Three Common Oak Trees Throughout the State of Texas
Did you know Texas is famous for its Oak trees? With 50 different species of oak trees in the Lone Star state, you are sure to find one either on your own property or a landscape near you. These large, statuesque trees stand tall and proud, with larger-than-life qualities just like our home state. Oak trees are important for wildlife because they provide shelter and acorns for food. In addition, these majestic plants can help decrease your energy bills, protect against erosion, provide a buffer against wind and add value to your home.
Oak trees fall into two primary categories, red and white, and can generally be identified by their distinctive lobed leaves. White oaks get their name from the whitish color of the underside of their leaves and usually have rounded tips. They also tend to develop acorns faster than red oaks. Red oak trees have leaves that are deep red with pointed ends. This article discusses the three most common oak trees here in our great state, live oak, bur oak, and post oak.
This graceful tree can grow up to 60 feet tall, stretching out its arms to produce shade 120 feet wide. With limbs in all directions, the live oak is actually a semi-evergreen tree. It grows into an asymmetrical shape and has thick, dense green leaves. While it sheds its leaves in the winter, they are immediately replaced with new leaf growth. It’s one of the slower-growing varieties that can live for hundreds of years. The oldest known specimen in Texas is in Goose Island State Park in Rockport and is more than 1,200 years old.
The most important thing to know about growing this beauty is ensuring you have enough space. The trunk itself can grow to 6 feet in diameter, and its wide surface roots encompass a lot of space, so plant it away from the house. The live oak will grow in all types of soil, including clay and sandy, and prefers full or partial sun. If you are looking for a drought-resistant, sturdy tree, the live oak is for you.
Also known as the prairie oak, this colossal plant is known for its large leaves and big acorns. It is one tough cookie, and everything about it is heavy-duty. Its bark is rough and dark, and its trunk is massive. It grows at a medium rate up to 80 feet in height and 80 feet around. It grows larger than normal acorns with fringed caps that extend halfway down the nut. Its evergreen leaves turn a dull shade of brown in the fall, and the dried leaves remain well into the winter, falling off only when new leaves grow in the spring.
If you are looking to have shade immediately, this is one of the faster-growing oak trees, but they are hard to transplant, so when buying a bur oak tree, purchase one three to five feet tall. You will want to plant it in full sun in soil that is well-drained and loamy. Bur oak trees are great for city parks as they tolerate smoke and air pollution quite well. You will want to ensure you have the space for this massive giant because it can live up to 300 years!
The post oak thrives in Texas because it doesn’t require a lot of water and tolerates our heat. Mature trees can grow up to 50 feet or more with a diameter of up to two feet. It produces a significant amount of acorns in comparison to other oak trees. It is typically found growing in the wild and not used for landscaping purposes due to the difficulty in transplanting it. They often die when the soil around their base is disturbed or compacted. They prefer dry, sandy soil, and in the fall, their leaves turn brown to reddish and fall off.
If you decide the post oak is the right tree for your landscape, take precautions around the root system. The root system is shallow and sensitive to excessive watering and construction. When the post oak’s soil is disturbed or compacted, they often die. Try to make sure the soil around the tree’s base doesn’t get too moist and resist the urge to mulch around this tree’s roots.
The largest Threat to Oak Trees is Oak Wilt
While many diseases and insects can plague your elegant oak trees, Oak wilt is by far the biggest threat to these vivacious beauties taking many out across the country. Oak wilt is a fungal disease that moves through the tree’s vascular system, cutting off its supply of water and nutrients. The lack of water and nutrients causes leaf discoloration, wilting of the tree, and the leaves to fall off, ultimately leading to its death.
You can help prevent Oak wilt from destroying your oak trees by only pruning your trees during the colder months. Pruning during the winter will give the tree time to heal before the fungus can attract sap beetles. You can also help prevent the spread of Oak wilt by not moving firewood.
For All Your Tree and Shrub Care Needs, Call on the Professionals at LawnLab
At LawnLab, we understand the trees that grow in Texas and have the experience and training necessary to ensure your tree and shrubs stay alive and thrive for years to come. We offer a tree and shrub treatment program that includes the fertilization your beloved lawn ornaments need, deep root fertilization for richer color and growth, foliage protection for insect and disease control, and dormant oil to help prevent insect infestations. We can also handle the pruning and fertilization of your trees and shrubs. Give LawnLab a call at 1-866-529-6522 today, or contact us here online. Learn more and start protecting your oak and other tree and shrubs today.
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