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.

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Images from the Spring 2022 Fire Mimicry and TEK workshop at Indian Canyon

16 05 2022
Opening circle

This past weekend Sudden Oak Life, EcoCamp Coyote, and Indian Canyon Nation joined efforts to choreograph the second FIre Mimicry and TEK workshop. This hands on 3-day event was attended by over 30 enthusiastic participants who took a deep dive into the ecology of fire and the practice of fire mimicry in the context of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). Our host and teacher of Indigenous knowledge was Kanyon Sayers-Roods (Mutsun Ohlone). Here are various images from the workshop. If you missed this event, please come to our Fall 2022 FIre Mimicry and TEK workshop at Indian Canyon in November.

An Ancestor oak at Indian Canyon treated with fire mimicry at the workshop
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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!

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Five years of surgical wound recovery in a coast live oak

13 04 2022

As I’ve shown in several recent posts (here and here), results are starting to accumulate regarding the efficacy of surgeries to remove stem canker infections (including Sudden Oak Death disease) in oaks. Five years ago I performed fire mimicry treatments and a stem canker surgery on a coast live oak in Los Altos, CA. I have returned every year since to track the progress of the wound recovery, and whether any infection remained. The set of photos presented here indicate that after only 5 years the surgical wound has healed closed with no sign of further infection. I’m calling this one a win!





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 …

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Fire mimicry treatment and surgery on a coast live oak in Kentfield, CA

5 04 2022

In 2018 I began fire mimicry treatments on a grove of coast live oaks in Kentfield, CA. One of the oaks started showing signs of a stem canker infection (probably Sudden Oak Death disease) in 2019. So I performed a surgical procedure to remove the canker, and have continued to treat this oak with compost tea, mineral-rich soil fertilizers, and limewash. Here are photos of the surgery and recovery of the wound and canopy. Be sure to look at the last picture of this series …

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A stem canker surgery and recovery in Big Sur, CA

4 04 2022

Several years ago I started fire mimicry treatments on a coast live oak in Big Sur, CA. The treatment included stem canker surgery, as well as soil fertilization and limewash application. Here is a set of photos showing both the surgical procedure and progress of recovery of the wound and the canopy health of the oak. Be sure to look at the final photo of this sequence!

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More photos showing a surgery on a stem canker infection in a coast live oak

4 04 2022

Here are a set of photos showing a surgical procedure on a coast live oak in Santa Cruz, CA infected with a stem canker disease (probably Sudden Oak Death). This is a good example of a major infection that appears minor at the surface. The surgery ended up being fairly large for a tree this size, but I do believe the oak will recover.