[fusion_text]IMG_6508 copyA statuesque live oak resides in The Elizabethan Gardens that horticulturists believe was around in the late 1500s when the English explored Roanoke Island. Just imagine a tree not only living that long but surviving all the storms for which the Outer Banks and coastal islands are known. The live oak (Quercus Virginiana) also inhabits the area’s maritime forests, and some islanders are fortunate enough to have the grand trees as a part of their landscape.

Averaging a height of 50 to 100 feet with a width up to four feet, these regal trees feature dark green, unlobed waxy leaves. Live oaks grow nearly horizontal and have long branches that result in a dense crown. Live oaks have an interesting timing regarding the growth of their leaves. They fall from the tree in the spring as new leaves sprout. As a result, it is not considered a bona fide evergreen. The live oak’s acorns provide food for animals including birds, squirrels, and deer.

The tree is a good choice for coastal folk as it is salt-resistant and plays an excellent role in erosion control in sandy soil. Outer Banks live oak owners may find it fascinating that scientists have actually experimented with the effects of pruning on how a tree responds to hurricane winds. The goal was to examine how various pruning techniques affect how the trunk moves during high-wind storms. Using a wind generator simulating 110 mph winds, they subjected trees for three minutes. They compared non-pruned tree movement to trees with crowns that had been raised, reduced or thinned. Results showed that crowns that were thinned or reduced significantly reduced trunk movement, but raising did not. The experiment showed that branches and foliage toward the top portion of the crown is mostly responsible for trunk movement in straight-line wind. The final prognosis: reduced or thinned upper crowns can receive less damage in hurricanes.  If you are considering making your live oak more wind resistant, seek advice from an expert. They can guide you how to care for this venerable and historic tree.[/fusion_text][fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][/fullwidth]