An Enormous Live Oak gets Pruned!

Given the right amount of space and light, the Live Oak (aka Quercus Virginiana) is the gold standard of Florida shade trees. At maturity, this durable American native can reach heights of 40-60′ with a canopy measuring 80-100′ wide!  Here’s a perfect example:

Live Oak, Vero Beach, October 16, 2012

If this tree looks a bit familiar, you’ve got a good memory: I posted this photo last October, but as you might imagine, its subject has grown considerably since then!

Keeping live oaks healthy requires periodic examinations; experts suggest eliminating any branches that form narrow angles with the trunk because of the effect they have on bark growth. Briefly, if the “crotch” is too narrow. the bark grows inward and then back over itself. This causes physical weakness and the branch is likely to crack and split away from the tree, like this one recently did:

Live Oak, Riverside Park, Vero Beach, 8/17/2013

Dropping an enormous branch in a park is one thing…..on the roof of your house, quite another!  Because we’re in hurricane season, my neighbor across the street called in the arborists this past July:

Live Oak, Vero Beach, 7/23/2013

I thought they went a little overboard!  Look at all these branches!

Live Oak after pruning, Vero Beach, 7/23/2013

Perhaps they were heavy-handed to allow better light penetration to the center of the tree? From this angle, it seems they might’ve had that in mind.  Aesthetically speaking, I prefer a more droopy, natural look to the bottom of the canopy.

For further details on pruning Live Oaks, check out the Univ.of Fl. YouTube below!

Until next time……

🙂 🙂 🙂


18 thoughts on “An Enormous Live Oak gets Pruned!

  1. Beautiful tree and beautiful timber. I once painted on a piece of American oak… fantastic. But also understandably, dangerous in a hurricane. The shape of the tree has changed quite a bit, but perhaps it will grow back quickly?

  2. My father lived along to the road to Edisto (in the SC lowcountry) where live oaks are enormous and make tunnels of branches over the road. No, I wouldn’t want one to fall on me or my house, but I do love them leaning low over the road creating that great southern atmosphere. Thanks for the post–it took me back to a favorite time and place right out of Nat Geo.

    • We have a beautiful road to our local beach that looks EXACTLY like the street you describe in Edisto. I love the spanish moss and other epiphytes that dangle off the branches: def feels like you’re driving through a tunnel!
      Thank you so much for stopping in and commenting!

  3. Pruning trees is a difficult decision on how much or how little to take off…. not many realise that a tree is like the sails of a yacht, and if done incorrectly the wind can do more damage than the pruning…

  4. I would have thinned all throughout the canopy and not taken so much lumber off of the bottom. I’m with you, they went overboard and the top that is left still looks too thick. 😐

  5. Looks like they were trying to thin out the canopy? Live Oaks tend to grow wide with branches branching out from the base to look like multiple trunks. I am not sure this is a Live Oak? Maybe a white oak?

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