Sand Live Oak (Quercus geminata)

Educational Story

The Sand Live Oak, Quercus geminata, is best know for its grand and majestic form, often clad elegantly Spanish Moss. It is a type of white oak and is part of the Fagaceae family of trees, which also includes beeches and chestnuts. Reaching a height of 50 feet, its branches often spread to 80 feet. Under natural conditions and fire regimes, it often occurs as a large shrub, because periodic fires burn it to the ground, where is resprouts from roots.  The threatened Florida Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma coerulescens, depends on these intermediate burned scrubby oak systems for their habitat, and relies on the acorns of several scrubby oak species as a primary food source.  Grand specimens of Q. geminata can result when they are protected from fire in Xeric Hammocks and Scrubby Flatwoods, where they thrive in dry, sandy soils in full sun. Magnificent specimens can  occur in urban and suburban setting where sand live oaks are planted as long-lived, hearty trees. Sand live oaks and Southern live oaks were often harvested for their curved trunks to be used in making keels for ships during the 1800’s.

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Gardening Facts

Scientific Name: Quercus geminata
Common Name: Sand Live Oak
Description of facts and concepts: Better for small landscapes. Trees grow moderately, but can still get large.
Seed or division information:  Seeds; Acorns. Flowers are wind pollinated
Date of flower’s bloom (Month and week): Spring
Ecoregion: Xeric Hammock, Scrubby Flatwoods
Color of Flower: Green
Height: 25-50 feet
Spread: 50-80 feet
Family: Fagaceae (beech and oak family)
Soil Type: Base to Acidic Acidic
Soil: Dry to Wet Dry, sandy
Light: Sun to Shade Full Sun
Zone 8A-10B