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Native Plant of the Month

Valley Oak Tree

Quercus Lobata

  • This deciduous tree is a keystone species in the Central Valley of California

  • The largest of the North American Oaks,  reaching up to 60' in 20 years and may attain an age of up to 600 years

Sun: Full Sun or Semi-Shade

Water: Tolerates cool wet winters & hot dry summers; Moderate; drought tolerant but prefers moist soil

Soil: Clay, Loamy, either mildly acidic, neutral or mildly alkaline

Root System: Grown from acorns; Young Valley Oaks can have a taproot up to 60 ft deep as it searches for ground water in landscapes characterized by seasonal droughts.  As the tree matures, the tap root sloughs off and the tree develops a tiered root system 2-4 feet below the soil surface.

Attracts:  Supports more wildlife than any other species of trees; a single mature oak tree can support more than 280 species of insects, 532 species of caterpillars, 147 species of birds, 120 species of mammals and 60 species of reptiles and amphibians

Other:  Grows Oak galls shaped like balls or minute 'candy kiss' shapes on foliage and twigs that are produced by gall wasps which house the eggs and larvae of insects.  Birds and squirrels eat the soft gall tissues as the gall ripens and after the larvae emerge, the gall becomes a habitat for other inspects like ants and bees

Valley Oak Tree Canopy_edited.jpg
Valley Oak Tree Bark
Picture of Oak leaf with small oak galls
large galls_edited.jpg


picture of scavanger hunt sheet for children in the Habitat Garden
habitat garden certification signs


Our Habitat Garden is a Certified Wildlife Habitat by National Wildlife Federation and is  recognized by Xerces Society for its commitment to sustainably providing the essential elements of wildlife habitat and  planting for pollinators and protection from pesticides.

guests touring habitat garden


Our goal is to continue planting evergreen and deciduous native plants to create bird & pollinator food throughout all 4 seasons.  We have developed stone walkways for ease of touring the garden and viewing the plants from varioius angles.  All plant species have been labeled with common as well as scientific names so guests can research for more information.

gardener shoveling soil

Our President's Project is a habitat garden.  We obtained a 28' x 75' parcel and planted California native plants and nectar and water sources to help our struggling pollinators.  The community is welcome to come explore and learn more.  Information, including scavenger hunt diagrams for children, are available inside the "information pole".

collage of native plants in garden


Our Garden has come a long way, thanks to our President, Laura Fortune and Member, Liz Kummerle.  The area was cleared of overgrown ivy and oleanders; existing trees pruned back, a path laid, a new fence installed and painted and native plants planted throughout each season.

native plants, flowers and pond in a garden


Native plants in late October left unpruned so birds can continue to find seeds for food.  The shallow pond is surrounded by rocks so birds, bees and butterflies can land on rocks to drink.  Creeping Thyme surrounds the pond which  is solar powered and  built with the help of a college student.  


diagram to build a bubbler in a pond
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