Taking Care of Our Native Oaks during Drought

Taking Care of Our Native Oaks during Drought

I’ve had a number of queries regarding the proper watering of native California oaks during this drought. I wrote an article on Oak Tree Care in 2012, and most is current, but I wanted to re-tap some experts for tips during this drought. So along with a quick review and some good and bad pruning examples, here you go. [Read more…]

Great hikes: Head to the Crafton Hills

Great hikes: Head to the Crafton Hills

I’m always on the lookout for hikes that feature our area’s rich California native habitat and wildlife — and Crafton Hill’s Grape Street Trail in Yucaipa provides plenty of that. It’s an intermediate trail that takes you up a not-too-steep hill to nice views [Read more…]

Infected Firewood is Transporting Oak Beetle

Infected Firewood is Transporting Oak Beetle

When we moved from the San Diego area nearer to Los Angeles, old coast live oaks — the native oak that epitomizes California – were dying off from a new pest. We lived in the east part of San Diego County and were concerned about the pest as we heard reports of it moving westward. Especially since our property had a half-dozen 80-year-old oaks on our property.

Unfortunately, the beetle – the goldspotted oak borer or GSOB– that is causing this is moving north [Read more…]

Seek Local Native Plants for Cold (and Hot) Tolerance

Seek Local Native Plants for Cold (and Hot) Tolerance

“One of the advantages of growing local native plants is that the plants from your immediate vicinity are well adapted to our climate’s yearly fluctuations and can take those rare days with winter low temperatures and high temperatures in the sumners” – Bart O’Brien, RSABG

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our agave ‘Blue Flame’, coffee berry, Mexican feather grass and manzanita did well in recent cold snap

Here in California we’ve had some unusally cold weather this January [Read more…]

The Science of Trees

The Science of Trees

At our local horticulture group last month we were lucky to have speaker Paul Chaney, an ISA Certified Arborist who enlightened us on the science behind trees. Understanding their structure and how they grow helps us in turn to understand their best care, particularly pruning. [Read more…]

Replacing Invasive Plants

Replacing Invasive Plants

On one of my walks here in Southern California I pass a house where they’re removing the English Ivy that thickly carpeted the front landscape. I’m not sure what they’re going to replace it with but it has prompted this article on invasive groundcovers, grasses and shrubs [Read more…]

Favorite Natives: Western Sycamore

Favorite Natives: Western Sycamore

Here in Redlands CA, ESRI employs 2000 and is a huge presence in our town. With hundreds of sycamore trees dotting ESRI’s campus, the tree is obviously a favorite of the company’s founder, Jack Dangermond. “I like this tree. It makes people feel good when they are around them,” says Dangermond. He followed with more than a dozen characteristics, which include its rustic, casual character and sculptural multi-colored trunk, big beautiful leaves that offer changing seasonal colors, and its plentiful food for birds. But of course, It’s hard to find a perfect tree.  Sycamores can be messy, and they may trigger allergies for some people.

The California or Western Sycamore (Platanus racemosa) is also a favorite of mine. Here is some info about this fast-growing, deciduous tree. [Read more…]