I’m writing in response to this article you published on Dec. 4, which inaccurately states that “The native valley oak, a massive deciduous tree that lines the banks of the UCD Arboretum, is more tolerant of summer water and thrives as long as drainage is adequate.”
I am a licensed landscape architect who spent many years working to preserve and protect native oak trees (including valley oak) from damage due to construction impacts, part of which involved regulating landscape irrigation within the driplines of native oak trees. I witnessed countless real-world situations where irrigation, summer or otherwise, generated long-term impacts to native oak trees that often lead to their demise.
Many municipalities have adopted ordinances to protect native oak trees from damage, and many include provisions for very low water use within oak tree driplines.
Ellen Zagory’s statement that summer water is OK within valley oak tree driplines is only accurate with very minimal water, and I hope that her influence doesn’t lead to the demise of those beautiful oak trees in the UCD Arboretum. It would be a shame to lose such nice trees because a misinformed person overlooked reality.