Southern Pride Tree Farm

How to Plant and Care for Big Trees | Live Oaks

How to Plant and Care for Big Trees

Your Southern Pride Tree Farm live oak trees will weigh approximately 1,000 lbs per caliper inch of tree (so a 8" caliper tree is 8,000lbs, 11" caliper – 11,000lbs etc.). Oak trees are very heavy; however a great portion of the weight of your tree is because of the root system. It is vital that proper equipment be used to lift and set your trees to avoid unnecessary human harm and equipment damage; and that care is taken to protect the trunk from injury.

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  • Planting a Large Tree in Your Landscape

    Once you receive your tree from Southern Pride Tree Farm it’s important that you follow these very important steps. If you or your landscaper have any questions please feel free to contact us, we’re glad to help.

    Southern Pride Tree Farm, Inc. cannot be responsible for trees as soon as they leave our premises so please make sure you are careful not to injure the trunk of the tree when lifting and setting the tree.

    • You will want to prepare your landscape in advance by checking your landscape area for underground utilities, irrigation and other utilities before digging.
    • Dig your planting hole twice as wide as and just slightly shallower than the depth of the rootball.
    • Your tree’s rootball is protected with a black liner - you should be remove the black liner before planting your tree.
    • No need to remove the wire basket. The wire basket will not inhibit the tree's growth in any way.
    • Place the tree in the center of the prepared hole.
    • Make certain the top most root in the rootball remains 2 inches above grade or ground level.
    • Before backfilling dirt you may want to look at the tree to assure its best side is rotated to face the view where it will be seen the most.
    • Make sure your tree is standing straight vertically.
    • Once the tree is positioned and set straight, backfill with native soil 1/3, water in, use shovel to break up potential air bubbles, more dirt, water in, break up any possible air bubbles and repeat.

    Once planted, the straps, which should be used to lift the tree from the truck, (see example pictures of lifting a tree on our Dig & Prep page). can be either removed at ground level or buried. DO NOT COVER THE ROOTBALL WITH DIRT, much as shown in the image on Watering a Newly Planted Large Live Oak Tree in Your Landscape.

  • Watering a Newly Planted Large Live Oak Tree in Your Landscape
    live oak tree berm

    The most important thing you must do once your tree is planted is water it daily, then work to wean the tree from the water, and point your sprinkler system away from the tree once weaned.

    • Once planted; a very good way to water is to build a berm, or sort of moat (see illustration to the left) around the outer diameter of the root ball.
    • Immediately after planting, water the tree in by filling the bermed basin with water; this will settle the existing soil around the root ball.
    • For the first number of weeks after planting the trees will need approximately 3 gallons of water per caliper inch (i.e. estimated 11" caliper tree x 3 gal. = 33 gallons) of water per day.
    • The goal is to wean the tree slowly off of supplemental irrigation, and get the root system established enough for the tree to thrive on natural rainfall.
  • Finish Planting a Large Tree in Your Landscape
    mulching around a newly planted large tree
    • Do not cover the top of the rootball with dirt.
    • Apply a 3" inch layer of mulch (Hint: live oaks love pine straw) to an area 2 feet in diameter per caliper inch.
    • Never pile mulch directly against the tree trunk.
  • Watering Requirements to Establish your Large Live Oak Tree
    • If you choose to use a drip irrigation system on a timer rather than a berm (hand) watering system.
    • Use low volume drip irrigation for optimum growth & survival.
    • Irrigation for vigorous growth on 8" + caliper tree
      • Daily for 6 weeks; every other day for 3 months; weekly until established.
    • Apply approximately 3 gallons of water per caliper inch to the rootball. (i.e. estimated 11" caliper tree x 3 gal. = 33 gallons) Apply in a manner so all water soaks into the rootball. Hint: Initially imagine you are soaking the rootball to the very bottom.
    • Establishment takes 3 to 4 months. In drought conditions for newly established trees, you might add water 1x a week to assist the tree. Again your goal once the tree is established is for the tree to find its own sources.

    Congratulations! You have purchased the healthiest trees possible Direct from the Grower: With proper watering and fertilization you will enjoy your Southern Pride live oaks for many years to come.

  • Large Tree Planting Notes
    • The best soil amendment for successful planting is water. Research has shown no benefit to using other soil amendments.
    • Place no soil over the rootball at planting. Deep planting kills trees.
    • You will want to apply fertilizer to the trees in early spring and mid-summer or 3x, adding late summer if you are experiencing a rainy year.

Reference: Some bulleted points on this page are courtesy of Roots Plus Growers.

Southern Pride Tree Farm sells very big live oaks:

Featured videos

Dig & Prep Live Oak Tree

Digging & Preparation

Mature live oak tree digging and preparation in the Nursery for transport to the customer.

Live Oak Tree Packing for Transport

Tree Packing

Here we are demonstrating packaging mature live oak trees in the Nursery for transport.

Loading Live Oak Trees for Transport

Loading for Transport

Watch how a large mature tree is wrapped and loaded onto a truck for transport.