By far one of the easier trees to keep looking great and healthy are live oaks. That does not however mean they are maintenance free. People love their live oaks because they are hardy in most climates, develop large shade producing canopy cover and wildlife such as birds love hanging out in them.
There are two main types of live oaks. These are the red oak (Erythrobalanus spp.) and the white oak (Leucobalanus spp.).
As a general rule most oak trees do not require fertilization. The exception to this is if your live oak is not producing as many acorns as you would like it to.
Oak trees commonly experience their growth spurts in the spring so that is also the preferred time to fertilize them. This is when they will make the best use of all the nutrients that fertilization supplies to them.
When fertilizing your live oak try to find a brand of fertilizer that has a nutrient ratio of 12-4-8 or 12-6-6. They will then make the most of this supplemental feeding. The high amount of nitrogen in these types of fertilizer really promotes live oak healthy root growth. Try spreading about 16 pounds of fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet of landscaping where your live oaks are growing.
It’s a must that you spread the fertilizer evenly or you may do more harm than good to your oak trees. A rotary push spreader works great for this task. These are great for ensuring that you get even and adequate coverage as you fertilize the area of your yard where your live oaks are.
Don’t just spread the fertilizer in one direction either. When using a rotary spreader for a fertilizer feeding it works best when you spread in both horizontal and vertical rows. This helps ensure overlap and even nutrient distribution. You should be spreading fertilizer over at least 70% of where you believe your live oak tree roots zones are located. This can be determined by the furthest distance a live oak’s branches reach out too.
Another great way to give your live oaks the essential nutrients they need is to spread a little mulch over their root area. Mulches that are made up of shredded leaves or shredded bark work great for this purpose. Mulch does such things as add a lot of natural organic matter to the soil beneath your live oak trees.
Adding mulch has other purposes too. One of the main ones is mulch helps soil retain its critical moisture content longer. It also acts as a blanket for your oak trees roots in colder weather.