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!

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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!





Coast live oaks and coast redwood in Piedmont, CA respond to fire mimicry

25 05 2021

Yesterday I inspected and re-photographed several ailing coast live oaks and a coast redwood in Piedmont, CA that were treated with fire mimicry one year ago. The photos indicate that all of the trees show clear improvement in canopy density and lushness. Thank you for taking notice of, and sharing, these important results!

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California’s big trees tell a story of overcrowding …

17 08 2020

I recently went on a several week journey to further investigate the big trees of California. Within the past month I have visited Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Forest, Sierra National Forest, Redwood National Park, and various northern California state parks. Simply put, there is an overcrowding problem, but not of tourists.

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Above is a giant sequoia surrounded by dozens of younger trees, all of which are competing for the same resources as this ancient tree, In previous centuries, these younger trees would have been removed by fires set by the local California natives.

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Fallen giant sequoias from paludification, along with over competition.

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Fire mimicry results with Lebanese cedar, sycamore, redwood, and coast live oaks

7 05 2020

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Several years ago I began fire mimicry treatments on some Lebanese cedar, sycamore, coast redwood, and coast live oak trees in Los Altos, CA. The before-and-after photos  shown here indicate that the treatments were effective in improving the health of the trees.

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Recovery of a coast redwood after construction damage

6 05 2020

In 2011 I was approached by a land owner who wanted to do construction around the base of a coast redwood. About a quarter of the root system of the tree would have to be removed in the process. I advised fire mimicry treatment of the tree prior to excavation, and follow up treatments afterwards. I told him that the tree would likely show a decreased canopy following the root damage, but that with proper care it could recover.  The owner agreed to my plan, so I treated the redwood before construction, and several years post construction. The repeat photo series below shows the progress of the recovery over that past 9 years. This is a fine example of the great resilience of redwoods!

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Coast live oaks, pines, and redwoods in the Bay Area respond to fire mimicry

27 04 2020

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Today I inspected several oaks, pines, and redwood trees that have received fire mimicry treatments in recent years. The coast live oak above has been treated periodically for 8 years. The results shown above and below provide encouraging news about our ability to bring sick and diseased trees back to health using an ecological approach to tree care.

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Diseased oaks in Los Altos, CA respond to fire mimicry

7 03 2020

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Three years ago I began fire mimicry treatments on several coast live oaks and redwood trees in Los Altos, CA. Three of the largest oaks, one of which appears to be an Indian-era tree, had bleeding stem cankers, probably Sudden Oak Death disease. In addition to fertilizing the soils with compost tea and alkaline-rich minerals, I performed several surgical procedures on the stem cankers. While I can’t say at this point that the oaks are free of disease, the photos do suggest that the oaks are on the mend. The two coast redwood trees in the last photo set also show a positive response to the treatments, although the larger redwood is starting to show signs of drought stress (e.g. thinning top). Otherwise, I’m pretty pleased with the results, as are the clients.

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Saving the redwoods with fire mimicry in Oakland, CA

28 10 2018

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Two years ago I began treating these coast redwood trees growing in Oakland, CA using a fire mimicry protocol. Here are the results. The redwoods are showing noticeable improvement in canopy size and density after only two years.

Saving the redwoods isn’t just about keeping them from being cut down. It also requires that we tend them, as the California native people did for thousands of years!

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Fire mimicry reverses decline in coast redwoods

30 09 2018

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As I’ve discussed  previously (here), coast redwoods in many areas are showing symptoms of dieback, typically beginning towards the top and progressing downward. Drought and disease have been implicated in the redwood decline, but the true cause remains elusive. I suspect the decline is ultimately related to the altered fire ecology.

In October 2016 I applied fire mimicry treatments to a grove of coast redwoods in Alamo, CA that were in decline. Here are the results after two years.

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