Treaty Oak

Southern Live Oak

Quercus virginiana

Nothing is quite as iconic in Central Texas as the beautiful live oak trees in Austin! The southern live oak tree is technically evergreen but sheds its leaves in spring as the new ones come in—along with those dreaded pollen catkins. They are drought-tolerant and require relatively little watering. They are susceptible to Oak Wilt disease, so make sure to follow best practices for pruning (see below). With proper care, they can live for hundreds of years!


Max Height: 60 feet

Max Spread: 50 feet

Hardiness Zone:

Light Needs: ,

Water Needs:



Care of Southern Live Oak

Most live oaks can use light pruning about every year. This includes removing suckers and lightening up low-hanging branches. This will help lift the canopy and relieve stress on heavy limbs. Beyond that, live oak trees can use a more thorough trimming every two to three years to maintain their shape, remove dead or diseased branches, and promote healthy growth.

MAKE SURE to practice safe trimming to prevent the spread of Oak Wilt, a potentially deadly fungus that affects live oak trees in Central Texas.

  • Trim only during the hottest summer months or the coldest winter months (July through January)
  • Clean and disinfect all tools
  • Paint all wounds (bigger than your thumb) with proper sealant