Ellen Zagory

Island live oak (Quercus tomentella) is found wild only on the Channel Islands of California.

Durable Delights: Island live oak a rare find for home gardens

Published: Saturday, Sep. 28, 2013 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013 - 6:51 pm

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum Durable Delights, 30 can’t-fail, easy-care plants well adapted to our region.

Island live oak

Quercus tomentella

Size: Up to 65 feet.

Bloom season: Spring.

Exposure: Full sun.

Pruning needs: Little or none; prune to shape.

Water needs: Once established, water deeply once or twice a month or not at all.

Snapshot: Also known as Channel Island oak, this rare native tree grows in the wild only on the Channel Islands of California and is not usually available for home gardens. Once common on the mainland as well as the islands, this evergreen oak has become endangered in its native habitat by overgrazing. With clean, dark green leaves, it forms a beautiful and drought-tolerant conical tree that makes an excellent accent or screen in home landscapes. This oak bears attractive acorns in fall. You can see specimens in the arboretum’s Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California native plants and the Carolee Shields White Flower Garden on the UC Davis campus.

• For more on Durable Delights, click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

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