Although the winter was drier than normal and the soil tough, we are seeing the fruits of our planting labor! The seedlings are hard-wired to grow, and most of them are flourishing. 64% of the acorn sites we planted have seedlings as of June—an impressive survival rate. It’s exciting to measure the seedlings knowing that if they are three inches tall, their roots are three times as long. Oaks are especially tenacious with their taproots; they have only a few months to reach the water table before the rain ceases and they’re on their own.
Due to the especially tough drought this year and the importance of establishing a native oak canopy at Stanley Reach, it has been necessary to provide supplemental water to the seedlings. Using a water trailer and recycled water, we give each seedling a good drink at least every couple of weeks. This will help ensure that more of the seedlings make it through their first season and become the mighty oaks that will shade future generations of Valley citizens.