The Oak Harbor Garry Oak Society preserves existing Garry oak trees by removing invasive species that threaten existing trees, by planting Garry oaks in new areas, and by advocating for the preservation of existing oaks that may be threatened by development or land use. We have also adopted the Garry Oak Native Garden at the Oak Harbor Post Office. Our preservation efforts are crucial to the survival of the Garry oak in our community. Oaks are slow growing and have lost as much as 99% of their original habitat. Continual preservation efforts will ensure that our city’s namesake lives on in our community for future generations.
Planting Acorns, Planting Trees
Members of the OHGOS came together this fall to plant acorns from favorite local Garry oaks and take the pots home for nurturing until the seedlings are big enough to plant successfully. This will be when they are 2-3 years old. We want to provide a supply of juvenile trees in Oak Harbor at-the-ready for replacing trees that have died or for new areas of future planting.
Garry Oak Native Garden
Planted by Melissa Duffy and members of Harbor Pride in the 90’s when the largest Garry oak in town towered over the Post Office, but in recent years the grand old oak was lost and the garden languished. The Oak Harbor Garry Oak Society committed in late 2016 to preserve and enhance the native plantings, and oversee the care of the young Garry oak saplings. Weeding and mulching has taken place in the garden and volunteers are busy planting new native plants. Did you know that there are two young Garry oak growing near the stump of the once-iconic Post Office Garry Oak? While we do not yet have permanent plant-identification signage, stop by the garden and see how many native plants you can name yourself. If you would like to volunteer to work in the garden or have native plants to donate, please get in touch with us!
Special thanks to the Pacific Rim Institute for generously donating new native plants for the garden.
Garry Oak Tree Inventory
Two hard-working society volunteers conducted a tree inventory of all the Garry oak trees in Oak Harbor, Washington. While we are lucky to have so many Garry oak trees in our community, one fact stands out: there are not many juvenile Garry oak trees to be found. The Garry oak society hopes to plant hundreds of new Garry oak seedlings so that as existing Garry oak trees age, juvenile trees will grow to one day take their place.
808 – Total number of oaks in Oak Harbor
487 – Oak count on private land
321 – Oak count on public land
3% – Percent of young oaks
Please note: This is an informal tree inventory. Oaks on private property were evaluated only from the public right of way. Assumptions were made about age, location, and domain. This is a useful document to get a general idea of how many oaks there are, but it is not a scientific count. It does not include the Navy Grove near the Oak Harbor Library, our new Centennial Grove, or known oaks outside Oak Harbor city limits. If you have a comment, question, or correction, please get in touch with the society.
The City of Oak Harbor has completed their own tree inventory. In 2003 an arborist reviewed over 20 oak trees within the city limits, with the final report available in PDF format.2003 Tree Study
Invasive English Ivy Removal
English ivy not only robs oak trees of light and nutrients, it also impairs gas exchange by wrapping itself tightly to the tree bark. Over time the tree is weakened and will “strangle” and die. The OHGOS organized a work party last summer to help homeowners remove ivy from mature Garry oaks in the old town Oak Harbor area.
Heritage Tree Program
This program is one of our future projects. Stay tuned for updates!