Arbor Age

Arbor Age Jan/Feb 2013

For more than 30 years, Arbor Age magazine has been covering new and innovative products, services, technology and research vital to tree care companies, municipal arborists and utility right-of-way maintenance companies

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oaks provide an emotional link with the past. Citizens can visit the park and imagine early San Antonians picnicking under the draping canopies with limbs so long and heavy that they touch the ground. It is for these and so many other reasons close to each citizen's heart that the live oak is one of the most loved, revered, and treasured species in San Antonio. — Michael Nentwich, city forester, San Antonio,Texas, Parks & Recreation When you think of Savannah, one of the first images you have is live oaks adorned with Spanish moss.These trees add to the historic beauty and colonial charm that makes Savannah a destination city in the Southeast. Aside from their beauty,the live oaks may be near-perfect trees to have in the urban environment.They have a spreading canopy that can cover a large area, making them great shade trees to cool visitors, residents and historic buildings.The live oaks also keep the city green all winter long. Aside from the environmental benefits, live oaks can compartmentalize very well when injured, so they don't decay rapidly like other trees. Most of the deadwood is strong and secure, making them safer compared to other trees with similar diameters of deadwood. Live oaks can withstand weather events better than other tree species in Savannah, which helps lower the liability to the City.Their canopy provides a great habitat for a variety of wildlife, songbirds, lizards, and small mammals.The live oak is a very popular tree to have on one's property and can add considerable value. I cannot think of a more perfect tree for this city. Kudos, Quercus virginiana! — Michael Pavlis, tree maintenance supervisor, Park and Tree, City of Savannah, Ga. Southern live oak… No other tree species evokes such powerful classic imagery of the Southland. Graceful limbs draped in Spanish moss and resurrection fern arch over roadways to form a cathedral-like effect that leaves an indelible impression on all onlookers. Southern live oak is synonymous with Savannah; it is an integral part of the City's history, identity, character, and charm. The durability of live oak wood is legendary. The USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world (1797), was constructed using framework and timbers made of live oak harvested in Brunswick, Georgia. The ship was dubbed "Old Ironsides" for its ability to withstand canon fire.Why, I sometimes wonder, did Savannah's forefathers decide to plant Southern live oak so prominently throughout the city? Perhaps the species had already earned a reputation for strength and toughness! An ordinance passed by the General Assembly of the State of Georgia in 1895 established the first Park & Tree Commission in Savannah.The following year, the Commission expressed its preference for the use of live oak due to its long lifespan and hardiness.This legacy of live oak trees has endured to the benefit of generations of Savannahians. Southern live oak is hands-down the most durable, storm resistant, hardy tree in the Southeast and is truly a tree for the ages. — Bill Haws, forestry administrator, Park and Tree, City of Savannah Article provided by the Society of Municipal Arborists. Editor's Note: Arbor Age magazine is not affiliated with the Society of Municipal Arborists or the Urban Tree of the Year selection. By Len Phillips, ASLA Emeritus Botanical Name: Quercus virginiana Common Name: Live Oak, Southern Live Oak Family: Fagaceae Height: 40 to 80 feet Spread: 60 to 100 feet Growth Rate: Fast to moderate, 2 to 3 feet a year in youth, slows down with age Form: Massive and wide-spreading tree, horizontal branching Bloom Period: Early spring, late March to early April Flower: Brown catkins in clumps Acorn: 1/2 inch to 1 inch long, 1 to 5 per stem, 1/3 covered by cap, dark brown to black Spring Color: Old leaves drop off in spring, new leaves bright olive green Summer Foliage: Dark green, glossy, willow leaf shaped Autumn Foliage: No fall color Winter Interest: Evergreen leaves provide winter color Bark: Very dark, almost black, blocky appearance on mature trees Roots: Can form large surface roots Habitat: Native to the southeastern part of the United States Culture: Prefers moist bottomland, well-drained soil, tolerates alkaline and compacted soils Pest Problems: No serious disease or insect problems, very longlived tree exceeding 300 years Storm Resistance: Excellent Salt Resistance: Excellent Planting: Transplant in small sizes Propagating: Seed Pruning: For good structure prune annually in first 5 years, then every 5 years to age 30 Design Uses: Excellent specimen for parks, streets without sidewalks, mansions, and other large landscapes Companions: Best with other Live Oaks, junipers, and lawns Other Comments: Excellent specimen, suitable for street tree, usually graced with Spanish moss and strongly reminiscent of the Old South, extremely tolerant of hurricane force winds, useful in reforestation projects Awards: 2013 Urban Tree of the Year by the Society of Municipal Arborists; it is also the official state tree of Georgia Available from: Most large nurseries in Southeastern United States. Fact Sheet: factsheet.cfm?ID=78 Arbor Age / January/February 2013 9

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