Soil minerals stimulate olive trees

27 07 2010

Today I received an interesting email from Chuck Cunningham, a tree grower in Buellton, CA who has taken a keen interest in the work I am doing. He writes:

I forgot to mention an unusual occurrence in my “fruitless” olive trees.  I have been tending and growing some 40-50 Olea Europae “low fruiting” olives that for the last several years have only developed perhaps 6 olives grand total. After using Azomite on the trees they are all fruiting? I am not sure if they will hold, but it is interesting since to my knowledge nothing else has changed.

Over the years I’ve seen a number of cases where stressed, poorly-producing olive trees have responded nicely to topical treatments with soil minerals. I am aware of several olive growers who are improving their yields significantly by amending soils with alkaline-rich minerals, which improve soil fertility and, thus, tree health and productivity. The soil minerals that I use in my practice are a combination of finely-ground Azomite and calcitic limestone. Azomite is a volcanic ash that is loaded in trace minerals. The calcitic limestone helps to buffer soil acidity and provide calcium, a major constituent of bark and wood.

El Capitan oaks responding to fire mimicry

21 07 2010

Last week I visited and re-photographed several coast live oaks near El Capitan Ranch outside of Santa Barbara that were treated last year with fire mimicry. Most of the oaks have shown significant improvement in canopy health in just one year. Here is a sample of the results:

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Encino heritage oak – 2010 update

15 07 2010

Yesterday I visited and tended a huge valley oak which, at about 500 years old, is possibly the oldest valley oak in Encino, CA. This oak appears to have been pollarded (pruned in a way that encourages broad, spreading branches) by the native people hundreds of years ago. Last year I posted a story about this Encino heritage oak, and presented photos that showed a significant improvement in the health of the tree in response to fire mimicry treatments.

We are now in the 4th year of fire mimicry treatments and the oak continues to show a very good response, as the photos below indicate:

Encino heritage oak

Five-year response of California buckeyes to fire mimicry

12 07 2010

Last year I posted a piece on using fire mimicry to treat early leaf senescence in California buckeyes. A few days ago I checked up on these buckeyes and re-photographed them. As you can see in the photos posted here the buckeyes are continuing to show improvement after tending with fire mimicry practices.

When I first saw these trees in 2005 they appeared to be severely stressed due to soil acidification. The lawn areas around their base had a dense cover of mosses growing among the grasses. The mosses were removed by thatching the lawn areas and the soils were treated with several hundred pounds of soil minerals (Azomite and calcitic limestone).

These and other results (see here and here) are showing that the fire mimicry practices which are working so well in restoring the health of the oaks (see here, here, here, here, here, etc.) are also useful in restoring the health of other kinds of trees. This certainly makes sense if the problem is ecological (e.g. fire suppression, soil acidification, overcrowding, etc.) rather than pathological (e.g. disease, insect pests).

I encourage anyone who is interested in getting more information on the methods and services of tree care and forest restoration shown here to please contact me. Read the rest of this entry »