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Have been seeing some of this too on live oaks; yours look like laurel oaks?
 
I don't think it is disease. I've been chalking most of it up to dry, dry, dry conditions and girdling roots. But the trees with the lower branches browning first is puzzling. MaNY OF THE BRANCHES HERE, WHICH HAD BROWNING, ALSO HAD GREEN BUDS OR CAMBIUM...(HATE THAT CAPS KEY!).....
 
 
"Helping you beautify your landscape and protect the environment!"
Doug
Doug Caldwell, Ph.D.
University of Florida

Collier Co. Extension
(a Public Services Department)
Commercial Landscape Horticulture

Landscape Entomologist

14700 Immokalee Rd.

Naples, FL 34120

239-353-4244  x203

c: 239-273-0073

FAX: 239-353-7127

http://collier.ifas.ufl.edu/CommHort/HomeCommHort.shtml
 

From: South Central Green Team Discussion List [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Palmer, Dave [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Tuesday, June 07, 2011 9:29 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: oak tree problem

I have an oak tree problem that has me stumped.
At first glance it looks like a pesticide problem, but the evidence is muddy at best.

Images are at http://manatee.ifas.ufl.edu/tree1.htm
Clicking on an image will enlarge the image (these are large images).

Dave Palmer
Commercial Horticulture
Manatee County Extension
1303 17th Street West
Palmetto, FL 34221
941-722-4524 x 226