January 2024 – Newsletter

Winter is an Ideal Time to Plant ShadeTrees 

Free trees still available for Woodland Residents! 

Do you know a friend or neighbor who would enjoy having more shade and natural beauty in their yard? Woodland homeowners and renters are encouraged to contact Woodland Tree Foundation for a free tree. As the trees mature they can reduce air conditioning bills throughout the summer months. “Winter is an excellent time to plant trees,” according to David Wilkinson. “The rain helps the young trees get established and put on growth in the warmer months ahead.”

Receiving a shade tree is easy. Foundation staff meet with interested customers to help select the right tree for the right location to maximize benefits. The trees are free and planted at no cost for each customer. Watering instructions are provided.

“We encourage all Woodland residents to plant a tree and help grow Woodland’s shade coverage as we do our part to cool the city and reduce energy consumption. We all enjoy walking and driving around shady, leafy streets in the City of Trees,” stated Wilkinson.

To schedule an appointment with a Foundation representative simply send an email to:

coordinator@woodlandtree.org or call 530-662-9202.

Wintertime Tree Planting on State Route 113

Over twenty years ago Woodland Tree Foundation began fall and winter tree planting on a mostly barren five-mile segment of the State Route 113 ribbon of highway linking Woodland and Davis. During the hot and dusty summer months volunteers hand water seedlings for an average of two years until establishment. After that, the trees are on their own. Many, but not all, trees survive.

In 2020 the Foundation counted over 1,000 trees in this 113 zone it had planted that were established, with some of the valley oaks reaching 20 feet tall. In 2023 that figure exceeded 1,100. According to Ken Trott, “We have a survival rate of around 65%. We lose seedlings because of ground squirrels, Caltrans mowing, sub-optimal watering, dry winters, and poor soil, among other things.” Several Foundation board members, past and present, have planted seedlings and watered them over the decades.

“We plant roadside where the soil is good quality and also on each on- and off-ramp between Main Street and Willow Slough (north of Road 29) where the soil was imported and compacted, which slows the growth rate of trees we plant,” according to Trott who along with David Wilkinson has planted and watered since the project began.  “At the Road 29 quadrants, where we also plant, the soil is very salty (alkaline) which severely restricts which species can survive. Oaks cannot tolerate this soil, so we’ve learned the hard way (and from the advice of the Yolo Resource Conservation District), to plant salt-tolerant species of shrubs and grasses like atriplex “quail bush” and sacaton “salt grass.”

The Foundation has planted over 20 species of trees and shrubs, mostly natives. Valley oaks (63%) are the most prevalent species and are grown and planted as seedlings by the Foundation. “Historically, before farming and development, this area was a valley oak savanna with thicker stands in Woodland and near Willow Slough,” according to Wilkinson. This tree is right at home in its native habitat and very adaptable to hot, dry summers.” Another popular species is Chinese pistache (24%) which the Foundation plants for its radiant fall color and because it is a very tough tree.

“This winter the Foundation is focusing its planting in Woodland at the Gibson Road and Main Street on and off-ramps where there’s acres of land. The Gibson Road southbound exit has a long strip of land we call “the meadow,” said Rolf Frankenbach who has been working with Trott and Wilkinson for many years on 113.

Frankenbach added, “We planted valley oaks in this area years ago and now we are adding other native species such as interior live oak, buckeye, and chilopsis (desert willow). This year we are also planting foothill pine and toyon, California natives that are tough and adaptable to dry areas and attractive. We plant for both the environmental benefits and to make Woodland more attractive to motorists. We’ve also added more trees along Gum Avenue near the 113 overpass.”

Look for the translucent tree protectors and orange flags in these areas and then enjoy watching these trees grow each season. “It’s fun to see birds, bees, and other wildlife enjoying these trees and shrubs on the periphery of our busy urban areas,” said Trott.

The highway contains patches of native wildflowers, native creeping wild rye, and nonnative grasses which Caltrans mows each spring. “We are discussing the idea of creating a “corridor of wildflowers” in the center median linking Woodland-Davis, in consultation with the UC Davis Arboretum. The idea has received a favorable response from Yolo County Supervisors with districts touching 113. Hopefully, Caltrans will support the project,” said Wilkinson.

Welcome Stephany Garzon Vizcarra

A UC Davis sophomore with an interest in art and the environment, Stephany is working part-time for Woodland Tree Foundation this school year. Stephany receives a monthly stipend as part of the Sacramento Valley College Corp program and earns experience working at the community level to address climate change.

“Stephany has been a great help to the Foundation, learning proper tree planting techniques. She meets with tree customers assessing their shade needs and helps them select a tree from our extensive tree list. She’s processing our work orders and running utility safety checks prior to tree plantings for each residence,” stated Foundation President, Melody Meyer.

In addition to tree planting, Stephany is creating an Instagram account to help the Foundation reach younger people who want to volunteer their services for the betterment of Woodland’s environment. “We appreciate Stephany’s enthusiasm and commitment to Woodland’s urban forest,” said Meyer.

Stephany enjoys working at the neighborhood level knowing each tree planted by the Foundation benefits the environment and builds community

 “I applied to the Sacramento Valley College Corps because I wanted to make a difference in the community, especially focusing on the area of climate action. Working at the Woodland Tree Foundation has helped me achieve this dream and has taught me so much about trees and what goes into the tree planting process. 

Stephany’s work ethic, idealism, and enthusiasm is a great example of how one person can make a positive difference and inspire others to do the same.

“I love being part of a positive effort towards climate change and plan on continuing my efforts in motivating newer generations in involving themselves in the community and helping the environment. I’d like to give an enormous thank you to the Woodland Tree Foundation for allowing me to be part of such a great mission, and look forward to continuing my work in the community through planting trees!”

Check out Douglass Park’s Many Young Trees 

Spearheaded by Woodland Tree Foundation board member, Rolf Frankenbach, in 2020 volunteers planted about 30 seedling oak trees at Douglass Park in Woodland, located near the intersection of County Road 98 and W. El Dorado Drive.  Most of the planted seedlings were valley oaks–our native keystone species– that historically covered much of the fertile bottom lands of the Sacramento Valley.  Other species planted included blue oak, interior live oak, and eastern red oak.

Most of these trees have thrived and some, especially the valley oaks, are now about 15 feet tall. Eight additional oaks were planted in December 2023 in the area surrounding the segment of the path near the restrooms. In forthcoming years these trees will provide natural shade along the entire popular walking path and a haven for birds.

Take a leisurely walk around Douglass Park, one of many fabulous city parks, and enjoy all the young trees and a host of others planted near the water tank.