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, June 2, 2014

Grasses Demystified!!

Careful investigation when identifying grass
anatomy.  Photo by Lech Naumovich
Lech Naumovich, botanist, restoration ecologist, and Executive Director of Golden Hour Restoration Institute, presented another interesting and informative workshop in Garber Park on May 24, 2014.  The goal of this workshop, titled Demystifying Woodland Grasses, was to become familiar with key diagnostic features of the common grasses – both native and invasive – so that we could feel more comfortable weeding out the highly invasive grasses from our restoration sites.  
The attendees were a diverse group of veteran restoration workers from throughout the East Bay, and many were quite knowledgeable in the taxonomy of grasses, but wanted to know more about the local species.  Most of us, though, were encountering the challenge of identifying grasses for the first time.  But we all had the same goal – get to know our grasses so we can do a better job in weeding out the bad and encouraging the good!
We had the opportunity to observe species from a variety of genera including Erhardta, Elymus, Festuca, Stipa, Bromus, Agrostis, Melica and Avena. Lech arrived with a box full of grasses, which we used for the first few activities.  We were then much more prepared when were given the task of identifying these same grasses in the Evergreen Lane Restoration Site. All activities were with partners, and the atmosphere was one of cooperation and excitement at every “AHA, I get it!” moment.  The less experienced teamed up with the more skilled in the various exercises throughout the morning, which was most helpful for those of us who were less knowledgeable.  Fortunately, one of the most easily identifiable grasses, Erhardta Erecta, is also one of the most invasive, and the one we all want to be able to identify with ease as we try to control its range.   
  Photo by Lech Naumovich
A couple of truly amazing take-aways for some of us - we now look at grasses in a whole new way and can talk about them with a whole new vocabulary.  Rather than looking at them as all he same we now see that they are highly varied with very different inflorescence types, awns, ligules, collars, rooting behavior, and vestiture, spikelets, and more!