Fall planting of trees is on a lot of people's minds. We had a couple of rains that took away the dusty dry feel of everyone's yards. Lots of people are getting trees tagged to plant asap so the roots have time to get established before summer comes. Even though it rains in the winter here (we hope) you will still have to keep a good eye on the watering needs of freshly planted trees. A nice simple drip system will cut down on water and time but still needs to be watched for irrigation snafus. Pictured is a low branching Coast Live Oak. It is evergreen and keeps leaves on through the winter. It can give you shade, privacy and wildlife too! It is very easy to grow and likes a lot of different terrains.
Our great farm hand Stanton is carefully repotting a Coast Live Oak to the next size. Notice that the roots were not circling the root ball. This is a great feature with fabric pots and sets the tree up for a very successful transplant.
Saving water in California is on everyone's mind, we hope. Putting in drip irrigation and using lots of water-conserving techniques is no longer an option—it is a necessity. Good old Ruth Stout's heavy mulching strategies will save much of what would evaporate without it. Using gray water is now legal in California and just in time! Our dear planet needs all the green we can plant, for keeping our CO2 levels from going even higher. Plant trees and perennials whenever possible. Green plants help the planet. Shade from trees cools our homes, schools, animals and us.
We are famous for our large sized Valley Oak, aka Quercus lobata. This picture shows a couple in 48 inch diameter containers. They are about twenty feet tall and about 5 inch caliper (the width of the trunk). These trees do fine with good watering after they are put in their forever home. The Valley Oak is very fast growing if planted in their favorite habitat which is the valley floor, clay soil is great for them. The range goes to 1500 feet. They are also called water oak and are not the type of native oak that hates to be watered. They even grow in the river! They will find the water table with a strong tap root that reforms and drills deep deep deep into the clay for summer water. Until that happens you will need a drip system so it won't dry out in the summer. The whole valley floor here in Napa was Valley Oak back in the day before wheat, fruit trees and finally wine grapes dominate. Usually you will see the round apple sized gall balls hanging and that will help identify a Valley Oak from a distance. If you are from other parts of the US you would call this tree a White Oak. Beautiful!
This piece of art will greet you at Main Street near Pueblo. It was made from Corten steel and crafted by a young talent named Andrew using a picture of Valley Oak, Quercus lobata taken here in Napa.