Native to Texas, Oklahoma, and Northern Mexico, Texas live oak is somewhat smaller but in many ways similar to the eastern live oak species, Q. virginiana, and hybrids are known to occur in nature. Root sprouts develop into new trees, often resulting in large root-connected groves or ‘mottes’ that are actually derived from one genetically individual tree.
Culture for Texas Live Oak
Tolerant of poor urban soils and slightly alkaline soils, but does not perform well on heavy clay or often saturated soils. More drought and cold tolerant than Q. virginiana.
Concerns about Texas Live Oak
Oak wilt, caused by Ceratocystis fagacearum, is the most serious and lethal disease of Texas live oak. This disease can be spread by beetles or through root-grafts. May be impacted by Phytophthora root disease in heavy clay, wet soils. Spider mites can cause leaf bronzing, especially during hot periods. Defoliating caterpillars may also be a concern in some seasons. Various scale insects may infest live oak species. Spreading growth habit may lead to a need for mechanical props under large branches.
Management Practices for Texas Live Oak
If oak wilt is present in the area, preventative fungicide injections are more effective than therapeutic treatments. Trees should only be pruned during very dry or cold conditions to avoid spread to pruning wounds. Apply preventative treatments for Phytophthora in heavy clay, low areas, or over-irrigated sites. Monitor for mites and caterpillars and treat as warranted. Root invigoration will help improve performance of trees growing in compacted, disturbed, or poorly drained clay soils.