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Sonoma County Gazette
Oak Tree

Help Restore Oaks After the October Fires

Nov 27, 2017


This is a GIFT of your TIME to help RESTORE Sonoma County. You’ll have FUN outdoors, and chances are, you’ll meet wonderful people in the process.

Why do oaks need our help?

Even before the fires, oaks needed help. Populations have been in decline with seedlings and young trees nearly absent. The number of oaks killed by the fires is not known, but it is clear that many have died.

Did you know?

• Our wine country oaks support an estimated 350 types of animals!

• Oaks fight global warming. Recent studies show that an oak tree’s heavy wood stores more carbon than most other trees.

• Oaks improve property value. One real estate study found an increased value of $30k for a home with mature oaks.

A Simple way to Help with Fire Recovery.Help Us Gather Acorns!

This is an incredible mast year, and oaks are producing a historic crop of acorns. They can be the basis of robust recovery, but the window to act is closing fast. The acorns have fallen and we have just days to gather them before they dry and die.

To get started, please send us the following information. We’ll respond immediately with instructions and where to send the acorns based on your location. Thank you!

INFO: California Native Plant Society - LOCAL Milo Baker Chapter

 What Happens Next?

Your acorns will be processed by CNPS volunteers in Sacramento and shipped to volunteers in Sonoma led by Betty Young who will finish processing, including treating them to kill Phytophthora spores or other diseases. Some acorns will be shared with parks and partner organizations that need to direct plant this season. Most of the acorns will be planted in the nurseries run by CNPS volunteers.

While the seedlings grow, CNPS will work with parks, non-profits, and other partners to determine specific planting sites, schedule planting days, and engage the community. Next winter, when the rains come, we will come together to plant our oak seedlings in natural settings and carefully chosen gardens and landscaping sites.

Can we still collect? Even after the rains?

Yes, acorns are still needed.

Will you accept acorns from other areas?

We have the resources to focus on helping burned areas Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma Counties. That said, oaks everywhere need our help. If you collected acorns from other parts of California feel free to send them in and CNPS will do what we can to find them good homes; it is always possible a donor could provide the funding to expand this work to benefit other parts of California that need help. Please do not send acorns from outside California.

What oak species do you want?

Acorns of all oak species in the area are needed. (Please make sure you use different bags for the different species and include a branch for identification.)

Where should I go to gather acorns?

Please gather within the counties indicated above. Do not trespass. Always get landowner permission before gathering.

Can I plant acorns myself right now?

Yes. Planting local acorns on your own land is one of the best things you can do. Acorn to Oak (download the PDF from our website) gives guidance, but it can be relatively straightforward: plant, protect from mowers and weeds, enjoy.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Standard practice is to take no more than 5% in a single area.We want to be sure to leave enough for the wildlife and self-seeding.


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