Make the Grade: Understanding Florida’s Grades and Standards for Oak Trees

Live Oak trees are a true icon of the United States’ south with their majestic branches and Spanish moss. This quintessential shade tree has been coveted for landscaping projects throughout South Florida, but the prices have continued to rise making the Live Oak tree an expensive or, in many cases, cost-prohibitive option for landscape planning.

Why have Live Oak tree prices been on the rise?

A few factors are causing the price of Live Oak trees to trend upwards. First, these beauties are extremely popular and can’t easily be mass produced making them coveted yet hard to obtain. In addition to the supply and demand scenario that has caused a spike in Live Oak trees pricing, the Florida state Grades and Standards have affected marketing conditions for many shade trees.

So what’s the skinny on these Grades and Standards?

Florida Grades and Standards for Nursery Stock were implemented with the goal of improving the overall quality of plant material that is utilized by growers, contractors, and inspectors. Since the rules were put in place, there has been a measurable increase in quality. However, it has also been reported that the rules are complex and have led to misapplications and confusion and, in some cases, price fluctuations.

For over 60 years, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) has produced and enforced the Florida Grades and Standards for Nursery Plants. The Florida Grades and Standards are used by growers, contractors and landscaping professionals to guide them in adhering to regulations set by the state regarding all kinds of nursery plants and trees. The criteria for trees revolves around the structure of the trunk, canopy and roots which are used quality. Although the state sets minimal standards that must be met across the board, local municipalities can require a higher level of quality for their respective towns or cities.

How do the Grades and Standards affect you?

The romantic aesthetics along with the hurricane-resistant strength and heartiness of the Live Oak Tree make it a top choice for landscapers, developers and property owners alike. The price and standard requirements, however, can cause this choice to be reconsidered. The price is still trending upwards, so a cheaper alternative may fit your project better.

These beloved trees that can survive for hundreds of years and provide shade and shelter to animals might also add a monetary value to your property. A single live oak is estimated to add thousands of dollars to value to a property.

Live Oak trees are a Florida favorite, and for obvious reason, their far-reaching branches create a magical canopy as well as a shelter from the sun. When you’re ready to add plants and trees to your new or existing commercial property in South Florida, Nanak’s Landscaping is here to help you navigate your state and local regulations as well as create the perfect exterior for your unique property.

Contact us today for a free consultation.