Live Oak Or Shumard Oak For Waco TX?

Live oaks and Shumard oaks are some of the most popular shade trees in Texas. But can these two thrive in Waco? And if they do, which one is better? Stick with us as we explore the similarities and differences between Shumard oak and live oak Waco TX tree varieties to better answer these questions and understand which one is best suited for the area. 

Related Post: Oak Trees In Texas

Why Gardeners Love Oaks 

Oaks have won the hearts of homeowners and landscapers for many years, and for a good reason; they are a symbol of resistance, strength, and endurance. In Waco, Texas, oaks are long-lived trees that adapt well in a wide range of soils and atmospheric conditions. They are great for shade and depending on the variety, they may even exhibit some fall colors. 

Boiled oak bark has also been found to contain therapeutic properties. The acorn (oak fruit) can be used to feed livestock or as food for humans in times of shortage, and the gigantic canopy serves as a shelter for all kinds of wildlife. Honestly, what’s not to love?

How Shumard Oak Compares To Live Oak Waco TX Tree Species

As with all trees, when planting a live oak or Shumard oak for your Waco property, you need to make sure the tree best suits the location. Here are some characteristics of live oak and Shumard oak Waco TX species that will help you decide which one is the best for your landscape. 

Live Oak

Live oak is nearly every gardener’s favorite oak species. With its vibrant, dark, evergreen foliage and wide-spreading branches, live oak is spectacular and one of the most hurricane-resistant trees. The tree can grow to be tremendously large and live for many years, all thanks to its toughness, strength, and decay-resistance. 

But still, you will be surprised that it is not our first choice when it comes to oak varieties for urban landscapes. 


Live oaks are huge, often growing between 60 and 70 feet in height and between 80 and 100 feet in the spread. Well, we don’t have any problem with the height, as 60-70 feet is legitimately modest for an oak; it is the spread we are worried about.

The tree is way too wide for the typical urban setting. If planted in the wrong spot, it can easily overwhelm a yard and the nearby yards, casting deep, heavy shade. Also, the massive surface roots of a mature live oak will readily destroy patios, driveways, sidewalks, and curbs if planted too close. Not forgetting that the branches usually hang to the ground as the tree matures, which can be unsuitable for the typical urban yard. 

To make sure a live oak grows upright, you have to prune it regularly; no other shade tree species has to be trimmed as much to obtain a natural growth. You may, therefore, need to enlist the services of a professional tree trimming Waco company. 

Shumard Oak 

The Shumard oak grows to a height of about 60 feet and does not exceed 40 feet in the spread, which makes it more suitable for urban landscapes and homeowners with smaller yard spaces. It is a relatively fast-growing tree that does well in Central Texas and owing to its heat and drought tolerance, it is also one of the best trees for North Texas, West Texas, and other areas that experience a semi-arid climate. 

Many homeowners appreciate the Shumard oak for its stunning foliage. The tree features the traditional dark green foliage most of the year and then in winter and fall, the foliage turns burgundy-red before falling to the ground. 

And since the canopy of Shumard oak does not grow as wide as that of the live oak, this tree does not require much pruning to train. Most of the trimming is done when the tree is young but once it has established a structure, the tree should be able to grow and achieve the desired shape and size without much pruning. 

Oak Tree Diseases


Both live oak and Shumard oak Waco TX tree species are generally free from serious diseases and pest infestations. But all oaks are susceptible to oak wilt, and these two varieties are no exception. 

Live oaks, however, have been found to be more vulnerable to the disease. If you are going to have one in your yard, therefore, be sure to have a professional tree service Texas arborist check the tree regularly to make sure it stays healthy. 

Related Post: Texas Tree Bugs

The Local Tree Experts Overview 

Live oaks and Shumard oaks are resistant to most diseases attacking trees in Texas, and that’s why they are a favorite of many gardeners. And as you can see, there is no huge difference between Shumard oak and live oak Waco TX species except that Shumard oak will take a much smaller yard space than live oak and give you fall colors. So if you have a larger yard, a live oak will still be worth a shot.

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