Return to the Tennessee Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Posted by tennesseestorm 6B-7A (N.E. TN) (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 22, 06 at 1:57

Hello. I am wondering if anyone here in Tennessee has a southern live oak tree. I am in northeast Tennessee on the 6b-7a border and want to give one of these a try. My father said it would perish here, but I want to try anyway. Officially, it is rated as low as "7a", but as mentioned, we are on the border. So, I am trying to see just how far north and east in the state has anyone had luck with these.

I know they grow in Memphis and probably Nashville and Chattanooga - but what about north and east of there?

Any info appreciated.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

There is a good sized one here in Athens, TN. I was told that it was planted about 30 years ago I believe. There are smaller ones here also that have been planted within the last 10 years.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Thanks for that info. That is encouraging news! Since we are on the 7A border, it may have a chance here too.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

To update, I have purchased two southern live oak trees. I need as much as advice as possible. These are going to be 12 inch trees. Planting - how deep should I plant them and how often should I water them? Also, should I spread mulch around them?

Many thanks in advance!


 o
RE: Southern live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east

There have been previous discussions on live oaks in this forum - may still be available, but may be buried way back in the old pages.
TX live oak/escarpment live oak, Q.fusiformis, probably has a better shot at holding up well in TN, than does Southern live oak, Q.virginiana, as it's more of an 'inland' species.
Still, I know of a Q.virginiana growing and doing well in Huntsville AL, and there's one here in Hopkinsville KY that was planted in 1970, on the campus of the community college - it evidently froze to the ground at least once in its lifetime - is now a multi-stemmed 'copse' of live oak trunks, currently about 15-20 ft tall, and producing small numbers of acorns on a regular basis.
There is an agronomy professor at Murray St. University(Murray KY) who has a number of different live oaks growing in his yard, from acorns he collected in his travels - some are 25+ years old, and have sustained minimal winter damage.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Knoxville on the edge of the national park


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Thanks for the replies. Interesting - I did not know there were different varieties of live oak. I thought that the "southern" part was often left out. Well, now I am unsure what I have on the way. Perhaps I have the "TX live oak"? I will have to look into that.

Thanks for the comment about one in Kentucky. I am sure if one would survive there, then surely one has a chance in NE TN. Thanks again!


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

An aquaintance of mine has a live oak that was planted about 15 years ago after being purchased in Georgia. it has never frozen to the ground and is approx. 25' tall now. This is in Jackson which is also on the 6b-7a line.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

I think we have one in our back yard, can I send you a picture of it?

This tree is huge though


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Does anyone know if Southern Live Oak will grow in middle Tennessee?


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Most references list the hardiness zone for Quercus virginiana as 7b or warmer (many even list it as 8b). If you plant this tree in a cooler area, you should realize that it may not survive, and even if it does survive for a while, a cold winter later on may kill it. You should also realize that it may tend to be frequently damaged by cold winters and suffer die-back even if it's not completely killed. You will find very few older Southern Live Oaks in areas cooler than 7b. This is not because people haven't tried hard to grow them there.

If you are aware of this and still want one, give it a try. One thing that might help just a little is to source your tree from as cold an area as possible. A tree originally from a colder area can sometimes survive the cold better than a tree with a warmer area provenance.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Well, to update.... my Southern Live Oaks have been in the ground for about 8 months now. They did very well over the summer and have really grown quite a bit. Interesting to see how well they hold up to a NE TN winter. :D


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

please keep us updated on their progress through the winter and also any protection methods you use too. I had a couple of live oak hitch hickers come home with us from True Blue nursery in a pot that had a pindo palm in it a couple of years ago. Id like to try live oaks in the ground next, they would go good with the palms we have in the ground I think.

I3


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

No offense brandon7, but maybe you should drive around Knoxville sometime. UT has the state record live oak and I have found at least 4 other large size live oaks in the area. It amazes me that people keep clinging to incorrect zone info. Go to the NOAA records and look at the low remperatures for the past 15 years.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Myrtleoak,

Maybe you should reread my post as well as the original post and reconsider some of your assumptions. First, we are definitely officially in zone 6b. That is a fact. Our weather, in the last few years, has been trending warmer. That means, here in Knoxville, we have been somewhere near the boarder of zone 7a and 7b. The original post states that the writer lives in northeast Tennessee (further north and colder than Knoxville).

Secondly, Just because we have been abnormally warm for the past few years, this does not mean that we will continue to see this trend. In fact, there are predictions of cooling for this particular area in the next few winters. I don't guess anyone knows for sure if that will actually happen but it certainly is a possibility worth consideration.

Thirdly, The champion tree at UT is somewhat small compared to a lot of Quercus virginiana. I'm not sure how old it is but the term champion tree would definitely have to be relative here. Very importantly, it is in a heat island. That tree, because of it's surroundings both immediate and local (near downtown), experiences considerably higher temperatures than surrounding areas.

Lastly, I didn't say that the tree would not survive, I simply stated that one should consider the possible hardiness limitations.

If you disagree with the facts, maybe take it up with the authorities. You could start by writing to Michael Dirr (I'm sure you've heard of him). He had the audacity to list Quercus virginiana as zone 8!


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

The coldest temperature reported at the airport in the past 10 years has been 10 degrees. If we are "officially" in zone 6b, when was the last time that it got below zero? 20 years ago? I researched a zone map from the 60's: we were in zone 7. A new map that was released last year was then pulled by the USDA, listing us well into zone 7. Southern living's map says zone 7, the Arbor Day map says zone 7. I find that may people I talk to don't even actually know the temperature ranges for the zones! Though I will concede with you that we are obviously not in ideal conditions for the tree, I have been frustrated in recent years at what I view as excessive conservatism on the part of landscapers in Knoxville. Please don't tell me that you're one of those that still denies global warming!


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

The USDA publishes the zone charts that places Knoxville in zone 6b. They are the ones that set the official zones. There are reasons they haven't changed the chart. Some of it may be red tape/laziness, but, while our winters recently have been much warmer, that doesn't necessarily mean that will continue to the degree it has been so far. And, that is partly why a newer zone chart, put out a few years ago, was withdrawn.

If you look into what is causing Knoxville to be warmer in recent years, it is not primarily because of global warming. Global warming is responsible for a small average global change (around one degree in the past century). By the way, the temperatures that McGhee Tyson report should not be used for climate analysis; they are consistently a heat island and not representative of area temperatures. Don't get me wrong here; global warming should definitely be a huge concern to everyone. Unfortunately very few people seem to care enough to really look into and understand it.

Knoxville and this section of the country are experiencing more rapid average temperature rises because of changing weather patterns. Some parts of the country are actually getting colder. Some theories suggest that this change in pattern is caused by global warming, but the larger change we have seen here would be at least an indirect response to global warming. No one is sure how this pattern will change in coming years. Our temperatures could fall back closer to normal and other areas could receive the hotter weather patterns, or we could start warming even quicker. Many studies predict a cooling trend for this area in the next few years.

BTW, while Arbor Day Foundation (a questionable organizations in MANY MANY aspects) has recently changed their chart, Southern Living, like almost everyone else still uses the official USDA hardiness zone chart for temperature. You may have inadvertently looked at their heat zone chart which would be zone 7. This is not the same as the hardiness zone chart. There is also a "Southern Living Zones" chart put out a few years ago that is based on the USDA hardiness map plus some other non-temperature climate factors. I'm not sure, but I don't think this "Southern Living Zones" chart has numbers.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Don't think that my discussion is in anyway malevolent (I am very passionate about plants!) I have long thought that many areas of Knox Co are in fact a heat island. Both the urban and suburban aspects as well as close proximity to the river and/or lakes contribute to this. But there are multiple good sized live oaks in the immediate metro area, this ia a observable fact. I am sure that you are aware that many nurseries in Knoxville have been stocking zone 7 plants for several years now. Personally, I will continue to plant for zone 7 unless I am proven otherwise. I saw the prototype for the new zone map that was pulled; I have read theories that the USDA pulled the map because they were shocked at how much warming had actually taken place! You are correct in stating that we may in fact have several below average winters in the future, but one must look at the general trend. Things will continue to warm overall; a cold spell may only produce lows @ 5 or 10 as opposed to 0 (which is how it has appeared in the last 15 years). We are due for a zone map update and the USDA is stalling. Why is this? Every year goes into the average, so if the data is there it should be published. Do you only plant for zone 6b and play it safe or are you in the process of any zone testing? BTW where I live in west Knox actually is in zone 7 on the "official" map. I guess at this point neither of us can prove much of anything; we will have to wait and see.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Most of the things I plant are zone 6 or lower tolerant. That's because of a couple of things. One reason is that most of the stuff I am planting these days are trees in my arboretum that I want to be around for the next 100 years. I don't really want to take a chance where I don't have to, and there are plenty of trees that are for cooler area. By that same token, I am not planting trees that cannot live well in at least zone 8. So I'm trying to be safe on both sides. I recently planted about a dozen different species of Quercus and there's still many times that many to go before I would have to go to higher zone oaks like the Live Oak. There are some really neat zone 8 oaks that I would love to plant, but there's just no way I would push my luck that much especially in a lower area.

Another reason I am sticking mostly to cold hardier trees is that the areas I am currently planting are mostly lower areas (potential cold pockets). The hilltop is in the process of being developed. Once that area is cleared for planting, I will definitely plant some warmer area plants. I think zone 7 plants would be a reasonably safe bet on a hilltop in the Knoxville area, but so far, I only have one zone 7 plant in my arboretum.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

"The Society anticipated USDA would soon issue its final approval and publish the map itself. However, the agency concluded 3-4 months later that the map was flawed and decided not to finalize it. One reason USDA cited was that the revised map, which shows that the vast majority of areas aren't getting quite as cold, was not based on a long enough time period. The delayed map was based on 16 years of data (a bit more than the 13 years used in USDA's 1990 map), but USDA officials say that a longer interval, say 30 years, better reflects the typical year-to-year vacillations in the weather. Critics say the effort to use older data only serves to mask the effects of the steady rise in temperature over the past 20 years or so, and accuse the Bush administration of squelching the release of the updated map for reasons of climate-change politics".

Hmmm...
(lowest recorded temp thus far:12)


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

WOW! I did not realize there were so many replies since my last report in November. Well, let me update. My Southern Live Oaks are still hanging in there, even after a record low of 8 at my house on December 8. One is still looking very good and one is looking glum. It still has some green foliage, but it has lost alot. Its my understanding anyway, that these are "semi-evergreen" especially in the northern range, so I am hoping that it will recover in the spring. We are in line for another hard freeze tonight and tomorrow night, with lows forecasted to be in the lower teens (near 10 tomorrow night). I may cover them, just to be safe, especially since this is their first winter here. Someone mentioned a flourishing SLO tree in Jackson. I imagine that if one will grow there, it will easily grow here. Jackson has been known to often get as cold as Bristol, despite the lower elevation. We have not been below zero for years and this single digit reading, is the coldest we had been in a few years. It did not get below 15 here at my house last winter.

I have been interestingly reading the discussions between Brandon7 and Myrtleoak.

Now, this really has nothing to do with the Oak tree discussion, but I wanted to discuss this.....
Brandon7 made a statement about where Knoxville is warmer than northeast TN (where he said the original poster was from- which was me). I am actually in Bristol to be specific- which is around 1500-1700 ft (as low as 1200 in the western Kingsport area). vs Knoxvilles 800-1100 ft. range. This statement got me to thinking about something. The ALL-TIME record low for Knoxville is actually colder than Bristol's all-time record low. Knoxville dropped to -23 on January 21 1985, whereas Bristol (officially reported at Tri-Cities airport) dropped to -21 on that same day, which means that Knoxville's all-time record low is 2 colder than that of the Tri-Cities. (BTW- we have been nowhere near that cold since then and hopefully never will again). Whats even more interesting is that as Brandon7 mentioned, it seems like the McGee Tyson airport, which is Knoxville's official reporting station, seems to be in a "heat island" area, as they seem to always be the warmest area in Knoxville. Here is where it gets interesting. At the Tri-Cities airport, which is the official reporting station for the Tri-Cities metro. Its interesting, because its the opposite here, because the airport is typically the COOLEST area in our metro area.... its most always cooler there than it is in the actual cities of Bristol, Kingsport or Johnson City. Those not aware, our airport is located in the middle of these three cities, right off of I-81 and is located very close to a river and is lower in elevation, which has been said is the reason it is often so much cooler there. On clear nights, there have been times it has been as much as 5-8 cooler there than at my house in southeast Bristol. So, its possible that even here at my house, our all-time record may not even be as low as -21. I was pretty young then, so I do not remember that well and at the time, we lived in the city limits. We are in a rural area now, just off of the outskirts of the city limits.

Its interesting about the zones, because I know of three and there are some that say different. All has us in zone 6B, but one shows that we are on the eastern edge of 7A "microclimate". It has Kingsport (which is in the western part of my county) in zone 7A and has 7A as close as 15 miles west of here. I do not recall which one that is. Actually, I know of two that have us in 7A, so thats why I say I am 6B-7A border.

When we went to Charlotte last September, there was a nice sized Southern Live Oak tree at our motel. I think they are around zone 7B. It seemed very healthy and had appeared to have been there for at least 15-20 years- maybe more.

I like "southern" type trees, so which is why I have many trees that are zones 7b and higher growing here.

Also, as someone mentioned, you really cannot always go by zones. Its like the Southern Magnolia. Its rated a 7A- which as mentioned, we are on the border of. I have a Southern Magnolia that I have had for 13 years and it has thrived. We have some in town that I know survived the -21 all-time record in 1985, because these trees are huge and we know they are slow growers, so I know they are at least 30-50 years old. So that "7a" for a SM tree may be a little out of sorts.

Also, I have some Longleaf pines... also a "7A" zoned tree.... they have thrived and we also have some of these at a couple of areas in town that have been there for years. I know they have survived below zero temps before. I also have a Windmill Palm tree. It endured that 8 record low morning with no fanfare. I will likely cover it tomorrow (Monday) night however.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Interesting post, Tennesseestorm. I live over in Erwin, which, according to the traditional thinking, should be a somewhat colder area than most of the Tri-Cities; however, we also tend to be on the warm side. Unicoi can be rather cold, but Erwin tends to stay a few degrees warmer than the airport temperature.

Speaking of live oaks, a neighbor of mine has a huge live oak in her backyard. I didn't notice it until the leaves had fallen from the other trees. I don't think it is a Southern Live Oak, per se, but it is a live oak of some sort. The leaves are larger and less leathery than the live oaks that seem so popular down in the low country.

I also have a few small live oaks, and they've done fine in the cold weather. In fact, I didn't even think to cover them this cold night. I didn't last year when we had some very chilly weather and they did fine.

I'll be interested in hearing how your trees pull through this winter.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

BTW, other evergreen oaks are much more common here than Live Oaks. Large Live Oaks in Tennessee (especially upper Tennessee) are fairly rare. In past years, Live Oaks would have likely been killed or severely damaged be freezing temperatures unless they were planted in an unusually warm area (heat island). Live Oaks are rated for zone 8. One example of an evergreen oak that can be found around here is Quercus hemisphaerica (Laurel Oak).


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Ironic that this topic of interest should come up. My husband is currently in Texas, never having been there before. I used to live in Bay City - and I was always in awe of the "Live Oaks" - he just recently commented on the "weird oaks" he was seeing. Based upon his description I feel fairly confident he has encountered the Live Oaks and I asked him to hunt for acorns or, if time permitted, to inquire to nurseries for me because I wanted to see if I could get one or more to survive here as well. Oaks are always a good investment (unless they can't live in a place and end up croaking that is)...

I haven't personally seen any in TN despite having previously lived in Oak Ridge, Oliver Springs, and spending some time on the UTofK campus... and now living "down here" I don't see them, but certainly don't discount them being "around" - just not in numbers like in Texas. They seemed most abundant near rivers when I lived in TX. I assume that aside from heat and humidity, they would probably be heavy drinkers not too unlike so many willows. Our summers certainly get warm enough for them, but I would definitely heavily mulch young trees for the winters and quite possibly take other measures to protect the rest of the tree for our winters.

Was it a mail-order nursery that you acquired the trees from, or is there one in TN that carries them?


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

In reference to brandon7, both the Laurel Oak and Darlington Laurel Oak are wonderful trees that should be planted much more frequently! I like the Willow Oak, but it is becoming overplanted. Why are the aforementioned oaks not stocked and utilized more in this area? The tree is a common street tree in Athens, Ga, but there are only about 10 or so planted downtown and on campus (much less in west Knox). To add to brandon7's reply, the two laurel oaks and the live oak can be somewhat tricky when trying to differentiate! BTW: Maybe the most impressive true Live Oak that I have seen in the area is in Rocky Hill near where I live. Sometimes I make a detour just to look at it!


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Hello. Yeah, you are right... it seems like the slightly higher elevation of Erwin would be cooler, but it seems like the Tri-Cities airport is usually the coolest spot in the metro area. I think the "cooler" areas would be east of Erwin and heading down I-26 into the high country of W. NC and areas like Flag Pond, where I am sure trees like this would perish.

About covering my Live Oaks.... they probably did not need it, as the temperature dropped to 14 here as opposed to the 12 that was originally forecasted. Actually, when I posted that message, they were forecasting a low of 9, but kept "tweaking" it, because of the increased cloud cover last night.... it was 19, but then there was a couple hours of clearing and it cooled down to the mid 10s. Same could not be said for southern West Virginia, where temperatures dropped to -2 in Beckley. I think survival of any zone 7 or higher tree up there would be minimal.

As mentioned, my SLO's are still doing fine, but one is looking glum. It really never looked that healthy, even in the summer, despite new growth. It may be the type of soil I have it planted in, or it may have been "ill" to start with. Also, in the summer, one of them seemed to have developed a white looking fungus on it. Ironically, it is the one with the most foliage. It went away when temperatures cooled, but I still thought it was strange. There was times when it would "kill off" some of the new growth.

QUOTE:
Posted by mikeatle z7 TN (My Page) on Mon, Feb 5, 07 at 21:54
Interesting post, Tennesseestorm. I live over in Erwin, which, according to the traditional thinking, should be a somewhat colder area than most of the Tri-Cities; however, we also tend to be on the warm side. Unicoi can be rather cold, but Erwin tends to stay a few degrees warmer than the airport temperature.

I'll be interested in hearing how your trees pull through this winter.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Something to consider for those up around Bristol - which isn't far from Johnson City (another judge/show spot) - there's a distinct "pocket" up in that area, which could easily have a (beneficial) impact on plants not generically zoned for the area. Mountains, hills, valleys, gorges, and no small amount of water sources.... factors to consider (and IMHO prime factors to try pushing/testing the zone envelope).


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

I agree. There are areas just to the north and east of the Tri-Cities metro that can get much colder than the actual Tri-Cities. I think we also have several "micro-climates" here. On a clear night, on a certain road I have to travel on to come home, my cars outside temp gauge will drop about 3-4 in a certain area. Ironically, its the same area where zone 7a trees are growing and thriving. Someone has a huge Southern Magnolia and Longleaf pines. Of course my Southern Magnolia and Longleafs are doing extremely well as well, but we are in a warmer area than those. I have had my Magnolia since 1995 and it has thrived.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

I should correct myself: Actually, Knoxville's all-time record low is -24, not -23 like I stated before. So, their all-time record is actually 3 colder than Tri-Cities.

QUOTE:
The ALL-TIME record low for Knoxville is actually colder than Bristol's all-time record low. Knoxville dropped to -23 on January 21 1985, whereas Bristol (officially reported at Tri-Cities airport) dropped to -21 on that same day, which means that Knoxville's all-time record low is 2 colder than that of the Tri-Cities. (BTW- we have been nowhere near that cold since then and hopefully never will again).


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

I just wanted to update this - its been awhile! Well, summer of 2007, these trees thrived and grew alot. This winter (for the first time), they did not lose all of their leaves. They retained the leaves until spring, when the old ones fell after new ones sprouted. Now the trees have heavy new growth. One in particular has already grown a foot this year! The other is not growing as fast, but it has heavier foliage (larger leaves).

SOOOO... to anyone in east Tennessee or southwestern Virginia wanting to plant a Southern Live Oak... GO FOR IT!!!! :D


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Great that this thread popped up. I am a Gulf Coast native (Baldwin Co. AL) and would love to have a live oak in my yard here in Middle TN. I just love the bowed trunks they form back home. Hey, maybe I could even get some spanish moss to grow in one.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Yeah, a Live Oak would be fine there. Not sure about the Spanish Moss though. Maybe short-term. I bought tons of spanish moss last summer and while it thrived all summer, about 90% of it perished last winter and it did not even get below 13 here last winter (which is still 12 below our coldest average low). About 10% survived, but its not growing yet. I thought I would see some growth by now? I thought this stuff was supposed to bloom? Maybe mine is too far gone. I did bring some in during very cold spells and it survived. I just misted it with non-chlorinated (sp?) water ever so often. I have heard of some in middle TN that has had the moss for years and its survived, but its a little warmer there for the most part.

Good luck!


 o
RE: Southern live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Mon, May 19, 08 at 11:38

"Yeah, a Live Oak would be fine there."

That statement would ABSOLUTELY require some caveats. Just because our weather has been abnormally warmer for about a decade doesn't mean we can ignore zone requirements. One needs to be informed before deciding to push the zone ratings. Even now, the actual-temperature zone ratings in middle TN range from around 6b to 8a, depending on location. 6b is considerably colder than Quercus virginiana's hardiness rating. If temperatures trend back toward normal, you'd really have a problem.

Before deciding to plant one of these trees, a gardener would have to determine what zone they were in (at least the "current" or actual-temperatures rating) and take into account things like micro-climates and what would be likely to happen in the future. Planting a tree far outside of its rated hardiness area calls for at least some thought.

Basically, the warmer parts of middle TN look pretty promising for a Southern Live Oak while the colder areas could be a real challange.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Hey Tennesseestorm havent herd from you in a while. How are the Live Oaks doing? I saw you were talking about me a few posts back. I left Spanish Moss outside for most of 07-08 winter and had at least 80 percent of it survive. That is a conservative estimate! It seems to like shade to part shade the best. I have been experimenting with ways to keep it outside without having to bring it inside when it gets cold (below 10 degrees farenheight). From my observations the factor that kills spanish moss the most in the winter is ice and snow. The snow is not too bad but it can start to melt and then freeze onto the spanish Moss. Anytime the the moss is incased in ice it will almost certainly die cause it does everything through its foliage unlike other plants which have roots to help them out in cold weather. Basically the Moss suffocates to death if it is incased in ice. I had been using canvas to shield it from ice, but that didn't work. after that I came up with a very good idea to save lots of time when bringing it inside I simply trim the branch off of the tree that the moss is on and bring it into the garage or an unheated room. I only do this when snow and ice is forcasted or if temperatures are forcast to go below 5 degrees farenheight as soon as these events are over the spanish moss goes back outside. Until the next bout of freezing precipitation of extreme cold starts to set in. We are forcast to go to 0 degrees F. this week and I am gonna leave a little bit of my moss ouside to see how it does. I'm not holding out much hope. I'm mainly doing it for curiositys sake.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Thanks for the information on growing live oaks in the Knoxville area! During a recent trip to the lowcountry, I was advised we are just a bit too far north to grow a live oak successfully, and I thought that might not be the case considering magnolias grow around here just fine. I think I'm going to give it a shot.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Nikki,
Which species are you going to grow? Do you have a good microclimate available for planting? Which magnolia are you comparing to which live oak?


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

I live between Murfreesboro and McMinnville and have two live oaks, Q.virginiana and Q.fusiformis. The Q.v. was planted as a one gallon 6-8 years ago and is 8-9 feet high. It has never completely held green foliage through a winter, but has never suffered any loss of wood. It hasn't been tested though, we haven't been colder than the lower single digits since its been planted. Q.f. has been in the ground since March of this year, but spent last winter outside plunged and mulched and suffered no loss of foliage, but there was some discoloration. Both trees are in an open field, mostly fully exposed except for a couple large pines to the north. The Q.v. was purchased as Q.f. from a nursery in TN but it absolutely not, and the Q.f. was purchased at a nursery in TX and is correctly labeled.

A nursery in Warren County not far from me has a Q.v. that went through the historic cold of Jan. 1985. It came as a "hitchhiker" in a shipment of plants from Florida and was planted out near the road. I don't know the date of planting. I saw the tree in the spring of '85 and although the foliage was rough, it looked remarkably well for having endured negative 15-20F. It is still there, growing slowly beneath the utility wires and it hasn't reached them yet!

I have seen the so-called live oak at UTK. I don't believe it is Q. virginiana, although it may be a hybrid. It is a large tree and fully evergreen so I'm told. I have seedlings from this tree that spent last winter in a compot plunged and mulched outdoors. All seedlings defoliated in the first cold of Dec. I think my low was 5F. The seedlings were planted out in March in an open field and all are alive. They will get no care except for the cage to keep the cottontail rats out. The foliage of these seedlings is all over the lot, but NONE look like Q.v. Several however, do look like their parents.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

In the late 1970�s while taking a course in ornamental trees at the University of Tennessee College of Agriculture there was a Southern Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) growing on the campus. The tree periodically died back from freeze damage and from recollection was about 10' tall with a caliper of about 8" and in very poor condition. Quercus virginiana can be easily distinguished by the bark and habit in the winter from other semi-evergreen oaks. I can�t help but think some more winter hardy species of oaks are mistaken for Quercus virginiana.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Upon further analysis, I now think that the two live oak specimens on campus are actually the chinese evergreen oak. There are, however, 5 trees that I am convinced are true virginiana. Two are at private residences in west knoxville and 3 line a road in Bearden near a large funeral home. Be advised: no virginiana will be truly evergreen here; they aren't even truly evergreen most years along the carolina coast. To the last poster, things have changed quite a bit climate-wise since the 70's. Don't assume that observations from that time are relevant today. Also, it is not unusual for live oaks to be killed back a foot or more from time to time along the ne coast of NC and the se VA, the northern-most range of virginiana. I would advice planting specimens from this provenance, however, for the best long-term success.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Sorry I haven't responded in a while... was having difficulty logging in the forum. I live in Roane County, just west of Knoxville. I went to the UT campus yesterday and was unsuccessful in finding the live oak tree. I did, however, find a large Chinese Evergreen Oak. I wonder if people have mistook this tree for a Live Oak as its the only tree that's still got bright green leaves on it in the fall/winter. Is there really a live oak in Knoxville? What about this one in Athens TN that someone mentioned? I am sure I can grow one here if I use acorns from a live oak that is growing here. If my neighbor can grow a banana tree, surely I can grow a healthy live oak!


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

The current state champion Quercus virginiana is on the UT campus, unless it's gone now. Next time you're going by there, email Andy Paulte ( apulte@utk.edu ) before hand and ask him what you need to do for him to give you a personal tour. Tell him someone told you he gave free tours. LOL


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Here is one of three live oaks across from Highland Cemetary in Knoxville. They are about 30 feet tall and look quite healthy.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Here's a live oak in Kingston, TN, at a private residence.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

FOrgot to add --The picture directly above, of the tree in Kingston, was taken in January 2012, in the winter.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

And here are the live oaks I ordered from Arborday.com. The leaves were brown and falling off when they reached me in March. One tree has normal lobeless leaves and the other two have developed the leaves you see here. Should I leave these in pots through the winter, or should I go ahead and put them in the ground? I live on a southeast facing slope.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Hello all,
I noticed this thread regarding growing,or attempting to grow, Live oaks (Quercus virginiana) in Tennessee and wanted to relate my experience. I am located at the foot of the GSMNP and I have had a potted Q. virginiana for about 6 years now. I purchased this tree in Charleston, SC from Middleton Plantation nursery initially as a bonsai project.

The tree defoliated during a cold winter day (10 degrees F) a few winters back but reflushed as temps began to sustain above 40F. The top growth died last winter but has agressively root sprouted this season.

My advise regarding trying to grow this tree would be to locate in a protected area with full sun thereby creating a microclimate. Make sure the roots are mulched in well to at least the dripline. Be prepared for some winter dieback as temps dip below 10F. If the roots are alive, you may end up with a live oak shrub or a small multi-stemmed tree.

The state record live oak for Tennessee is located on the UT campus in front of the Perkins Engineering building. I am sketical regarding the identification as Q. virginiana for a couple of reasons: (1) it sustained -24F temps and survived, (2) the leaf shape has lobes. Q. virginiana has thick, unlobed evergreen leaves. Because of reason 2, the pictures submitted by nikki I do not believe are of Q. virginiana. Live oaks (species of evergreen and semi-evergreen:laurel, darlington, water), as well as many deciduous oaks tend to hybridize with other oaks. I tend to lean towards the UT tree as a hybrid as well as others that may be noted in Eastern and Middle Tennessee that have attained any significant height.

Here is a link from Dr Kim Coder (UGA) regarding Q. virginiana that may be of some interest. He has done, and continues to do a lot of work with Live oaks.

Here is a link that might be useful: Live Oak State Tree of Georgia


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

I believe you are right, those seedlings are some kind of hybrid. I went to visit the large live oaks in Knoxville again and I didn't see any leaves with lobes -- classic dark green lobeless leaves with edges slightly curled under. They are producing acorns so I took a few.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

One of three healthy quercus virginiana in Knoxville, TN, in front of Highland Cemetary, and a couple of acorns from it. The leaves on this one were classic live oak lobeless leaves, slightly curled under around the edges. The branches near the base of the trunk were removed, I guess to keep the tree from spreading too close to the pavement.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

here are the acorns I got off the above shown live oak in Knoxville, TN


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Nikki,

Those acorns are NOT Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) acorns! They appear to be Q hemisphaerica, or, since hybrid oaks are the norm, possibly a hybrid with lots of hemisphaerica sap (as opposed to blood).


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

I looked up quercus virginiana and you are right. They don't match a TX live oak either. I'll take a more close up picture of the leaves next time I go.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

nikki7--I took a look at the 3 oak trees (see your pics) planted within the median island at Highland Cemetary in Knoxville yesterday. These guys are Willow oaks (Quercus phellos). This is a very popular street tree that tends to hold some green leaves during mild winters.

Here is kind of a handy pdf publication available from the UT Extension regarding identifying oaks that are native to Tennessee (Willow oak included).

Here is a link that might be useful: Identifying Oak Trees Native to Tennessee


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Brandon's right... those are Quercus hemisphaerica.. another evergreen oak native to the southeast. It's quite similar to a live oak and has the same native range. Willow oaks are native here and also widely planted as a street tree. I've never seen them actually keep green leaves -- they turn a pretty pumpkin orange in the fall.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Here's another picture of the Highland Cemetary specimens...this pic is older -- I took it in January 2012.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

I live in extreme SW Missouri, for you in Tenn. plant a Texas Live Oak, they grow here. They stay green all year, they do not get as big as Southern Live oaks, but do have the characteristic horizontal tops and get the low hung branches. The variation is called Quercus Fusiformis and can withstand temperatures to -20 below.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Q fusiformis (aka Q virginiana v fusiformis) is most commonly listed as hardy to zone 7. Some sources only claim zone 8. For those wanting to consider this plant, keep in mind that the -20F figure was a short-term temperature dip in certain conditions. Of course, here in most of Tennessee, we don't normally have to worry about temperatures this low now, but one still needs to realize the relevance and associated parameters of such a record.


 o
RE: Souther live oak - who in TN has one and how far north/east ?

Yep, these trees can't withstand days of below zero, it would be something like a night or day of zero temps, then above freezing the next day, then maybe 50 degrees the next. But Quercus Fusiformis grow wild in far west Oklahoma which regularly gets to -5 below, so it's cold hardy.

Here is mine I planted a couple years ago

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Tennessee Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here