Palo Alto oaks, pines, and redwoods thriving after fire mimicry

23 06 2022

Yesterday I checked on several coast live oaks, ponderosa pines, a coast redwood, and a southern magnolia in Palo Alto, CA that I’ve treated with fire mimicry in recent years. The work began at one site about 14 years ago and at the other site 6 years ago. The photos at the 14-year site were taken at different seasons (winter vs. summer), so they are not an optimal comparison. Also, there was considerable construction around the trees and some limb removal since the original photos were taken. Still, it appears that these trees are thriving after fire mimicry treatments. Enjoy!

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Announcing the Fall 2022 Fire Mimicry & TEK Workshop

9 06 2022

The dates are set for our Fall 2022 Fire Mimicry and TEK workshop at Indian Canyon. The event will be held November 11-13 and hosted by Leo Lauchere and Ero Groski of EcoCamp Coyote in typical fossil fuel-free fashion. Fire Mimicry and TEK lessons will be conducted by myself, Lee Klinger, and Kanyon Sayer-Roods (Mutsun Ohlone). Here is the link to Early Bird tickets:

Upcoming talk hosted by the California Native Plant Society

3 06 2022

This coming Thursday (June 9) at 7:30 pm I will be presenting an online talk and discussion on “The Science and Practice of Fire Mimicry“, hosted by the Yerba Buena Chapter of the California Native Plant Society. The event is free and open to all. Please register for the Zoom conference at the link under my talk announcement here:

Two years of fire mimicry on coast live oaks in Salinas, CA

31 05 2022

Today I inspected a grove of coast live oaks that have received fire mimicry treatments for the past two years. The results generally show improvement in canopy density and lushness, with the exception of one oak (photo below) that made a remarkable recovery last year, but ended up succumbing this year to stress and disease. Note the last photo set of this post showing the canopy of a nearby untreated oak for comparison.

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Ancestor oaks show modest improvement after 2 years of fire mimicry protocol

23 05 2022

For the past two years I have been applying fire mimicry treatments to a grove of Ancestor oaks, ancient (300+ yr old) trees that have been pollarded and otherwise tended in the past by the Ohlone People for acorn production and other uses. Today, I inspected these oaks and see that most have made a modest, but noticeable improvement in canopy density, despite the current drought conditions. Please note the final photo set, which shows a neighboring oak that was not treated.

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Images from the Spring 2022 Fire Mimicry and TEK workshop at Indian Canyon

16 05 2022
Opening circle

This past weekend Sudden Oak Life, EcoCamp Coyote, and Indian Canyon Nation joined efforts to choreograph the second FIre Mimicry and TEK workshop. This hands on 3-day event was attended by over 30 enthusiastic participants who took a deep dive into the ecology of fire and the practice of fire mimicry in the context of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). Our host and teacher of Indigenous knowledge was Kanyon Sayers-Roods (Mutsun Ohlone). Here are various images from the workshop. If you missed this event, please come to our Fall 2022 FIre Mimicry and TEK workshop at Indian Canyon in November.

An Ancestor oak at Indian Canyon treated with fire mimicry at the workshop
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Happy Earth Day 2022 from Big Sur, CA

22 04 2022

Long-term recovery of a coast redwood tree following construction damage of roots

13 04 2022

I’m often asked whether trees can withstand root amputation by construction activities. Generally, I’ve found that if the trees are tended with fire mimicry beforehand, there is a better chance of their survival. Above is an example of a redwood tree in Los Altos, CA that was treated with fire mimicry before and after construction damage. While the redwood suffered some canopy loss after construction, it has recovered and is now thriving!

Long-term response to fire mimicry of cedar trees in Los Altos, CA

13 04 2022

Eleven years ago I began fire mimicry treatments on two Lebanese cedar trees in Los Altos, CA. At the time the owner had been advised by a local arborist that the cedar tree shown in the above photo was diseased and should be removed. Fortunately the owner resisted cutting down the tree and contacted me. I proposed treating this cedar (above) and another nearby cedar (below) with fire mimicry. At the time I had mainly been treating oaks and did not know if the cedars would respond in the same way. I’m happy to say that, after 11 years, the cedars are thriving!

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Five years of surgical wound recovery in a coast live oak

13 04 2022

As I’ve shown in several recent posts (here and here), results are starting to accumulate regarding the efficacy of surgeries to remove stem canker infections (including Sudden Oak Death disease) in oaks. Five years ago I performed fire mimicry treatments and a stem canker surgery on a coast live oak in Los Altos, CA. I have returned every year since to track the progress of the wound recovery, and whether any infection remained. The set of photos presented here indicate that after only 5 years the surgical wound has healed closed with no sign of further infection. I’m calling this one a win!