Ancient Indian-era oaks respond to fire mimicry

2 12 2017

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Three years ago I treated several ancient, Indian-era oaks with fire mimicry. These oak have classic lapsed-pollard shapes, indicating they were culturally modified by the native people several hundred years ago. Every oak shown here (above an below) is over 200 years old, and possibly much older. The lapsed-pollard shape is evident by the multiple large boles branching from one location near the base of the trunk. Younger oaks of the same species growing nearby typically exhibit a dichotomous branching pattern, so the anomalous shapes of these older oaks is most likely an indication that they were culturally modified (pollarded) at a younger age by California native people. The present day forms of these trees show that the pollards have lapsed, that is, the trees are no longer being tended. Pollarding is a widely used modern tending practice in orchard trees, creating broad spreading canopies that maximize fruit or nut production.

In my mind, the ancient oaks shown here are Native Americans artifacts. These oaks provided the primary sustenance of the local tribes, acorn. Oak orchards were grown, tended, and shaped by the native people in ways that helped to sustain both themselves and the bountiful wildlife.

It’s nice to have a proven model for oak forest restoration. It is the model I and others are following. Please enjoy these results!

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Long-term response of oaks to fire mimicry

1 12 2017

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Another milestone! For 13 years these coast live oaks have been regularly tended with fire mimicry. These oaks are longest continuous case studies of fire mimicry in my records. Most of the work has been done by Leith Carstarphen following my recommended treatment plan.

Apart from one oak that was lost this past year due to slope failure, the photos (above and below) show significant improvement in the canopy density and vitality of the oaks. The healthy growth of the smaller trees in the foreground now partially obstructs the view of the canopies of two oaks. Still, the oaks continue to grow and thrive, despite the presence of disease (probably Sudden Oak Death) in some of them.

Previous years’ results for these oaks can be found here for 2016, here for 2015, and here for 2014.

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Fire mimicry is improving the health of oaks in Redwood City, CA

22 11 2017

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Today I would like to show you the progress of some oaks that were treated with fire mimicry starting in 2013. Previous years’ results with the same trees are shown here and here. As can be seen in these photos, most of the oaks are continuing to show a strong and in some cases a dramatic response to the treatments, including the last tree in the series which is a Native American era heritage oak. The photos speak for themselves. Enjoy!

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Upcoming talk – “The cultural modification of trees and forests by California’s Native Peoples”

4 11 2017
CMT madrone

Culturally modified madrone tree in Big Sur, CA

In January 2018 I will be giving a talk “Culturally modified trees and forests by California’s Native People“, co-sponsored by the Sempervirens Fund and REI. Details of the talk are here. The talk is free but you will need to sign up through Eventbrite. Hope to see you there!

 





Black oaks and coast live oaks in Glen Ellen, CA respond to fire mimicry

28 10 2017

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A grove of black oaks and coast live oaks in Glen Ellen, CA treated last year with fire mimicry are showing a nice positive response in canopy health, except for one black oak (see photo below) that has lost it’s leaves early and appears distressed. All of these trees survived the recent fires that burned through the area.

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Oaks in Marin respond to fire mimicry

15 09 2017

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Here are the results of an oak grove in Fairfax, CA that has been treated with fire mimicry a couple of times over the past three years. Most of the oaks have responded nicely.

One tree at a time . . .

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Carmel oaks respond to fire mimicry

13 09 2017

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Three years ago I began treating a grove of mature coast live oaks in Carmel, CA with fire mimicry. Yesterday I checked on their response. As the photos here reveal, most of the oaks show a clear improvement in the leaf density.of their canopies.

I haven’t done a tally on the total number of trees I’ve reported on in the nearly 10 years of hosting this website, but a fair estimate is that it is upwards of 1000 case studies, including oaks, pines, cedars, buckeyes, magnolias, fruit trees, and more. It has been immensely rewarding to witness and report these results, and to demonstrate to all concerned a clear way forward for tending our trees and forests.

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