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.


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.


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


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!


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

27 04 2020


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


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


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!


Fire mimicry reverses decline in coast redwoods

30 09 2018


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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Fire mimicry results from Mill Valley and Los Altos, CA

8 03 2018



The first two photo sets above are of an oak in Mill Valley, CA that I began treating 5 years ago using fire mimicry. This oak has made significant improvement, as was already documented two years ago here.

The photo sets below are of three coast live oaks, and two coast redwood trees first treated with fire mimicry last year (2017). The first of the series shows a young coast live oak that has lost some leaf density in its canopy. This is an atypical result which may be corrected with further treatments. The other photos sets show an ancient, Native American-era coast live oak that is showing significant improvement in canopy density in just one year. Another mature coast live oak, despite having a major limb removed, is showing slight improvement. And two coast redwood trees are also showing slight improvement in just one year.


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Decline in redwood trees abated with fire mimicry

7 09 2013


Last year I was contacted by the owners of a property in Fremont, CA with numerous redwoods that had been in decline for several years. Previous to my involvement, various conventional tree service companies and experts had tried helping the trees, but to no avail. Their recommendation was to remove the sick redwoods. Fortunately, the owners were reluctant to cut down the redwood trees and decided to ask for my help.

Upon my inspection of the redwoods I found evidence of soil acidification and nutrient depletion. The owners followed my recommendations for fire mimicry treatments involving moss removal, soil mineral amendments, and compost tea.

Here are the results after just one year. Most, although not all, of the sick redwood trees are showing noticeable improvement in canopy density. None of the redwoods appear to be exhibiting further decline. Note that in photo set 20120912.2 below, the redwood tree on the left was removed during the past year. It was the one redwood I felt could not be revived with treatments.

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