{ SC's August Calendar + Our Featured SC Event }

August 23, 2014 | Greenville — This year's August Calendar of SC Events is brought to you by the 3rd annual Mutt Strut. Join the Greenville Humane Society and Papa John's for the largest dog-friendly race in South Carolina. The 2-mile course will lead competitors along the beautiful Swamp Rabbit Trail and through Greenville Tech's campus, ending in our expanded "Mutt Market" – featuring live entertainment, vendors, and exciting new attractions. Let Your Dog Chase Someone Else's Tail For A Change!

In addition to SCIWAY's August Calendar of SC Events, remember that all of our event calendars, for every month of the year, are always available on our website – just go to https://www.sciway.net/calendar.html. You can sort events by date, city, name, or type – it is hands down the best South Carolina calendar anywhere!

{ Live Oaks — The Legends of South Carolina }

Though the palmetto may be our state tree, the live oak – also called the Southern live oak or Virginia live oak – is symbolic of our state's combined beauty and strength. The majestic trees can withstand the turbulent storms of the coast as well as cold temperatures of the Upstate, all the while maintaining the grace and beauty that is evident in their magnificent limbs. Such hardiness lends to long lives that can span several generations. Think of all of the South Carolina history the typical live oak has seen!

Josh Whiteside of Beaufort © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Because the live oak has adapted to withstand coastal storms, a tree's height generally reaches just 40 to 80 feet while its limbs can span up to one hundred. These proportions help prevent the tree from toppling in the event of a hurricane and also lend the live oak its enigmatic appeal – as seen in the tree above, located in the Carolina Shores community of Beaufort and featured in the movie The War, a 1994 film starring Kevin Costner.

(Mark Wickliffe of Charleston © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

The live oak can withstand other harsh coastal conditions as well. The tree's waxy leaves tolerate salt spray, borne by oceans and creeks, and retain their deep green color almost all year, giving the tree its common name, live oak. Live oaks are not true evergreens however; they replace their leaves briefly each spring over a course of two to three weeks. This replenishment period generally coincides with the blooming of azaleas and dogwoods, and during this time, the trees sport bright green leaves instead – as well as masses of olive-hued pollen!

(John Wollwerth of Beaufort © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

An oak's limbs often rest on the ground - as seen in the photo above, which features the renowned Angel Oak of Johns Island – and are stabilized by their own weight. Live oaks grow well in sandy soil and shade, traits of the coastal plain and the understory of a slash pine (Pinus elliottii) forest – common natural communities for live oaks.

(Andy Hunter of Denmark © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

The live oak grows quickly when it is young, at a rate of about two to two-and-a-half feet per year. However, the rate of growth slows as the tree matures, and its trunk diameter – which averages six feet – is typically reached at around 70 years. The average life span of a live oak is around 300 years, though in the right conditions, many can grow much older – even to a thousand or more years. The live oaks that line the Methodist Oaks Retirement Community in Orangeburg, seen above, were planted as ornamental shade trees, but their proximity to the Edisto River allows them to flourish.

(Shirley Radabaugh of Aiken © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Live oaks often are planted as ornamentals in places other than the coast. The tree can endure cooler climates, but will grow more slowly the further away from the coast it is planted. Live oaks do not tolerate freezing weather but can withstand the cold temperatures experienced in the Piedmont and other regions of South Carolina. South Boundary Avenue in Aiken, above, is canopied with thriving oak trees and is one of the state's signature residential roads.

(Julie G. Rowe of Charleston © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

That said, live oaks are never so grand as they are near the coast. The avenue of oaks at Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant, above, was planted in 1843 but looks as though it has been around since the land itself. Unlike live oaks in other regions, Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) hangs from the limbs of coastal trees.

(Diana Cochran Johnson of Cleveland, TN © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

An epiphyte, Spanish moss - which is neither Spanish nor a moss - grows profusely in the South Carolina Lowcountry as well as other humid places in the Southeast. The plant, which produces a nearly unnoticeable lime green flower, lives on the tree's branches but does not siphon nutrients from the tree. It can shade out the lower leaves of a tree already in decline, which can further the decline of the tree. However, the Spanish moss itself is not the cause for initial decline in an unhealthy tree.

(Mark VanDyke of Herndon, VA © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

The live oaks and Spanish moss that flank the entrance to Botany Bay at Edisto, above, seem to beckon to those eager to learn the secrets held by the stalwart trees, stories they have kept for countless generations. Here are some more exquisite photos of South Carolina's live oaks for you to enjoy:

(Vanessa Kauffmann of Charleston © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

There is nowhere better to enjoy our state's beauty than from the shade of a giant live oak. This one is located at Mansfield Plantation in Georgetown County.

Phill Doherty of Mississauga, ON © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Here, live oaks grace the fields at Colleton River Plantation in Beaufort County.

(Vanessa Kauffmann of Charleston © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

The McLeod Oak at James Island's McLeod Plantation is one of the largest and most majestic live oaks in our state. It stood sentry to the Charleston headquarters of the Freedman's Bureau following the Civil War.

(John Wollwerth of Beaufort © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Above, another swing welcomes visitors to rest beneath the limbs of a stately live oak, this one in Okatie's Oldfield community.

(Alistair Nicol of Mt Pleasant © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Lives oaks living nearest the coast can succumb to the sea as barrier islands shift and ebb. Even in death their form takes on a haunting, sculptural beauty. The tree above stands at Botany Bay on Edisto Island.

{ More South Carolina Resources from SCIWAY }

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