The only native oak tree in BC is the Garry oak, although many other species thrive here once planted. Oak woodlands depend on natural wildfires or disturbance, such as agriculture, to spread and survive. If this does not occur, they are overtaken by aggressive trees such as the Douglas fir. Mature Garry oaks are fire resistant, making them a popular choice for planting in parks and private land. Garry oak woodlands are critical habitat for the duskywing butterfly, Lewis woodpecker, western gray squirrel, western tanager and western bluebird. Plant life symbiotic with oak trees include the golden paintbrush and trillium wildflowers, snowberry shrubs and apple moss. The next time you wander through one of our local parks, keep an eye out for oak trees. Mature specimens are typified by dark to black bark, massive height, large lateral spreading branches (great for photo-ops), and telltale leaves and acorn nuts.
Do you have an oak tree on your property? We salute you! Watch for signs of oak-specific disease such as sudden oak death (SOD). SOD is an invasive plant pathogen that affects the leaves, bark and trunk. With our warmer, more humid seasonal changes, SOD can spread through soil and wind and is difficult to recognize. Browning leaf tips and twig dieback may indicate a problem.