California Coastal live Oak Care Sheet


California Coastal live Oak Care Sheet

California Coastal Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia is the quintessential Californian tree. Its most distinct feature is the cupping round leaf which is spiny and toothed. The leaves come in many varieties. Some more cupped, varying sizes, and lengths. This might have something to do with hybridization. Yet there are different cultivars.   

Soil: In its natural environment Coastal live oaks prefer loam. That is sand, silt with a bit of clay. We will not do that. I use a 1:1:1 ratio of pumice or volcanic rock, coarse sand with perlite, and organic matter. I use organic matter because I do not have the time to water it during the middle of the day during a Southern California heat wave. The organic matter retains moisture. The mixture should drain very easily (good percolation). If it does not you need to add less organic material.  
Watering: The rule for watering is never let the roots dry out. Your soil mixture should keep the roots from getting “soggy”. For coast live oak I would err on the dryer side.

Sunlight: Full sun is the best.

Fertilize: I fertilize young trees up to 3 years with liquid fertilizer at the recommended full strength. A young plant has a lot of vigor. Older trees I use osmocote pellets. Stop fertilizing from July through October. That is the dormant period.

Note: This tree does not tolerate ground freezing.