Save Our Live Oaks

We live in Oakland, after all.  The Oaks are a symbol of our area, and one of the true natives surviving in Montclair and the hills.

We could end up losing these natives, according to a trained botanist who lives in town.  It turns out that many Oaks are stressed and need a bit of calcium to stay healthy.  To get started, here’s the preventative treatment for trees on your property.

Oak in Oakland

What are we preventing?

Sudden Oak Death, which can strike when a fungus (p. ramorum) runs amuck.  Threats come from ecosystem problems including a “loss of food sources for wildlife, a change in fire frequency or intensity, and decreased water quality due to an increase in exposed soil surfaces.”

Yes, there’s a threat from fire changes.  When Oaks live in a natural environment, they are able to control this fungus due to fires.  The ashes then become a source of phosphorus and calcium. Yet we live in a place where fire suppression is a top priority.

How can you help?

There are several ways to make a difference, by monitoring nearby oaks and identifying if they have problems.  If you are lucky enough to have oaks on your own property, consider feeding them a bit of calcium.  Also make sure their root systems aren’t disrupted or upset by nearby construction.

Take the time to read through “more info” below, since UC Berkeley has incredible resources devoted to Sudden Oak Death.  It hasn’t hit our area yet, but it can be devastating and quickly wipe us out.  Marin has suffered already, and we can learn from experience.

More info:   Homeowner’s GuideTreatment VideoOak Mortality Task ForceAlameda Specialists

2 thoughts on “Save Our Live Oaks

  1. Sudden oak death hasn’t been found in the Sausal Creek watershed yet — but it’s very, very close. It’s been found in Knowland Park, in a yard in Butters Canyon, and in nearby EBRPD lands.

    This Saturday, UC Berkeley is sponsoring a sampling effort — volunteers will attend a training, then collect the samples, and UC will test them for SOD. I plan to attend the workshop, and to cover as much of the watershed areas as I can. But more volunteers mean we can cover more territory.

    [Click here] for details on how to RSVP — so they can have enough supplies. Do let me know if you’re coming too, at

    The Berkeley web site is very informative, take a look, even if you can’t come. If you’re a regular hiker/cyclist on our watershed trails, check out the photos in [this document] to learn how to recognize symptoms on oaks and some of the other plants that carry the disease.

  2. If you look at the “symptoms” document mentioned above, look carefully at page 11 — the page that shows the symptoms on Bay Laurel trees. Then look carefully at Bay Laurels in the neighborhood. If you see any trees that look worrisome, drop me an email at with the location. Time permitting during the weekend — the blitz is Saturday & Sunday — I’ll take a sample.

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