; poor drainage okay. Salt tolerant and tolerant of compaction.
Size and Spacing: Height: 40-80’ Spread: 60-100’
Light requirement: Sun/ Part Shade
Wildlife: Birds , Butterflies - Larval Host: Horaces Duskywing, White M hairstreak, Northern hairstreak.