Sacramento Digs Gardening logo
Sacramento Digs Gardening Article
Your resource for Sacramento-area gardening news, tips and events

Articles Recipe Index Keyword Index Calendar Twitter Facebook Instagram About Us Contact Us

After losing 75 trees to storms, UC Davis plants for future

Lost trees will be replaced by climate-ready alternatives

The UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden encompasses the entire campus. It is known for its variety of well-cared-for trees, as shown in this photo from 2020. New plantings to replace fallen ones will be chosen based on adaptability to climate change.

The UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden encompasses the entire campus. It is known for its variety of well-cared-for trees, as shown in this photo from 2020. New plantings to replace fallen ones will be chosen based on adaptability to climate change. Kathy Morrison

Four weeks since wicked winds brutally whipped our urban forest, we’re still cleaning up. Work crews are still tackling fallen trees and limbs. The sound of chainsaws drowns out traffic and birdsong.

Many parks and landmarks lost numerous trees. That includes the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden.

By its own count, the arboretum – which encompasses the whole UC Davis campus – lost 75 mature trees on New Year’s Eve and during the subsequent storms.

“Considering our campus urban forest tree population is close to 20,000, the losses might have been much worse,” wrote Katie Hetrick, the arboretum’s communications manager, on its website.

It wasn’t just downed trees, but limbs and other debris. The result was quite a mess.

“The cleanup effort undertaken by all of the teams in the Arboretum and Public Garden – Grounds and Landscape Services, Putah Creek Riparian Reserve and the Arboretum – is massive, includes outside contractors, and will take months to recover from,” Hetrick wrote.

Helping to prevent worse losses was the arboretum’s continuous tree stewardship. Because they’re part of an arboretum, all trees (as well as shrubs, perennials and other plants) are carefully tracked and monitored from the day they’re planted. Problems are tackled before they have a chance to create havoc.

Because of that constant care, the arboretum’s trees are especially healthy. That’s what makes this recent devastation particularly shocking. One possible reason: A shift in wind direction. Local trees have decades of resistance to southern winds; these gusts hit from the east.

The recovery will include replanting, but not necessarily the same trees.

“While the weather-related havoc wrought across campus is disheartening, it is also important to understand that our campus is not just reacting, we planned for this uncertain future and are already taking action,” Hetrick said.

New trees will not only add beauty and shade, but more climate resiliency. UC Davis’ Campus Tree Renewal Program plans to create a legacy of trees that will last 100 years or more.

As part of this effort, students trialed about 45 tree species in test sites on campus. The top performers earned permanent spots for their species in UC Davis’ future.

That group includes a lot of familiar oaks – valley oaks, live oaks and cork oaks – plus drought-resistant Texas red oak. The success of the Texas red oak prompted students to test more Texas natives.

As crews continue the clean-up, the arboretum is now raising funds to support its tree-planting efforts. (See the links on the arboretum website.)

Hetrick noted, “We are devastated by the loss, but our current efforts to transition our landscapes to be climate-ready offer hope.”

For more:


0 comments have been posted.

Newsletter Subscription

Sacramento Digs Gardening to your inbox.

Taste Summer! E-cookbook


Find our summer recipes here!

Local News

Ad for California Local

Taste Spring! E-cookbook


Find our spring recipes here!

Thanks to our sponsor!

Summer Strong ad for

Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

Taste Fall! E-cookbook

Muffins and pumpkin

Find our fall recipes here!

Taste Winter! E-cookbook

Lemon coconut pancakes

Find our winter recipes here!