A Decade of Fire Mimicry

30 12 2019
Oak dieback

Dead an dying coast live oak trees in Big Sur, CA

The past decade has been a tough one on California oaks. Tens of thousands of oaks have died and many more are in distress, simply because they are no longer being tended. For millennia the Indigenous People of California used, and still use, fire to improve the health of the native trees and forests.

Also over the past decade I and others have been tasked with restoring to health many of these oaks. During this time we have tended well over 1,000 oaks and other trees, with mostly positive, if not remarkable, results. Due to the severely overgrown nature of fire-suppressed forests, applying fire is not an immediate option. Therefore, we have been developing tending practices that mimic fire in ways that benefit the oaks.

Below are a selection of oaks, one per year of this past decade, that have inspired me to stay committed to tending our oaks. Many of these are legacies of the indigenous past and will, with our help, continue to be legacies in our future.

A decade of healing oaks . . .

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Hearst Castle oak – 2010

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Fairfax oak – 2011

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Surgical procedure for removing stem canker infections

30 10 2019

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I’m seeing very encouraging results from the surgical procedures I have been performing on oaks with stem canker infections. Here is the sequence of steps. The above photo is of a recent (less than one year) stem canker infection, possibly Sudden Oak Death, of a young coast live oak. The next step is to remove the infected tissue using a hand axe. The photo below shows a partial state of canker removal.

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The next photo shows the infected canker tissue entirely removed.

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One-year fire mimicry results from Kentfield, CA

5 10 2019

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Last year I initiated fire mimicry treatments on a grove of coast live oaks in Kentfield, CA. Here are the resultsĀ  . . .

Enjoy!

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Fire mimicry effects on oaks in Fairfax, CA

22 07 2019

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Last week I inspected several coast live oaks in Fairfax, CA that have been treated for the past three years with fire mimicry. The photos above and below show the results. The foliage of the oaks appears denser and greener following the treatments. Enjoy!

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Fire mimicry results on Marin County oaks

4 04 2019

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This past week I checked on several coast live oaks in Marin County that I’ve been treating for the past 1 to 7 years using fire mimicry techniques. The photos above are of an oak that I’ve treated for the past 7 years. The next two photos are of an oak I’ve treated for the past 5 years. The remainder of the photos are results of oaks I treated last year. I trust you can see the benefits of using fire mimicry in aiding the health of oaks.

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A coast live oak and a bigleaf maple . . .

29 10 2018

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The coast live oak above and the bigleaf maple below were treated with fire mimicry last year. I checked on their status recently. Here are the results. Nice to see noticeable improvement in both trees in just a single year!

 

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Coast live oaks in Piedmont, CA after 3 years of fire mimicry . . .

18 10 2018

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Yesterday I inspected a grove of coast live oaks, some of them Indian-era (pollarded) trees, to assess their response after 3 years of fire mimicry treatments. The photos here show a pretty dramatic increase in canopy greenness and fullness.

Just curious – are the results and information I post here useful to any of you readers? I’m not much of an IT person and would rather focus on working in the woods, but people keep saying that blogs and social media are the best way to share this information. I dunno, I don’t get many visitors to the blog and almost never a comment. Anyone with an opinion on whether or not these results are useful, please feel free to like or comment.

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