Nasty Effects of Wrong Plant, Wrong Place
For years I've watched a beautiful Quercus agrifolia, Coast Live Oak, slowly decline in a garden in Santa Barbara. The owners have a hodgepodge of Algerian Ivy, Vinca, Calla Lillies and other "random acts of planting" under the canopy.
Arborists continue to visit the home and "tend" to the tree by addressing symptoms (removing sick limbs, applying fertilizers, etc.) as opposed to tackling the real problem of overwatering and summer watering. Have the arborists or homeowners looked across the street into the dry creek where countless oaks are thriving without a doctor-patient relationship?
Unfortunately, I don't think they have because just yesterday, the stakes were raised and chemical war was launched against this old Oak.
But to those who understand our climate and a bit about Coast Live Oaks, it is clear the easiest way to rectify the problem would be to simply pull out all the summer-thirsty plants from under the tree, give it some time, and let this wise old tree heal itself.
For suggestions on plants that do well in summer dry shade, take a look at a curated list provided by Landscape Resource contributors.
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