How to prepare a grove of ancient oaks for cultural burning

10 08 2022

Here are several time-lapse videos from today showing our efforts to prepare a grove of ancient coast live oaks for reintroduction of cultural fire via fire mimicry. Notice that our focus is on removing ladder fuels in ensure that any cultural fires remain on the ground (good fire), rather than spreading into the canopies (bad fire).





Carmel Valley fire mimicry phase 1 – clearing, thinning, and pruning

2 08 2022

These time lapse videos are of the fire mimicry work done with my coworkers over the past two days. Note how we are careful to remove the ladder fuels, so that any fires are more likely to stay on the ground (good fire), rather than spread into the canopy (bad fire). Enjoy!





More time-lapse videos of fire mimicry phase 1 – clearing, thinning, and pruning

29 07 2022

Today we applied fire mimicry treatments to several Ancestor oaks in Monterey, CA. These time-lapse videos show phase 1 were we clear the woody understory, thin the young trees, and prune the lower branches to improve the health of the oaks and remove the ladder fuels to prevent a ground fire from spreading into the canopy. Tomorrow we will implement phase 2 – Compost tea, soil minerals, and limewash. Just three of us working today, but we felt into the forces of fire and got a hella lot done! Please take the time to view these videos. To me they feel cathartic.





Palo Alto oaks, pines, and redwoods thriving after fire mimicry

23 06 2022

Yesterday I checked on several coast live oaks, ponderosa pines, a coast redwood, and a southern magnolia in Palo Alto, CA that I’ve treated with fire mimicry in recent years. The work began at one site about 14 years ago and at the other site 6 years ago. The photos at the 14-year site were taken at different seasons (winter vs. summer), so they are not an optimal comparison. Also, there was considerable construction around the trees and some limb removal since the original photos were taken. Still, it appears that these trees are thriving after fire mimicry treatments. Enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry »




Two years of fire mimicry on coast live oaks in Salinas, CA

31 05 2022

Today I inspected a grove of coast live oaks that have received fire mimicry treatments for the past two years. The results generally show improvement in canopy density and lushness, with the exception of one oak (photo below) that made a remarkable recovery last year, but ended up succumbing this year to stress and disease. Note the last photo set of this post showing the canopy of a nearby untreated oak for comparison.

Read the rest of this entry »




Ancestor oaks show modest improvement after 2 years of fire mimicry protocol

23 05 2022

For the past two years I have been applying fire mimicry treatments to a grove of Ancestor oaks, ancient (300+ yr old) trees that have been pollarded and otherwise tended in the past by the Ohlone People for acorn production and other uses. Today, I inspected these oaks and see that most have made a modest, but noticeable improvement in canopy density, despite the current drought conditions. Please note the final photo set, which shows a neighboring oak that was not treated.

Read the rest of this entry »




Happy Earth Day 2022 from Big Sur, CA

22 04 2022




Long-term recovery of a coast redwood tree following construction damage of roots

13 04 2022

I’m often asked whether trees can withstand root amputation by construction activities. Generally, I’ve found that if the trees are tended with fire mimicry beforehand, there is a better chance of their survival. Above is an example of a redwood tree in Los Altos, CA that was treated with fire mimicry before and after construction damage. While the redwood suffered some canopy loss after construction, it has recovered and is now thriving!





Long-term response to fire mimicry of cedar trees in Los Altos, CA

13 04 2022

Eleven years ago I began fire mimicry treatments on two Lebanese cedar trees in Los Altos, CA. At the time the owner had been advised by a local arborist that the cedar tree shown in the above photo was diseased and should be removed. Fortunately the owner resisted cutting down the tree and contacted me. I proposed treating this cedar (above) and another nearby cedar (below) with fire mimicry. At the time I had mainly been treating oaks and did not know if the cedars would respond in the same way. I’m happy to say that, after 11 years, the cedars are thriving!

Read the rest of this entry »




Minor stem canker surgery on an ancient coast live oak in Atherton, CA

6 04 2022

Yesterday I did fire mimicry treatments and a minor stem canker surgery on an ancient coast live oak in Atherton, CA. The surgery went well and the prognosis for this oak is very good. Here are photos showing the various steps and tools used for the surgical procedure …

Read the rest of this entry »