Local News

Tree of the Month: Coast Live Oak at Fullerton College

The Heritage Trees Committee (HTC) presents the Coast Live Oak at 434 E. Chapman Avenue as November’s Tree of the Month. It was chosen to recognize its historic, cultural, and ecological values in the hope that it can be preserved and protected.

Photos by Jensen Hallstrom.

Spreading over 50 feet wide, this is the largest Coast live oak on Fullerton College property. It stands as a rare example of a mature native oak in a south Fullerton neighborhood.

It’s across the street from the main Fullerton College campus in what is slated to become the parking lot of a proposed new Instructional Building, but is currently a recently cleared, vacant dirt lot. Several of the houses original to the property have been demolished (two of which were saved and relocated). It is unclear whether the tree is still standing because there was only budget for the structure demolition, or whether the tree was meant to be preserved. HTC is inquiring whether the tree can be saved, and the public is invited to submit recommendations on the best way to accomplish this.

Coast live oaks (Quercus agrifolia) are native to southern California and are an iconic species of the southern California landscape and history. For thousands of years, vast savannahs of oaks provided for indigenous California communities. Acorns ripening in late Summer through Fall were prepared as “wéwish,” a porridge, which was a dietary staple. Oak wood was an important resource for firewood, and for making baskets and hunting bows. Oaks also provide excellent habitat for birds and other wildlife.

Individual trees may live over 250 years and they are extremely drought tolerant. They are cherished for providing cooling shade, aesthetic appeal, air quality benefits, and wildlife habitat. Interestingly, many California cities have oak tree preservation laws that recognize oaks as the significant historic, aesthetic, and ecological resource that they are.

There is also a mature avocado on the south border that could be kept as part of the new development. Luckily, both trees are on the perimeter of the project. If preserved, care should be taken to prevent damage to their canopies and root systems during and after construction, and irrigation should be directed away from their trunks.

Next City Tree Planting Grant workshop: Tuesday, Oct 26th 6pm-7:30 at the Fullerton Community Center. This is a free event where noted local tree enthusiast Jensen Hallstrom will be presenting as part of the City’s program on “Fullerton’s Unique Urban Forest.” You will learn things you never knew about Fullerton, and you will be inspired.

The deadline to take the City’s Tree Survey is December 31, 2021. Click HERE to take the survey.

To reach the Heritage Trees Committee (HTC) call or text (714) 729-3019 or visit www.SaveFullerton.com/Trees.