[fosc] Manzanita Report

Karen Paulsell kpaulsell at pacbell.net
Fri Dec 29 09:37:20 PST 2006

I've been up to Skyline Boulevard, checking on our Pallid Manzanita 
patch. We've adopted this site in Joaquin Miller Park, working to 
protect these Federal/State listed plants.

When we first monitored this patch of plants, there were 63 of them 
-- and 12 have died:

1 -- did not recover from goat grazing in 2003
1 -- cut by Fire Department contractor in 2006
2 -- foliage completely browned in spring, 2006, extensive "striping" 
(areas of dead cambium) on trunks
8 -- developed browned foliage after extensive spring rains in 2006, 
now have no green foliage, presumed dead

I tried to rate the overall condition of the remaining 51 plants, 
looking at the amount of dead foliage, the overall amount of live 
foliage, and any other symptoms, such as extensive brown spotting, 
etc. My ratings are somewhat subjective, I admit, but here they are:

Very Poor 	 3     (greater than 75% browned foliage)
Poor 		 9     (high percent browned foliage, and/or very sparse live canopy)
Fair 		 6     (some brown foliage, or sparse canopy, spotting on leaves)
Moderate 	13    (some brown foliage, but otherwise good canopy)
Good 	20    (very little brown foliage, vigorous look)

The wet spring of the last rainy season is a prime suspect in the 
death of the plants this year: these manzanitas are susceptible to 
root fungus problems.  I'm hoping that the browning of the foliage 
has stopped, at least for now -- with the exception of the few plants 
that had brown-spotted leaves, the foliage on other plants was either 
completely brown, or healthy green, no in-between. The amount of rain 
this spring could make a big difference.

Ralph has checked out the Chabot plants -- says they're not as bad, 
just (still) heavily shaded. It would be interesting to talk to the 
folks at the East Bay Regional Park District who monitor the plants 
at Huckleberry Preserve, see how their plants are doing.

Most of the plants in "our" spot (with the exception of the smallest 
and those in poorest health) were forming flower buds -- almost open 
in the plants in the warmest, sunniest spots.   So they'll be in full 
bloom soon. If you want to enjoy the bloom, just take Skyline towards 
Chabot, and look for the big turnout/parking area about 500' past the 
Roberts Recreation Area sign.   There are some plants right by the 
northwest end of the parking area (the west side of Skyline). Most of 
the other plants are between Skyline and the Big Trees Trail -- some 
nice big ones visible from the trail.

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