Our clients in the San Antonio area have been concerned for the last few years about their live oaks. The main issue is that they tend to defoliate early and if you are experiencing this problem, you are not alone. The early defoliation is due to the incredibly amount of stress that these live oaks have been under and this stress has increased each year. The stress in particular is due to the large quantity of droughts that San Antonio and the surrounding areas have experienced recently. This surprises us as well as other arborists since live oaks are usually known for being fairly drought tolerant.

If you are having issues with your live oaks defoliating early, know that the issue isn’t just affecting you. In my own yard there are seventy live oaks and one particular cluster of four has not only been defoliating early each year recently but also looks grey. Even with my vast arborist knowledge, I thought that these trees were finally recovering from their stress last year because they began developing foliage that was thick and green. Imagine my surprise and distress when once again they started defoliating early. To help with the problem I’ve been using a deep root fertilizer on my live oaks for the past two years. My hope is that this will provide the necessary nutrients to bring them back to their normal defoliation schedule.

I’ve talked about this problem with other arborists in the San Antonio area and we all seem to agree that although this problem is common, no one is aware of the specific cause so we can’t offer an exact diagnosis. The consensus is simply that these trees are stressed from the droughts over the past few years.
We understand that our trees in San Antonio are one of the most important contributors to our area’s beauty and that’s why we are working with other experts to try to solve the drought problem and decrease the trees’ stress.