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Oak trees identify California landscapes. Approaching the Sierra foothills, dark green bands of blue oaks interspersed with golden grasses on the rolling hillsides announce the transition into the mountains.
Oaks have been removed to create pasture, to shore up mines, and to create housing developments. Due to competition with non-native ground covers and with pressure from grazing, many types of oaks are not regenerating (creating viable, long-lived oak seedlings) in the wild. People kill old, long-established oaks by planting shade plants under them and watering them all summer long, creating fungal diseases that will kill oaks. Sometimes, people who plan to develop their property in the future will remove oaks in an effort to avoid having to pay mitigation for the removal of large trees.
It's been demonstrated in studies that oak trees increase property values. Living next to open space containing oaks also increases property values. All California oaks are very well adapted to the elevations where they occur naturally and provide the backbone for "right plant/right place" landscaping that reduces the need for extra irrigation and fertilizer.
UCCE Central Sierra, with funding from the Renewable Resources Extension Act, presents a free public workshop on Saturday, August 24 to discuss the value of oaks and oak woodlands, the threats to California native oaks, and ways to help preserve and care for them, whether you live on a small city lot or a large ranch. The workshop will be held from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. at the UC Cooperative Extension Office, 12200-B Airport Road in Jackson, California. To register for the workshop, call 530-621-5528. Pre-registration is not required.