Vacaville Tree Foundation

Frequently asked questions:

I have an oak seedling growing in a pot (or in my yard), can you use it?

Although it is possible to successfully transplant oak seedlings, we can't use seedlings in our projects. Transplanted seedlings must be irrigated for at least the first summer, until the root system grows enough into the soil to allow the seedling to survive our normal summer drought. None of our planting projects are irrigated in the summer. All of our planting projects use locally collected seed from drought adapted native plants, such as oaks and buckeyes. When seed is planted, the developing seedling produces a strong taproot that grows down into the soil and can extract water from deep in the soil profile. This allows most seedlings to survive the summer without supplemental irrigation.

How fast do oaks grow?

The answer depends on the planting site, the oak species, and the individual genetic makeup of the acorn planted. In the Vacaville area, valley oaks tend to grow the fastest, and live oaks generally have slightly slower growth rates. Blue oaks grow the slowest of all. In general, an oak with greater access to soil water will grow faster than an oak planted in a drier location.

7 year old live oak

7 year old valley oak

Live oak, left, and valley oak, right, both planted from acorns in Nov 1993 in a hillside ravine by VTF volunteers. Due to deep soils and runoff from adjacent hills this ravine supports relatively fast growth rates. The lake in the background of the photo on the right is Lagoon Valley Lake. Trees in this planting are now visible from Interstate 80.

How far away can I collect acorns for Vacaville Tree Foundation plantings?

We prefer to use locally-collected acorns and buckeyes for our plantings. Locally-collected seed is most likely to be adapted to our local climate and soil conditions. Collect seed from within Vacaville and the immediately adjoining areas, including the west valleys (lower Pleasants Valley, Vaca Valley), the lower slopes of the Vaca Mts, English Hills, and the Araquipa Hills (surrounding Lagoon Valley).

How can I get involved in the Vacaville Tree Foundation?

Besides coming out to any of our scheduled planting or other events, you can contact Ted Swiecki or Jerry Hill. There are many possibilities for expanding the scope of VTF's activities, but we need volunteers that are willing to work in the field and/or organize projects. We have coordinated special projects with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, but we need more volunteer coordinators to make this an ongoing practice.