Evergreen and sprawling, with the stiff glossy leaves typical of live oaks. Although it’s one of the two largest trees east of the Rocky Mountains, it doesn’t grow particularly tall; the trunk is squat, with most of the mass located in long, rambling branches that eventually rest on the ground.
Like the closely related Hill Country live oak, coastal live oak grows in mottes, where individual trees share interconnected roots. Coastal live oak casts deep, enduring shade.
Oak wilt is a threat to all oaks, but it spreads easily through live oaks’ interconnected roots. The disease is most easily transferred in spring when the beetles that transmit it are active. To prevent it, prune only during the very hottest and coldest times of the year — NEVER IN SPRINGTIME — and beware of rookie arborists who forget to clean their tools between trees.