When I have a tree question, I often email Lisa Deaton, Area Forester for the Virginia Department of Forestry. Lisa always points me in the right direction to find the answer. Recently, Lisa and I communicated several times about trees that make a good windbreak or protect soil near the waterline from erosion. Lisa’s suggestions included Eastern redcedar, sweetbay magnolia, and wax myrtle, all trees commonly found on the Middle Peninsula, but her last suggestion surprised me: live oak.
When I think of Southern live oak (Quercus virginiana), I imagine a lane of massive trees, dripping with Spanish moss leading to a stately home outside of Charleston or Savannah. Despite the epithet “virginiana” and depending on the source you consult, either Gloucester County or Williamsburg is considered the northernmost point where live oaks will thrive. Live oaks are found from Virginia south and west to Texas and Mexico.
The Southern live oak is a broadleaf evergreen that reaches a height of ...
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