More good news . . .

29 11 2009

Fire mimicry effects after 4 years:

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Sustainable Agriculture Pest Management Conference

22 11 2009

Dr. Lee Klinger, Soil Specialist, Sudden Oak Life and Dr. Doug Fodge, Chief Scientist and President, DF International, L.L.C. will be speaking on the “Importance and role of micronutrient trace minerals in bolstering pest resistance” at the Sustainable Agriculture Pest Management Conference in San Luis Obispo, California on December 4, 2009. The conference is sponsored by the California Certified Organic Farmers. For more information click here.

Five-year progress report on coast live oaks

16 11 2009

I have been reporting for some time on the progress of seven ill coast live oaks in Fairfax, CA first treated with fire mimicry in November of 2004 (see here, here, and here). These oaks have been under the care of my friend and colleague Leith Carstarphen of Ecologic Landscaping. Alan Mart has also contributed his time and expertise in caring for these oaks.

After five years two of the oaks have succumb to sudden oak death, though not without a period of improved canopy health before their demise (see Sudden oak death). Today I would like to present repeat photographs of the five remaining oaks taken just a few days ago. I am pleased with the results. Readers can judge for themselves. (Please excuse my ill-fated attempt in some of the photos to match exposure levels).

There is one particular oak, case study no. 20041129.8, which tells an interesting story. I first chose this oak as a control tree since it was not initially treated. For two years the health of this untreated oak showed little if any change, as can be seen in the photographs below. Then as is so often the case the owner decided to treat all of the oaks, including this one, and after three years the oak is now showing modest improvement with fire mimicry.

Another important point – while the originally diseased oaks remain infected with sudden oak death, the non-diseased oaks remain uninfected. This is consistent with many other case studies showing that fire mimicry treatments may be particularly effective at stopping the spread of sudden oak death. Read the rest of this entry »

Encino heritage oak

3 11 2009

I’ve often said that every tree tells a story. Well, there’s a heritage oak in Encino, California that has a story to tell.

As most of you may know the live oaks and tan oaks of California are dying off in large numbers as a result of stresses brought about by decades of fire suppression. Oaks are fire-adapted trees, meaning they benefit from periodic fires. The lack of fire has weakened the oaks and created conditions that encourage the spread of diseases such as sudden oak death.

The live oaks and tan oaks, however, are not the only species of oaks that are suffering. Valley oaks (Quercus lobata), blue oaks (Q. douglasii), Oregon white oak (Q. garryana), and other species in the white oak subgroup are, in places, experiencing heavy die-off, yet are showing no signs of sudden oak death or bark beetle infestation. As it turns out the white oaks, too, are suffering from the effects of fire suppression. The good news is that these oaks, like the live oaks and tan oaks, are showing positive responses to fire mimicry treatments.

One of the largest oaks in Encino, California is situated next to the home of Robert and Lelia Maltzman. This heritage valley oak is estimated to be about 500 years old. In 2006 I examined the oak and found the soils to be somewhat acidic and the canopy of the tree was rather thin. Fire mimicry treatments involving healthy doses of calcium-rich AZOMITE minerals were then implemented and, three years later, the oak is showing some nice improvement in canopy health.

Encino Sun photo

Below are photos of the Encino heritage oak showing the changes in canopy health three years post-treatment. Note the removal of one large limb for stress reduction. I was not involved in this limb removal and may have done it differently from an aesthetic perspective. But the arborist certainly had his reasons and after three years the tree seems to be faring well.


Encino heritage oak before and after fire mimicry treatments

Here is an article describing this heritage oak that appeared in the Encino Sun in 2007. Read the rest of this entry »