Short Summary

Garber Park is a 13-acre wildland park owned by the City of Oakland located behind the Claremont Hotel in Claremont Canyon. Garber Park is home to significant stands of big-leaf maple, California buckeyes and regenerating coast live oak woodland and forest. The Garber Park Stewards vision is to safeguard the native wildland resources of Garber Park while reducing the risk of wildfire and improving the trail system.

Monday, April 23, 2012

CLEAN IT, GREEN IT, MEAN IT: Earth Day 2012 Garber Park

The City of Oakland's Earth Day activities advertised more than 90 sites for folks who wanted to get outside and do some eco-friendly cleaning.  Being a secluded wildland Park, Garber has few mass attractions to offer--mostly at this time of year, a whole bunch of weeds to pull.  So the Garber Park Stewards were delighted to see a motivated turnout from the immediate neighborhood who came for the express purpose of pulling weeds.  By the end of the session, approximately noon, we could say that we cleaned it, we greened it, and from the beginning, we meant it.

In the upper portion of the restoration site at the Evergreen Entrance, we had left one bed unscraped and unplanted with natives.  We called this our control bed and having had 14 months of undisturbed growing time, this area was a complete wall of weeds.   Since the ground was still wet we decided to tackle it, not totally easy in view of the steep grade of the hill.  When we got into it we saw that Erhardta grass was the main offender, but looking deeper we found thistles, broom, forget me nots, poison hemlock, Himalayan blackberry, a few prunus sprouts and NOTHING native--which pretty much proves the point: invasive weeds prevent the establishment of native flora. 

Of course there were some weeds in our native beds as well, but the story there is very good.  Almost everything that we planted over the past year and a half is thriving and reproducing.  The native grasses are notable and will, with very little maintenance, come to dominate the hillside over the next year or two and hold it in place against inevitable erosion.  Even the native strawberries are fruiting.  We were happy to see a large volunteer population of Miner's lettuce in the lower beds, and to our surprise, the reclusive Douglas Iris which we planted in December opened its blossom as the sun shone on it towards noon.   Our labors produced a number of bags of weeds and a re-opened path to the upper beds. We also had an outpost worker with a weed wrench who went to the higher, sunnier elevations and pulled the several broom plants which were lurking in the sunny spots waiting to produce seed.

A small contingent of Earth Day workers got a special pass to avoid weed pulling and to help Bob Brodersen locate and GPS map the oak forest in Garber.   This important knowledge will help us and guide us through the park for next week's Sudden Oak Death (SOD) BLITZ.  On the way to one of the remote sites, they flushed a red fox!! who took off promptly after being disturbed.  Undeterred, Bob and his helpers finished the mapping.  IF YOU WISH TO HELP OUT WITH COLLECTING SAMPLES FOR THE BLITZ, CONTACT US RIGHT AWAY at   We know that the infection is present in Garber.  It has the potential to kill a majority of the oaks in Garber Park.  

Click here for more pictures of Earthday in Garber