Identified in 1994 as a superior seedling at Shadowlawn Nursery, the cathedral oak was the first live oak cultivar to be selected for its strong central leader (vertical stem at the top of the trunk), evenly spaced branching, and dense, dark green leaves.
The cathedral oak is pyramidal in shape and has branches at wide angles strong enough to support its vigorous growth. Its central leader is easily maintained at any stage of the tree's maturity. This makes a cathedral oak easier for the grower to manage and provides a desirable solution to stricter landscape ordinances. Many small, interior branches help form the dense canopy without crossing or crowding the other branches. This sturdy structure lends itself to a stronger tree with age.
The cathedral oak's leaves are darker green than standard seedlings and it will hold its lush green growth longer through the winter when other live oaks may go semi-deciduous. The cathedral oak is well suited as a street tree, especially when planted in rows or groups which will highlight the tree's uniformity in shape, size, and growth habit.