Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesday's Trees- Live Oak

As I got ready to take some pictures of today's tree, I mentioned to my ballet teacher that I was taking pictures of various trees and profiling them on the internet. When I told her that this week's tree was the Live Oak she had a little story. (she has some fun stories)

As the story goes, a woman was touring in Colonial Williamsburg and asked this young boy about a certain tree. "What kind of tree is that?" she asks. He replies, "Live Oak." "Don't sass me young man!"

While I did not go up to Colonial Williamsburg I did go to some historical places on the peninsula to take some photos of these grand trees. If you ask 'tree' people in our area where there are some good specimens of Quercus virginiana they will tell you two places. First is the Emancipation Oak in Hampton. This is a grand tree. Our own Les at A Tidewater Gardener wrote about this great tree. National Geographic designated it as one of the 10 Great Trees of the World. Les has more info on this specific tree, certainly one to read about.

The Emancipation Oak

Quercus virginiana is an evergreen oak, shedding its leaves as the new ones emerge. The leaves are alternate, leathery, dark green, glossy, elliptical to ovate.

The bark is shallow grooved with a reddish brown color. I am still having a learning curve with some differences with bark.

The growth pattern is spreading with this grand tree. The height is 40- 80 feet and the width is 60- 100 feet. Many images of Live Oaks include Spanish Moss hanging from the branches. This is a southern native, zones 8- 10.

The other place in our area that has great examples of mature Live Oaks is Fort Monroe. A historic army post with a moat. I will cover more on Ft. Monroe in the future. Inside the moat is the parade field which is outlined with many Live Oaks.
click on this picture to see across the parade field.

All the Live Oaks inside the moat have been put on a preservation list

This beauty is next to the Chapel of the Centurion One of my favorite wedding pictures was taken under this tree.

The trees that frame the Lincoln Gun are quite spectacular.

Live Oaks are wonderful trees in the landscape.

Next week's tree- Crape Myrtle


  1. They have great Live Oaks in New Orleans. The ones there and on the MS coast survived Katrina amazingly well!

    I may get my husband one for our anniversary to replace a dying tree in the front yard that we need to have removed.

  2. Thanks for the shout out, it is much appreciated. Ft. Monroe is such a gem, I hope that the state does the right thing once it reposesses it. It is something special now, but it could really be a catalyst to move Hampton up a notch.

  3. Love the pictures of the Fort Monroe trees.

  4. These are magnificent trees indeed! Although I've seen photos of the live oaks with moss hanging from them, I never realized until reading blogs that these were evergreen trees.

  5. Nice Janet! Live Oak is my fave tree. It's one that I just stare at in wonder. H.

  6. Live oaks are so wonderful. I remember Les's post about the Emancipation one. When I lived in Alabama I sure enjoyed them all but I am not sure if they grow here. I am really looking forward to the creps next week-one of my favorite small trees of all time.

  7. Oaks are such magnificent trees! Your pictures show it very well!

  8. Hi Ginger, I think a Live Oak for your husband is very nice. Amazing that they survived Katrina.

    Hi Les, was going to let you know that I put your link in, then you commented, so --- hi! I love Ft. Monroe, it is a part of my life's history.

    Hi Phillip, I love the trees at Monroe.

    Rose, hi there, it is kind of neat to have evergreen oaks.

    Helen, Hi there, I know you said you love Live Oaks, hope this did them justice.

    Hello Tina, I don't think Live Oaks will do well in your area, they are truly a Southern tree..zone 8.

    Hi Tatyana, thanks, these trees are wonderful, pictures do not portray their full splendor.


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