Oaktopia

Tree Blog

Quercus calliprinos | Coastal Southern California

Levantine Live Oak can be nursery grown. They are easy to over-water, though. it's tricky to get them to grow in a way typical of landscape trees - they want to be big, spiny shrubs. This way of growing when young is a consequence of evolution, and is shared among many arid-zone oaks. They grow shrubby because their greatest survival threat in their evolutionary environment is browsing animals - they grow wide and spiny to help get some of their branches above the height that animals can reach, known as the browse line. In wetter environments, trees often have to compete with one another, rather than animals, so they have developed an upright growth habit, to get above the other trees, before those can block their access to sunlight.

Dave Muffly