Please don’t pick the flowers. Oops! I meant to say FLAGS….



You may have seen green/blue and red irrigation flags in one area of Guadalupe Oak Grove Park between two of the main walking trails.  These flags represent a project being done in cooperation with District 10.  They mark a 30 foot-wide swath from trail to trail, and all the one-year old, baby Valley and Blue Oak shoots that are growing within.  These shoots are to be ‘caged’ in chicken wire cages to protect them, watered and encouraged to live as they are to be the replacement trees for the Blue and Valley Oak trees we are losing to the extended drought and other issues.  The flags are there because after the deciduous native oak trees drop their leaves they will be ‘invisible’ but for the subsequent caging.  Blue and Valley Oaks will not regenerate due to the high-weed and grass load in the park and the out-competing Coast Live Oaks which are overtaking the open Savannah.

Thanks for your understanding and cooperation.




Pat Pizzo

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by sqrrlady on October 2, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    SUPER PAT;; just please do not clear out what we consider as weeds and undergrowth. Those little plants are badly needed by our ground dwellers, both small mammals and numerous avian species use for food and cover.



  2. Posted by patrick p. pizzo on October 2, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    At this point, there is no intent to do that, excepting the immediate area by each sprout. Those grasses and weeds are one of the reasons the sprouts only last about one year. You may notice there are no 5, 10, 15, and so forth Valley or Blue Oak trees in the area. Those grasses shade the sprouts, take all available moisture and otherwise choke the oak starts out. Whereas the broader grasses will remain, those within a foot or so of the sprouts must be dealt with.

    By the way, recall the summer fire we had a few months back, in the northern end of the park? That fire acted almost like a controlled burned (thanks to the quick response of the SJ fire folks!). Those grasses (all invasive and European introduced by the early Spanish in fodder for their cattle). Keep your eye on that area this rainy season and spring. There may be some runoff as a result; but there probably will be an awakening of CA native wildflower and plant species present in the seed bank now that the other grasses were removed by fire. I think you will still find a high density of ground squirrels in that area; and perhaps an improvement in the wildlife habitat of bird and insect species, due to the CA native resurgence. We’ll see how this plays out.

    There are risks and benefits to every situation. Another example: storage of acorns by the various and wonderful woodpeckers in our park!

    Acorn Woodpecker*
    Red-breasted Sapsucker
    Nuttall’s Woodpecker*
    Downy Woodpecker*
    Hairy Woodpecker
    Pileated Woodpecker

    In general, the Coast Live Oak produces most routinely, a good acorn crop. This is not always true of the Valley and Blue Oak, especially in drought years. It happens that the CLO acorns are long and thin, compared to the larger and fatter Blue and Valley Oak acorns. Those hungry little woodpeckers most generally stuff those thinner CLO acorns in holes they peck into the trunks and branches of, especially distressed or dead, trees. Many of these acorns are dropped along the way, or in the hole-stuffing process. The Coast Live Oak is a faster growing species AND evergreen. It out competes the Valley and Blue oaks. Guess what happens as a result? Coast Live Oak begin to show up everywhere, not just in the entry to the park where they were introduced.

    This park is, and has been for years (a couple of hundred years at the least) an open, Oak Savannah. It is called ‘open’ as the Valley and Blue Oak are deciduous trees: they drop their leaves in the Fall. There is a 1987 Master Plan for the GOGP as well as a 2016 Vegetation Management Plan (Report authored by H. T. Harvey & Associates of Los Gatos). All restoration and preservation actions taken in this park will be in compliance with the practices put forward by experts in these two reports.



  3. Posted by sqrrlady on October 2, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Thanks Pat: As you may know I am a Wildlife Rehabber and have been so for 35+ years, President of Injured & Orphaned Wildlife, which is strictly care in the private homes of our volunteers, we have no set “center”. I am absolutely enthralled with GOGP and would love to move in, I am also very protective of the critters of GOGP. All I want is for GOGP to remain as natural and wild as it has been for the last what 1000+ years. I want all 3 types of oaks to survive, our native ground dwellers and birds to flourish. If that takes some controlled burns, great, but just a few please.

    I do not like the idea that the place has to be “Spiffied up” to meet human housekeeping standards. We are strictly visitors there, the place belongs to the critters, whatever is done should be done for their benefit, and only their benefit, taking fire safety into consideration. Removal or cutting of trees should only be done if the tree is a danger to an established viewing path, but the remains should be left, as home, shelter and fodder for the critters. The fallen tree with rot, and dissolve into the soil as it was meant to do.

    I have a copy of the 1987 Master Plan, I do not have the 2016 Vegetation Management Plan. I would like to obtain one. How do I go about that? The Members have worked very hard on the Martin-Fontana Park end of things, my congratulations to them. But the GOGP needs to be kept wild.

    Thanks, take care, time to walk the dog.



  4. Posted by patrick p. pizzo on October 3, 2017 at 8:21 am

    I will provide MFPA a copy of the Vegetation Management Plan. Maybe they could post it? pppizzo

    Liked by 1 person


  5. Posted by patrick p. pizzo on October 3, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Just a reminder, but the Final Results of the GOGP Survey, posted January 02, 2015, are available on this blog:

    The survey reflects the comments of 73 respondents.



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