More results with Santa Barbara oaks

28 01 2013


Yesterday I posted some very encouraging results from a grove of oaks in Santa Barbara. Today I would like to share some more results from another grove of oaks in Santa Barbara. These oaks have been treated with fire mimicry for three years, and all but one (case no. 20100107.5) are showing positive responses. The photos above and below show the results.

Be sure to examine the last photo set of this series (case no. 20100107.7), which shows the changes in an untreated control oak located in the same grove.

20100107.2.3 Read the rest of this entry »


Santa Barbara oaks flourishing after fire mimicry treatments

27 01 2013


Last week I visited and re-photographed a number of oaks in Santa Barbara that first received fire mimicry treatments in January of 2009. I’ve previously reported on these oaks located in Toro Canyon here, here, and here. Several of these oaks are infected with a bleeding stem canker disease, possibly Sudden Oak Death. This past year the oaks were re-treated after a two-year pause in fire mimicry treatments, and the results are pretty remarkable. Examine the photos below and see for yourself.


20090119.14.4 Read the rest of this entry »

Hearst Castle oaks respond to fire mimicry – Part 3: A fortunate error

7 01 2013

When fire mimicry treatments began in 2006 on the oaks at Hearst Castle I had identified two control oaks, trees there were not to be treated in order to compare their response with the treated oaks. The yearly photos indicate that, indeed, these two oaks have shown no clear improvement in canopy density, compared to the treated oaks.

In 2012 a California State Park employee did a fire mimicry treatment on one of the two control oaks by mistake. The results were noticeable. The photos below show results for both the control oak that was accidentally treated, and the other control oak that has remained untreated. Note that the treated oak has shown noticeable improvement in canopy health in just one year! Note also that I have used the photos from Jan. 2011 rather than Jan. 2012. The canopy damage caused by the windstorm in Dec. 2011 would have biased the results.



Hearst Castle oaks respond to fire mimicry – Part 2: 17 years of change

7 01 2013


In 2006, when I first started consulting with Hearst Castle about treating their sick oaks using fire mimicry methods, I was provided a set of photos, scanned and printed on a color copier, of several oaks around the castle grounds. I relocated these photos and have re-photographed them every year since 2006.

Presented here are photo comparisons showing these oaks on Dec. 14, 1995, Jan.4, 2006, and Jan. 4, 2013. During the period between 1995 and 2006, the oaks did not receive any fire mimicry treatments. In 2006 fire mimicry treatments began and have continued to the present. Note that the oaks generally show little change or show a decrease in canopy density between 1995 and 2006, and that canopy density has improved between 2006 and 2013 when fire mimicry treatments were implemented.

I realize that the 1995 photos are of poor quality, but they are all I have to work with. Still, I believe they provide some useful information about the positive effects of fire mimicry for oaks. Read the rest of this entry »

Hearst Castle oaks respond to fire mimicry – Part 1: 7-year results

7 01 2013


Last Friday I visited Hearst Castle to check on several oaks that have been undergoing fire mimicry treatments for the past seven years. The California State Park employees, led by Chris Takahashi, have been implementing the fire mimicry treatments, more-or-less following my guidelines. Last year the oaks were partially damaged by a severe windstorm in December of 2011 (see the 2012 results here).

There are several interesting sets of results from Hearst Castle that I will present in three separate posts. Part 1 shows the seven-year results of fire mimicry treatments. Part 2 will examine several oaks that were photographed in December of 1995, which I have re-photographed in 2006 (at the time of their first treatment) and in 2013. Part 3, will examine the response of a control (untreated) oak to an accidental treatment in 2012.

The photos posted here show that the Hearst Castle oaks have generally made a strong recovery from the windstorm and most are sporting healthy canopies indicating that oak health is much improved since fire mimicry treatments began seven years ago. Some of the oaks have lost branches over the years, so the shape of the canopies has changed a bit. The main thing to observe is the canopy density, which is a measure of oak health.

A few of the oaks have had bleeding stem cankers, possibly sudden oak death, for the entire seven years of treatments. Most of these have continued to show positive responses (e.g. Case Nos. 20060104.1 & 20060104.16), but one (Case No. 20060104.2) is severely infected and is clearly in decline despite regular fire mimicry treatments. This is yet another case showing that oaks with severe infections of stem canker disease have little hope of recovery. The key is to treat the oaks BEFORE they are exposed to infection.

Be sure to compare these photo sets of treated oaks with the last photo set of a control oak (Case No. 20060104.4) that has not been treated.

20060104.6.7 Read the rest of this entry »