8 responses

  1. Heather Stevning
    September 11, 2012

    I have six live oak volunteers that grew from acorns I threw out in my yard two summers ago.

    I’ve been guarding them with my life, but now understand I may have been watering them too much recently, based on your info. Thanks.

  2. Linda Richards
    September 11, 2012

    hey Heather, they’re probably fine, especially since they’re so young. It’s the mature ones that don’t need the water in the hot summer months. I’ll try to find an oak expert to find out how to best wean them off the supplemental water as the years go by – a good question….

    • Leslie Lipton
      April 22, 2013

      Hi. Saw the question on weaning oaks off supplemental water.
      I am moving into a house in the foothills outside Fresno. There is a huge beautiful live oak in the yard. A large area under the tree has been drip watered for 20 minutes per day for the last ten years. I am removing the exotic plants from underneath the tree and plan to replace with appropriate California natives. However, how do I wean the oak of the supplemental water? It seems extremely healthy and happy.
      thanks much.

      • Linda Richards
        April 24, 2013

        if its seems healthy and happy I would probably leave the irrigation as is or decrease it to several times a week. The newly planted natives will need extra water the first couple years anyway. But you know, I’m not an expert on that – maybe you can run your q by a local arborist? (fyi, we watered our newly planted natives very heavily at planting, then every few days the first month or two – depending on the season we planted, then once a week the first year. They don’t need everyday for sure.)

  3. airport
    May 5, 2013

    Very good article! We will be linking to this great post on our site.

    Keep up the good writing.

    • Linda Richards
      October 21, 2013

      Hi all, I wanted to update with some input I received from Bert Wilson, owner of Las Pilitas native plant nursery – I asked him about mature trees that have been irrigated. He said this: “if they have been watered for most of their life, keep watering, if watering was a recent introduction, remove it over a period of a year or so. NEVER introduce water to an old tree.
      BUT, they should remove any non-native plants, including weeds, from under the native oaks. Makes a dramatic difference.They should not disturb the soil when they remove them, i.e., cut them off at ground level instead of digging them out.”

  4. Karen Kaminsky
    May 18, 2014

    Help! I am concerned about my oak trees here in Ojai,Ca. In the last ten days, my neighborhood has lost 2 – one might have come down due to watering, the other which lost a lot of cracked off branches, definitely not. It is residing in an open yard that is abandoned, so only got Mama Nature’s water. I have read conflicting reports about watering with soaker hoses at tree canopy edge in a drought. Any thoughts? My trees are big, dry, and old! Thanks.

    • Linda Richards
      May 18, 2014

      Good qs – I will do a separate blog on this again, and you’re right that there are conflicting thoughts. But in general, it’s ok to water native oaks during drought but timing is important. Here are a couple people’s answers on this issue who I respect. 1) From local arborist. Paul Chaney, here in the Inland Empire (where we have hotter weather than you do) “During unusually dry winters, (drought,) mature oak trees might benefit from (infrequent, deep) supplemental water. (Use a soil sampling tube to check soil moisture 12″ to 18″ deep before deciding to irrigate.” 2) From Bart O’Brien from Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, slightly inland from you: “IN GENERAL (there are always exceptions that can be found)
      For PRE-EXISTING native oaks: 1. Do not water in the summer months. 2. During droughts, water the tree in the winter and early spring months (stop by the end of March) – this is the time of year that the tree banks water for the year.
      For PLANTED native oaks:
      1A. If it is an OLDER tree (15 plus years) that has been in the landscape for years, continue whatever irrigation regime that the tree has grown up with as that is what it has adapted to.
      1B. If it is a newly planted young tree, you can get it to adapt to drought or watered conditions. You will have to water a newly planted oak for at least a few summers before it will survive with minimal to no summer water (some of this depends on the size of the plant when it is planted, and it will also depend on the soil conditions).”

      I would consult with an expert in your area too, but from the above, you might want to wait til the fall to water. With our other native shrubs and trees, we do supplement water in the late spring through summer tho we wait til a cool overcast day. Lastly, there is the gold-spotted oak borer that has killed many trees in San Diego but that should not be in your area.

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