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Why Oak Trees?

By on May 12, 2021 in Featured, News

Every year OVLC plants hundreds of oak trees. These oak trees help the Ojai Valley become resilient to a changing climate. The oaks we plant today start off small and fragile, but with time they will become majestic towering oaks that define Ojai’s landscapes.

Restoring our lands back to oak woodlands has a myriad of benefits for our community and ecosystem, starting with Ojai’s iconic scenery. 

Scenic Beauty

Oak woodlands and savannas make up the iconic scenery of the landscape in the Ojai Valley.

Try to imagine Ojai without any oaks: Wills Canyon in the Ventura River Preserve would not be the same magical place without oaks lining the trails, and we have all sought shade below the canopy of a gorgeous oak in the hot summer months. 

Storing Carbon

Trees sequester carbon better than any other technology in the world. Oak trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and release oxygen in return. This carbon is locked up in a tree’s roots, trunk, and branches, and effectively removed from the atmosphere for up to two hundred years!


Oaks play an important role in protecting Ojai’s watersheds and water supply. The oak canopy slows the rain, decreases erosion of the soil, and improves the quality of the water in creeks, streams, and rivers. This slowing of the water flow, along with the extensive network of root channels which allow rainfall to penetrate Ojai’s hard clay soils, help recharge our groundwater supply. Oaks are also drought-tolerant and consume less water than non-native tree species.


Oaks provide habitat for thousands of species (flora and fauna) and influence the way the entire ecosystem operates. Hundreds of wildlife species rely on oaks for food and habitat and a diverse variety of native plants thrive in the shade of the canopy.


Oaks are adapted to fire, and can survive low intensity and infrequent fire events. A mature oak woodland with a closed canopy will even slow fast spreading wildland fire. Sadly, climate change and ignitions from unnatural causes have resulted in increased fire intensity and frequency, and our oaks are struggling to survive.


Even oak trees, which are adapted to our warm climate, are showing signs of stress from record temperature highs and extended drought. While they are resilient, we are already seeing the migration of native plants to cooler north-facing slopes. The shading and microclimates of a closed canopy oak forest is even more important today.


Each year, OVLC plants hundreds of oak trees. To help these oaks survive when they are young, OVLC plants them in oak circles, which consist of three 1-gallon oaks (grown from local acorns in our native plant nursery) and five companion shrubs, which are vital to the long-term success and vigor of oak trees. We protect them from browsing by planting them in cages, use shade cloth to protect them from the harsh sun, and we water them for the first few years.

We know restoring oak woodlands is important, and that is why we do it today. We are investing in Ojai’s future.

Oak trees are vital for our community.

It’s time to take action and donate now.

Oak circles consist of three oak trees and five companion shrubs which are vital to the long-term success and vigor of oak trees.

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