Planting natives and removing invasive non-natives is what we do on HRT. The best part of this job is saving the planet. The second best part of learning what you can do at home in your own backyard to make your garden more than just a pretty space. There is always something you can do that will help wildlife or our native plants survive in our very crowded world. Creating a sanctuary or “safe house” in your urban environment is not that hard. Really.
A case in point: this week a headline on the front page of The East Bay Times declared that Sudden Oak Death was spreading.
The article listed Coast Oaks, Black Oaks, and Tanbark Oak trees as victims. As these species succumb to SOD, the urban habitat loses a major structural element. Oaks form a major anchor species for a lot of Californian habitats. As it turns out, Valley Oaks are resistant to SOD and can, in my opinion, fill in the gaps left open after the other oaks succumb.
HRT has been planting Valley Oaks at The Cosumnes River Preserve since 1988 and I have one in my backyard in Martinez from the first day of planting back in 1988. Lou Gouveia sprouted our tree from an acorn back then and gave it to my wife Betty and me 17 years ago to plant at our new home. From a stunted potted plant, that oak now has a breast height circumference of 52 inches and is one and a half times the height of our two-story home.