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Coast Live Oak

Quercus agrifolia

30-80' tall / 30+' wide


Coast Live Oak is large, evergreen tree that grows slow to fast depending on how much water they get. The leaves are a deep green and are serrated. They can either be painfully sharp or barely sharp at all. Some suggest that the older plants have less pointy leaves, but I have found that it really just depends on which part of California the seeds were collected.

In the garden, these are used as shade trees and habitat gardens, since butterflies lay their eggs on them and many birds perch or eat the acorns. These trees usually grow best from acorns or 1 gallon size pots. Most of the ones you see planted by the city end up dying since they install them at about 6 feet to start. These trees really want to grow like a massive shrub for the first decade or so. If you end up planting somewhere you want to make as a tree ASAP, be sure not to remove all of the bottom branches. Oak trees often use bottom branches to balance out so they don’t grow lopsided. Over time, you can thin out the lower branches and then remove all together.

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