Grandfather oak – April 2011 update

15 05 2011

Last April I reported on the progress being made in helping ‘grandfather oak‘, a very old and diseased coast live oak on King Mountain in Marin Open Space. I returned this past April along with a small contingent of volunteers to continue the efforts we started 3.5 years ago. We cleared the genista, poison oak, and small bays, fertilized with Azomite, oyster shell flour, and soft rock phosphate, and applied a lime spray to the trunk. Below is a photo of all the volunteers. They are (from left to right) Kathleen Cannon, John Furnas, Roger Diehnel, Greg Reza (Parks & Open Space Volunteer Coordinater), Dick Gale, Donna Shoemaker (project leader), and Carl Thoelicke.

Volunteers caring for Grandfather Oak

Our efforts for Grandfather Oak are not about treating any disease or pests. Indeed, the oak is probably well past being cured of sudden oak death. This is an attempt to give this oak a fighting chance to extend its life and live out the remainder of its years in a healthier, more nourishing state.

The photos below show that, indeed, our efforts seem to be helping.

The oak has clearly a lusher canopy compared to its state 3.5 years ago. However, there is a slight decline in canopy density evident when compared to last year’s photo. But even at 3.5 years, this oak has already outlived the expected life expectancy for an oak severely infected with sudden oak death. I fully expect to be reporting on Grandfather Oak for several more years as this oak will not give up its life with a fight.

Grandfather oak after 3.5 years of fire mimicry

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