The Sorin Live Oak


General view of the Sorin oak tree

Growing up close from a big forest, I used to go run, ride my bike there or go for a walk with my parents. I always paid attention and been fascinated by oak trees becauce of their age. My parents taugh me that the bigger the trunk is, the older the oak tree is. When I first visited campus and I walked by Sorin Oak tree, it reminded me of my childhood. For that reason I want to talk about this Live Oak and if I had to describe it to people I would refer to it as “massive”.

I sat couple times on the benches that we can see on the picture and I could not see big changes when there was no drastic change in weather. Otherwise, I could have identified some changes when it was raining and when not. When it was sunny, it was really pretty from under the tree because we could see the sky through the leaves and from far away, we could see the sunlight passing trhough the leaves and form this beautiful forms on the ground. While sitting there, I was looking for squirrels because I know that there are a lot around campus and as expected, I could see a lot of them climbing, running everywhere in and on the “massive” tree. They were up there obviously to eat acorns which are the seeds from which oak trees grow. I could see birds coming on the branches and then leaving but I was unable to identify what type of bird was it. Since it is really warm in Texas and humid, I was wondering how Live Oak on campus responds to humidity and the differences with other Live Oak trees in other areas especially in terms of moss. In some areas in Texas, “especially around lakes and bodies of water, ball moss infestations can be huge. In the Austin area, however, the air is dryer and even by water, the infestations are generally not as bad” (Johnson, 2012).

When it was raining, i did not see that many squirrels; they were probably hidden somewhere else. In addition, I could not hear any sounds of birds because of the rain.

Massive trunk of the Live Oak


While I started paying attention to the branches, I could see moss on it and I directly questioned myself, what does it do to the tree? Is it harmful for the tree or not… I found out that the ball moss or moss is actually an epiphyte which is a plant that growth on another plant but it is  not parasitic to the tree. “Because it is growing inside the canopy in shady areas around here, it looks as though it is killing tree limbs, when in fact the limbs are dying naturally over time due to lack of sunlight penetration”(Johnson, 2012).

Zoom on the leaves

In term of leaves, they were pretty much green and some of them little bit yellow. I did not see any evolution or change for the leaves because of the short period of time but I believe they will change color in early spring. Therefore, I could see little buds on the leaf that will bloom later on. Live oak leaves are very distinctive. I decided to measure one of the leathery leaves and it turns out that it was 2 to 5 inches long. The leaf are oval with rounded ends, shiny and dark green on top, and paler on the underside.

Live oak trees can be find in the “southern coastal plain, from Virginia through the Atlantic and Gulf states and into Texas, west to the Balcones Escarpment and south to Hidalgo county. Widely planted as a landscape tree in Texas” (Trees of Texas, 2017).

Sorin Oak tree with its approximately 50 feet height, has been for years the centerpiece of St. Edward’s University campus and still is today.



Tree of Texas. (2017).Texas A&M Forest Service. Retrieved October 11, 2017, from

Johnson, A. (2012, May 22). Is ball moss killing my live oaks in Austin? Retrieved October 11, 2017, from


Logan Buignet




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