Local News

Tree of the Month: Holly Oak at Pacific Drive Elementary School

The newly-formed Heritage Trees Committee (HTC) presents the holly oak at Pacific Drive Elementary School on Valencia Ave. as September’s Tree of the Month. This is the oldest and largest oak within the school district and is featured prominently at the front of the school.

Pacific Drive’s Holly Oak is the oldest and largest oak in the Fullerton School District. Photo by Jensen Hallstrom

Holly oaks (Quercus ilex) are native to the Mediterranean and therefore do very well in southern California’s climate. They are able to withstand drought and grow into a 40-70 foot tall and 50-60-foot-wide canopy, providing both cooling shade and air quality benefits. They range all the way from Spain to western Pakistan and are also referred to as Holm oaks or evergreen oaks. Interestingly, in Europe, they are sometimes used for producing black truffles in truffle orchards called “truffières.”

One of the reasons this tree was chosen for Tree of the Month, is to recognize the Fullerton School District (FSD)’s care and regard for their trees.

After a member of the Heritage Trees Committee made a comment about the value of trees at a recent FSD meeting, Superintendent Dr. Bob Pletka invited the committee for a discussion. He was joined by Dr. Rob Coglan, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, and Ms. Pam Keller, teacher at Orangethorpe Elementary and former councilmember.

Dr. Pletka and Dr. Coglan discussed their commitment to proper tree care and working with knowledgeable arborists. They were very receptive to the committee’s suggestions for a focus on the value of FSD trees and were open to highlighting campus trees and promoting their community and environmental benefits. HTC was asked to provide a list of special trees on each campus in the Fullerton School District.

HTC now has a preliminary list but wants to ask current and former students and parents at our local schools to help expand the list if they know of particular trees on FSD campuses that should be considered for special recognition. They can be recognized for size, age, rarity, memories, historical value, uniqueness, or any other special quality.

It’s not necessary to know the name of the tree to recommend it. To submit a tree for consideration, call 714-729-3019 or visit http://www.SaveFullerton.com/Trees and scroll down to the form under Project 2: Heritage Trees Inventory. The website also includes reputable tree care companies and other resources to protect historic Fullerton trees, including information on the City’s forthcoming update to municipal tree care policies.

Next City Tree Planning workshops:

•Thurs, Sept 23 6pm to 7:30 @ Fullerton Arboretum

•Tues, Oct 26 6pm to 7:30 @ Fullerton Community Center

Take the Community Forest Survey: https://cityoffullerton.com/government/departments/public-works/landscape-tree/community-forest-management