Given how quickly Santa Clarita has grown over the years, some might say we have no history. If only our oak trees could talk!
Some of these majestic trees have been here for 400 years. They would have amazing stories to share, such as the first recorded discovery of gold in California. It was in 1842 that a ranch worker found gold beneath an oak tree in Placerita Canyon. That site is now known as the Oak of the Golden Dream.
It’s no wonder then that the City of Santa Clarita has made the protection of oak trees a top priority. The Oak Tree Ordinance was among the first official actions taken by the city when it was founded in 1987.
Those of you fortunate enough to have an oak tree as part of your home or business landscaping enjoy the trees’ many benefits.
Beyond their intrinsic beauty, the provide shade and help reduce the need for air conditioning in nearby buildings. And, their extensive root systems help prevent soil erosion. At the same time, you have some special responsibilities to ensure their continued longevity, as spelled out in the Oak Tree Ordinance.
The ordinance stipulates that moving, removing or encroaching on an oak tree with construction can only be done with a permit. Pruning is allowed only when the branches being trimmed are 2 inches in diameter or less. Otherwise, you must have a permit to prune your oak tree, and the work must be done by an approved contractor.
A trained and licensed tree contractor who is experienced in working with oak trees can make trimming and care recommendations that will preserve the health and beauty of your oak tree. Trimming must be done carefully to prevent damage that could leave the tree weak and vulnerable to attack by pests and disease.
The most important decision you can make for your oak trees is selecting a professional tree care company who can partner with you to help protect them. Here’s how to find the right company for you – and your oaks:
- Ask for proof of license and insurance – A reputable tree care company maintains both a current contractor’s license and workers’ compensation insurance. Without insurance, you could be liable for any damage or injuries that arise from the work.
- Check for membership in professional organizations – Groups like the International Society of Arborists (ISA), National Arborist Association (NAA), and the American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA) offer certification and training to ensure their members employ the best tree care and management practices.
- Ask for references – A professional tree care company will gladly provide a list of references you can check.
- Request a detailed estimate – The proposed work should be itemized and include specific details about what exactly will be done.
- Consider everything when making your decision – Price should not be the determining factor in hiring a tree care provider. Carefully review the estimates you’ve received to determine how each company intends to complete the work. Review their credentials and check references. Select the firm whose experience and skill best matches the work you need completed.
More information on proper tree care and selecting a service provider is available from the International Society of Arboriculture at www.isa-arbor.org.
Oak trees are valuable assets to your landscaping. When properly managed to ensure their ongoing health, they will continually add real value to your property. And they will serve as living proof of our valley’s rich historical legacy.