Every spring we get the same question from new residents who may have moved here from other states. Here is a recent query:
Question: We have noticed that a lot of the old established Live Oaks are looking very bad this spring.
Yellow leaves that are all falling off.
Is this something we should be concerned with?
Should we be watering them?
Answer: Live Oaks are not true evergreens. They will actually shed leaves year-round, but the main shed is in the spring-as in right now! Because each tree may be genetically different and the health of each tree may also be different, you will see some trees shedding earlier than others, but not by much. Last year’s epic freeze affected many Live Oak trees, especially ones that had previous underlying conditions. We will likely be seeing the effects of this in the years to come.
If the trees are in your yard and you turned off your irrigation for the winter, make a note to NOT do that again. We have had a VERY dry winter, as evidenced by the recent fires, and all plants that have not had irrigation have suffered. Generally, if we do not have an inch of rain in a 2–3-week period in the winter, apply at least an inch of irrigation to your yard. Newly established plants will require more careful monitoring, as will some species of evergreens. Remember that tree roots extend AT LEAST out to the edge of the canopy and usually much further, so watering a tree at the base of the trunk is not sufficient.