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.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

February 2022 Volunteer Days!

French Broom Sweep

Searching for French Broom: An Annual Mapping Project

Restoration Projects


Volunteer efforts in February shifted towards lowering fire risk in the park. 

Stewards cleared debris and continued our annual French Broom sweep to map and lower the presence of this persistent invasive plant. The French Broom Sweep will be an ongoing project as French Broom seed can be viable upwards of 70 years!

Volunteers looking for broom seedlings growing among a field of miner's lettuce and many other plants.

We started off with a gridded map of the park, and split into teams to search the different sections. When we got to a section we searched for French Broom, then estimated the number of individuals, and what maturity the plants were at - this helped us determine the urgency to treat that section. For example, a section with two mature plants, would be a high priority, as they will flower and spread seed this year, whereas a section with 20 seedlings, would be unlikely to go to seed this year, and can be mitigated during our future volunteer workdays. 

Wyllie, our volunteer coordinator, helps volunteers identify French Broom at different maturities and shows the best strategies for hand pulling if needed.

Volunteers were also encouraged to pull any mature plants and if there were a small enough amount of seedlings to pull, to hand pull the area. After we finished the sweep of the park, we gathered the maps together to make a condensed map with all the data, and give us a picture of the current state of the French Broom in the park. Be sure to check back for an updated map!

Some of our returning volunteers searching for broom among the understory of Garber's Oak Grove. 

One highlight of the French Broom sweep was mapping and counting areas of French Broom plants that are still present in the park, and comparing it to last year. Last year we led another search and pulled over 800 plants! This year we pulled a substantially lower amount, and didn't find them in some of the past areas. This gives us good insight for future restoration events and lets us know that the past efforts are paying off! 

Before the month ended, large broom bushes were found and removed from Garber Park! We will be returning to the site where these were found in order to continue removing any other seedlings in that area.

Our amazing volunteers joined the search with enthusiasm and put their best effort out there to help Garber Park be more fire safe and get our French Broom populations under control! Without your help, Garber Park wouldn't be as rich and full of life as it continues to be. 

As winter turns to spring, Garber Park is starting to transform with some of our native plants starting to come out of their "dormancy" period. There's still so much we can do. Come join us on our upcoming Volunteer Days on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month as we continue restoring areas of Garber Park to be better suited for native species, and in doing so, creating a more fire safe park for everyone. 

If you'd like to volunteer with us visit our Volunteer Opportunities page for more info and if you'd like to join our mailing list please email Wyllie at