Six-year response of coast live oaks to fire mimicry

13 11 2010

Last week I visited and re-photographed several coast live oaks that were initially treated with fire mimicry in 2004. You can follow the progress of these treatments in previous posts here and here. Leith Carstarphen of EcoLogic Landscaping has been doing the fire mimicry work under my direction, and as you can see from the photographs he is doing an excellent job on these trees.

It is becoming clear to me that the fire mimicry treatments are showing long-term positive results, while giving very good short-term results as well. Seems we are no longer helpless in saving many of our oaks infected with Sudden Oak Death.

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5 responses

8 12 2010
Damien McAnany

I am pretty new to the idea of fire mimicry for treating Sudden Oak Death. Obvious the main stream treatment is ultimately losing the battle, so I am open to possible alternatives, and will continue to educate myself more.

However, I use photoshop a lot, and it seems clear that the color balance in the above photos has been altered to make the more recent trees greener and bluer, while the older trees are more yellow and less saturated. While I don’t question your intentions, this looks highly suspicious.

What exactly is going on with these photos?

9 12 2010
Lee Klinger

Thanks for your comment Damien. Let me assure you there is no photoshop trickery here. What you are noticing is the switch I made in 2005 from a 35mm film camera to a digital camera. That is the reason for the color difference in the photos. However, bear in mind it is not the changes in leaf color that I am trying to capture in the photos, it is the changes in leaf density. A denser canopy is a sign of a healthier tree. If you look through the previous posts you will find many examples of photo comparisons that clearly show increases in leaf canopy density. While the photos are in color, black and white photos would give the same results.

Consider, too, that some of the strongest indications that the fire mimicry approach is working is that my clients see the improvement in their trees. If you have any further doubts I urge you to try out the method yourself.

12 01 2011
shyn

First off I thank you for your work on this. I would like to learn more about the fire mimicry treatment, and read more about what it is you are doing, unfortunately the blog is a bit difficult for me on dialup to navigate. I also thought the photos looked “touched up”. Perhaps more explanations along with the photos will be helpful.

18 05 2011
Raymond Carl Daviesson

Dear Lee, have been using Azomite on some of the Oaks on my property in Lake County, where we have a lot of SOD. It it is certainly improving the overall health of the trees judging by the renewed foliage and acorn production, albeit that the size of the acorns are smaller than eight years ago, when we met at the annual Ag-show in Tulare County, Ca.

18 05 2011
Lee Klinger

Thank you for your comment Raymond. That’s an interesting observation on acorn size. I also have noticed more acorn production with mineral additions, but will pay more attention to any changes in size. Lee

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