Landscape Features - Specimen Oak Tree

Sometimes landscapes need a big tree to anchor the space. I had the pleasure of working with Berylwood Tree Farm on the sourcing of an 84" box Coast Live Oak for a current project - the results were great! Here's the tree before delivery, about 20' tall by 12' wide, happily doing its thing in the nursery.

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Before delivery, I prepared the planting site using a small excavator. I had the site inspected for utilities prior to beginning construction, and (luckily) encountered only smooth, clean soil. When preparing a hole for a tree this size, it's important to leave at least a foot of additional space around the tree box, so the wooden sides and metal strapping can be removed after the tree is lifted into place. The base of the hole should be leveled so the tree stands upright - sometimes this means that the soil level at the bottom of the hole will need to be adjusted to compensate for a leaning tree.

I always talk with the nursery staff to get their opinion on the amount of settling to expect from the tree's rootball - in this case, the tree should settle downward about 6 inches, which is why it's best to plant the tree high in the hole, knowing it's going to sink later!

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Because of the tree's weight, I contracted with the nursery to have the tree lifted into place with one of their cranes. Because of the site access constraints, the tree arrived on a separate flat bed truck, which made the back and forth maneuvering easy!

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After lifting it into place and back-filling with native soil, here's the final product! I selected this tree for its strong branching structure, perfect for framing the view from the upper patio toward the ocean. Stay tuned for additional project images as I continue transforming the site!

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Landscape Recovery: Discussions with the Santa Barbara Contractors Association

Last week I did a series of short video discussions with the Santa Barbara Contractors Association about landscape recovery in the wake of the Thomas Fire and associated mudslides. The information is useful for homeowners trying to get a handle on damage assessment, erosion control, and plant selection for hillsides. Enjoy!

(Ps. Videos don't seem to load correctly in the Firefox browser - use another one for best results!)