Oaks grow fast – pretty fast, that is

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I am sitting at my desk working on a presentation for a class called “What Should I Plant?”  to be given on October 16th at the Theodore Payne Foundation. It is an introductory class that will hopefully inspire rather than overwhelm people who are new to native plants. Checking over my slides of natives from my garden and elsewhere, I came across pictures of coast live oaks. For Pasadena and much of northeast LA this is an excellent tree. Yet, I can hear people complain that, yes they like it but it grows so slowly. Well I am here (and at TPF) to tell you, NOT SO! And here are pictures to prove it.

Coast live oaks on my parkway, then and now

Click on the images to see full size pictures.

Just to further prove my point, here is the southern most tree with the house behind it for scale. I planted this coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) 11 years ago from a 15-gallon pot. During its first year I watered deeply once every few weeks. After that I gave it a deep soaking about once a month, and during the winter if it did not rain. It has not received any supplemental water for about ten years. (Correction: make that six years without supplemental water.) These trees are on their own.

Yes, eleven years is a bit of time but they really started taking off after about three years. What are you waiting for? Plant an oak now!

coast live oak
This dry parkway garden with three coast live oaks receives no supplemental water.