castorcrap

live oak in a northern zone

castorcrap
15 years ago

Hello, Does anyone know what to do w/ a live oak species in a zone where it cannot perform its natural evergreen characteristic. Im thinking of letting frost will kill off the leaves then putting the pot in my garage for the winter, keeping it a little damp. Is this bad for a tree who normally is evergreen? will it bud back? If I was able to put it in a green house, would that be bad, because maybee it needs to go through a cold spell cycle?

Comments (76)

  • joeinmo 6b-7a
    3 years ago

    Gary, it looks like a Southern Live Oak...I have several potted Live Oaks, they will suck the pot dry of water once they get big. Well if you can't sneak it out of the country maybe you can donate to a arboretum in the area where they can plant inside a dome.

    I live in far SW Missouri (Ozarks) here is my outide Texas Live Oak Tree


  • garygronfors
    3 years ago

    Good thoughts, thanks.

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  • sandcountry
    2 years ago

    Just brought back a few from the Ranch down in South Texas.....not sure how they will make it inside the next few months.....I brought home native soil and wasnt lucky enough to have independently rooted small trees. Most were connected to the root system of the larger Live Oaks..( 40 , 50 footers) on the bank of the dried creek through the property.... SO I am anxious to see if they make it.......Have had this ranch since 2000....first time I decided to try live oaks in SE Missouri .....but we have cotton....so why not live oaks ..right ??

  • garygronfors
    2 years ago

    Good luck.

  • joeinmo 6b-7a
    2 years ago

    Sand Country, I have mine in SW Missouri and they do fine..however you said South Texas...that can be tricky as those could be Quercus Virginiana rather than the more cold Hardy versions North of Austin to Oklahoma called Quercus Fusiformis

  • garygronfors
    2 years ago

    Still snowing in Ontario. Nothing is growing.

  • Jamie Marksberry
    2 years ago

    To the people who have live oaks in zone 6b and north: where did you purchase your live oak? I live in Evansville, IN and would like to plant a hardy version of live oak but don't know where to start.

  • garygronfors
    2 years ago

    Jamie, you have to think like a squirrel. Haha. Seriously, have somebody send you some acorns or purchase on line from a seed source and good luck. Gary

  • hemlock140 Zone 8B
    2 years ago

    I have a Coast Live Oak bonsai, now over 25 years old from an acorn that I picked up in Walnut Creek, CA when visiting family. Most Oaks drop the acorns in early fall, September-ish. If you have family or friends in areas that have oaks just ask them to pick some up and send to you.

  • joeinmo 6b-7a
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Jamie, I purchased a couple of mine from Sunshine Nursery near Oklahoma City

  • dirtygardener
    2 years ago

    Live oaks are fascinating, because while they are called "evergreen," they actually do lose their leaves in their native range. The old leaves are pushed off the tree in the spring by the new growth, which is why the leaves fall in the spring instead of fall. I grew up in South Carolina and never knew this until I studied horticulture and was taught that. I want to bonsai a chinquapin oak. They are so beautiful, and have much more interesting leaves than a live oak, although larger. I've tried growing one from acorns, but the tree near me has worms in the acorns, so no go. I'm looking for a seedling somewhere around here, since we have a lot growing in this area.

  • HU-457123172
    2 years ago

    I grow a Quercus virginiana in Maryland. I live between DC and Annapolis. I bought it years ago after I saw a mature tree at University Maryland College Park. I got it at a Home Depot in Charleston, SC while on a business trip. It has done well but the young branch tips

    will die back when we have especially cold stretches. Those tips are very rigid and almost like thorns. We had some this past winter. I seem to recall that it leaned over when it was young from snow or one of our big wind storms. I haven’t had that problem since though. The birds love the thick branches. I have had multiple nests in the relatively small tree over the years. Still no acorns yet. It keeps most of its leaves past the New Year. I do get a stretch of a few months with no leaves until the new ones appear in April and May and it starts growing agressively. The attached photo is during our March snow storm of this winter. I’ll upload a current one shortly.

  • dirtygardener
    2 years ago

    HU-457123172 Hate to discourage you, but live oaks can take 20-30 years to have acorns. I had one in my back yard in FL that had been there about 12 years when I moved in, and it didn't have acorns for 10 more years. I almost wish it had never had them, because they were a mess to clean up, and the squirrels took over the tree and the yard after that.

  • HU-457123172
    2 years ago

    I have a 60 year old red oak in the front yard. No rush for acorns :-) Thanks

  • HU-457123172
    2 years ago

    Here is my Life Oak today. You can probably see where the ends of the branches died back this winter. We had a very cold stretch between late Dec and early Jan. My apple tree didn’t produce any fruit this year. I have never seen that before. That could have been due to the spring wind storm though tearing off all the blossoms.

  • HU-457123172
    2 years ago

    I noticed today that I have a plant growing on the tree. Check this out.

  • joeinmo 6b-7a
    last year

    Very cool

  • poaky1
    last year

    Wow, Hu, I had no idea your Live oak was that big. I am also growing a Live oak, but, in zone 6a Pa. A very nice gardener sent it to me. It was about 6-8 years old though, so, it was old enough to be hardy in my zone 6a in winter. it is a Quartz mountain Live oak. it is even hardier than regular Q. Fusiformis. I've had it in my yard for about 3 years now. I am guessing, BUT, it is at least 3 winters now. It grows slowly, but, it is finally taller than I am, I'm about 5' 7". I am very happy with it. I thought I would NEVER be able to have a Live oak in zone 6a. The new growth tends to harden off really fast, and then you will see a bit more growth. This is an oldish post, but, I just saw it. I would post a pic, but, I am having trouble posting pics.

    There is a whole thread about it on the tree forum. Quartz mountain Live oak is the title. I have pics and so does Joe, Hu and others maybe, IF anyone still cares about this subject anymore.

  • HU-457123172
    last year

    My tree continues to thrive in Maryland!

  • poaky1
    last year

    If you posted a pic of it on the Quartz mountain Live oak thread, I never saw it, OR don't remember. You have the largest one of all of the regulars on the thread. Yours is a Q. Virginiana though, so I guess THAT is why you hadn't posted a pic on the QMLO thread. Well, Joe has the Texas Live oak Q. Fusiformis AND a QMLO version of the Q. Fusiformis. I THINK the Quartz mountain Live oak is hardier, Joe may correct me though. Mine seems to grow a bit, THEN harden off the new growth and THEN grow a small bit more. It has about 6 inches in height and 12+ inches in width each growth spurt, it may not grow too much more the second spurt, though. I think the leaves are smaller and shaped a bit different on the QMLO than the regular Fusi also.

    I don't know IF a reg Fusi would be as hardy here. Maybe IF it was old enough. Maybe I can try to grow one in the greenhouse until it got a large enough trunk. I haven't got a reply from "Alligator Alley" about another QMLO baby, so, I may just try a Texas Fusi baby in the greenhouse. I'm not sure where to get one at though, mail order of course. Later.

  • Dave in NoVA • N. Virginia • zone 7A
    9 months ago

    My live oak produced acorns within about 8 years from planting a 3-gallon size plant. It's helpful to have more than one tree for best cross-pollination.

  • poaky1
    9 months ago

    Hi there Dave. I've gotten some QMLO acorns from Joe in Mo since this post above. I DO have a TXLO in my yard that is still hanging in there, I thought it was dead, but, I had found it alive but intermixed into some tall weeds. It was about 3 1/2 feet tall. I put some styro pool noodles over most of the trunk, so, it MAY regrow well next spring. The top was browsed by deer, BUT, it should regrow and do okay, time will tell. I was shocked the deer came up that close to the house though.

    Now, IF my TXLO recovers, in time it COULD be pollinated by my QMLO, BUT, that will NOT happen for years I am sure. MAYBE about 4-5 years, IF 8 years is a guideline to use. Later.

  • poaky1
    9 months ago

    BTW, my QMLO acorns are growing in pots in my greenhouse, and I will plant them out in the yard when they get a sorta thick trunk, maybe about 1 1/2 inches thick. I'll try using a powerful fan blowing on them to help make a strong trunk when they are in my GH in pots.

  • poaky1
    9 months ago
    last modified: 9 months ago

    After re reading a post I made above, I see that my QMLO is about 8 -10 years old NOW, BUT, my TXLO is about 5-6 years old now, it just kept dying back to the ground each year in winter. I'm hoping the pool noodles will keep at least 2/3rds of the tree alive to build some height up. Now, this winter, so far has been a zone 7 winter, so, I am hoping that all of my TXLO will be good, it MAY still get colder though. Fingers crossed. My QMLO is NEVER fazed by my winters.

  • brad juneau
    7 months ago
    last modified: 7 months ago

    Dave in nova, May I ask your zip code. I too am in nova and a southern live oak is my passion for my property. I’m in Aldie. Where are you??

  • HU-457123172
    7 months ago

    Brad, I’m in Bowie, MD and my Southern Live Oak is thriving. In cold winters, not this year, there is some dieback but it recovers. No acorns though.

  • brad juneau
    7 months ago

    Hi there and thanks. I’ve actually read about your tree In either this or another thread. I may have actually locatwd that thread by doing broad searches for this topic, specifically growing that tree this far north. I’ve done so with excitement and hope that what I’m about to attempt will mimic your success. While I am 6a where this tree will go has a bit of a micro-climate that I believe will help me. I’m originally from south Louisiana where these trees were our play places. Please keep me posted. Would love to see a pic of your tree if you could!! Thx!

  • HU-457123172
    7 months ago

    It was a large mature Live Oak at the University of Maryland at College Park that gave me the confidence to plant the tree many years ago. I purchased the young tree while on a business trip in Charleston, SC. I think it was a Home Depot :-) I am trying to grow a Camellia at a south-facing wall. It is much easier to cover during winter. The National Arboretum in DC has had some success with them. I try and upload a pic of the tree today. It needs some trimming. I never expected it to get so large LOL.

  • HU-457123172
    7 months ago

    BTW, if I recall correctly, the tree at UMD College Park was protected between buildings and probably all the steam blowing around from the heating plant.

  • poaky1
    7 months ago

    Brad, IF you are truly a zone 6a, you will have to try a Quartz mountain Live oak. I have 1 growing here in Pa zone 6a, now, I also have a Texas Live oak that has been dying down to the ground many winters here, BUT, this winter has been a zone 7b winter and so my TXLO has retained most of it's growth this winter, BUT, the Quartz mountain Live oak is a TRULY zone 6a hardy live oak. They grow MUCH slower than the Southern Live oak, BUT, are very hardy. You can get one at "Alligator alley" nursery, IF they have any in stock, and I have sown about 5-7 acorns over the winter and am hoping to keep them alive and growing. Later, and good luck with whatever Live oak you chose. I've only seen 1 acorn have any top growth so far, BUT, they should all be coming up soon.

  • HU-457123172
    7 months ago



  • brad juneau
    7 months ago

    Thanks @poaky1 and @HU, That photo is fantastic. great looking tree. Bowie and Aldie are pretty much on the same latitude. Your distance to the Chesapeake-related watershed/climate may give you an advantage over my spot but as noted I’ve got an optimum spot and I’m going for it!!

  • brad juneau
    7 months ago

    Tell me again, when did you plant that tree??

  • HU-457123172
    7 months ago

    Probably 2005. During bad cold snaps (well below freezing), the tips of the branches due dieback. I don’t see any of that this year. The birds love the thick canopy!

  • poaky1
    6 months ago

    I do envy you with that nice Live oak HU, is THAT the Virginiana or TXLO? MY QMLO and TXLO are BOTH pushing out leaves now, later.

  • HU-457123172
    6 months ago

    Virginiana...”Southern Live Oak.” It is really coming in full this spring!

  • poaky1
    6 months ago

    Hey HU, so you have a Southern Live oak and THAT is the pic you posted of that "sorta" biggish LO? WOW. Sorry, I have been drinking a bit of booze, BUT, so, is that SLO planted in YOUR yard in zone 6a? IF SO, you are NOT zone 6a. I had tried one, a decent sized one many years back that I bought in Florida, (so, NOT very hardy) and it died, BUT, the roots REALLY went wild into my soil, spreading like gangbusters, so sad. I'm THINKING that the tree is NOT growing in YOUR current yard though.

  • HU-457123172
    5 months ago


    Trying some South Carolina Spanish Moss in my Live Oak in Maryland. I have done this in the past. Last time, it made it through the summer but during the fall and early winter the birds took it all. Interesting enough, there are records of Spanish moss in southern Maryland in the colonial times but right now the most northern area is Virginia Beach.

  • poaky1
    5 months ago

    Hey HU, That was a great idea with the Spanish moss. I bet that IF you have a slightly bright room in your place in zone 6a (I'm GUESSING that is where you stay in the winter months) and you can spray some VERY diluted liquid plant food on it every now and then, you can keep that Spanish moss going into winter and replant it in that Maryland tree. It lives in mostly all shade successfully, I do know that some will live in lottsa sun, BUT, you can maybe get away with lottsa shade in winter too. It gets it;s nutrients through the air and rain, right? SO, MAYBE you can figure out what type of nutrients that would give off, I THINK that rain may contain VERY slight amounts of nitrogen, other than that who knows. I would try some spring water from a jug, you can find in Wal_Mart, BUT, maybe that will NOT do anything for it, I'm guessing. I have actually thought about spreading some craft Spanish moss into my QMLO branches just for looks, BUT, that would perhaps be stupid since THAT stuff is NEVER going to look like living Spanish Moss, they spray that stuff to kill bugs and dry it out etc. Your tree is surely looking like it is quite big now. IF you haven't already posted a pic showing the whole tree on the other Live oak tree thread, can you post one here? I am still answering emails, so, I don't know IF you've posted a pic of it yet on the OTHER Live oak thread, later HU :)

  • HU-457123172
    4 months ago

    Poakey1, I only check-in here every so often. What is the other thread? I have only participated on this thread. By the way, my Live Oak has acorns this year!!! I can never recall seeing them before. This year the tree is loaded with them - little things.

  • HU-457123172
    4 months ago

    By the way, you can buy live Spanish Moss on Amazon: Live Spanish Moss, 2.8lbs Fresh Moss from Florida, Product of USA https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WFQGLTS/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_V54dFb4AZV02V
    Here is a pic of my tree from 2020

  • HU-457123172
    4 months ago

    I’m in 7A but not far from 7B. With all this global warming, they will need to shift these zones.

  • HU-457123172
    4 months ago

    Another angle. The birds love this tree!! It is has several Mourning dove nests. Listening to one now! The canopy is so thick. I know SLO require a lot of pruning and I just can’t keep up with it LOL

  • poaky1
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Wow, okay Hu, there must be 2 Hu's on Live oak threads here on GW. There are more than 1 GW Live oak threads. I have 1 Hu's address and name, so, the Hu that I was thinking you were was a Hu from Missouri zone 6a. So, YOU must be another Hu. Sorry for the mixup.

    I THINK the Hu from MIssouri has a Texas Live oak OR a Quartz mountain Live oak like I have, well, I have both a TXLO and a Quartz mountain Live oak. YOU have a Q. Virginiana ONLY, right?

    I had assumed you were the same guy and had 2 home locations, 1 in Missouri and 1 here in zone 7a-7b. I forget the exact title of the other Live oak thread, BUT, it likely has " Quartz mountian Live oak" in the title. Okay, later and congrats on getting acorns on your L.O. tree. I could never grow a Q. Virginiana here in Sw Pa, unless I had it as a Bonsai in my greenhouse in winter. I also have a seedling QMLO that I grew from acorns from another GW er on that other Live oak thread. Later.

  • garygronfors
    4 months ago

    Hi, I'm the guy who started the original thread on Live Oaks. Never thought it would start so much thought on the subject. So the original Ontario, Canada Live Oak died back to the ground after I left it out into below freezing weather. Again it was in a pot that was brought indoors during the winter. The good news is it grew back! and is now on a condo balcony in Toronto ... my son has it. I'll try to post a picture later.

  • poaky1
    4 months ago

    Well, it does seem to show that "Castorcrap" had actually started this thread NOT you, but, anyway, I have ONLY had success with Live oaks in MY zone 6a hardiness zone with 1 Texas Live oak or Quercus Fusiformis and 1 "Quartz Mountain LIve oak" OR a Quercus Fusiformis "Quartz mountain". Now, The ONLY way that I can have success with growing these Live oaks is to protect them all UNTIL they get mature enough for their limbs to be thick enough to stand my zone 6a winters BUT last winter we had a zone 7a or 7b winter here, so, I did have great growth on my Texas Live oak, and it does seem to be great growth so far this year, I just HOPE that the next winter will NOT be a harsh one. My Quartz mountain Live oak has put out about 8 inches of new growth so far now this year. BUT, with all of the days that are 90F and MORE now in my area, I just can't help but think that BOTH of my LIVE OAKS that are planted in the ground will SURELY grow VERY well IF we have heat PLUS a bunch of rain here. BUT, so far we are still "waiting for the rain". I also have a "Baby" Quartz mountain LIve oak tree. I grew it from an acorn that was sent to me by somebody that is in Missouri or Oklahoma. That person had sent me about 8-10 acorns BUT I had only been able to bring 1 acorn to the point of having a nice seedling tree that had come from an acorn. I now am kinda "making sure that seedling stays happy". It has only about 5 leaves now.

  • brandon brooks
    2 months ago

    This live oak may be the Maryland State champion.

  • poaky1
    2 months ago

    Brandon, Your pic hasn't posted, I assume you tried to post a pic here. If you have a pic try posting it again:)

  • brandon brooks
    last month

    @poaky1 Thank you, however, I was referencing the tree posted by @HU-457123172

  • poaky1
    last month

    Okay, I am glad that I am not the only person to mention that there are 2 "HU's". I mentioned it one time and heard NO response from anybody, and I figured, "maybe I am wrong?"

    Yeah, it seems that 1 HU has a Q. Virginia and is in zone 7 (at least) and then another HU has a TXLO or maybe a QMLO in zone 6a or 6b.

    I see that I have the address of the zone 7a or 7b HU and he is in Missourri. I am GUESSING that Missourri is zone 7 a or b. The other Hu I am not sure where they are.

    Okay, later guys.