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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Another Olive Tree Update!

A few months ago we reported on the status of some olive trees in our grove that were failing to thrive after their being transplanted to the UC Davis Good Life Garden in September of 2008. Their issues were the result of a percolation problem. What is that you ask? Well, essentially it means that water cannot penetrate or "percolate" into the ground where plants or, in this case, trees are growing; the cause of this issue came as a result of all the soil compaction that occurred during the construction of the surrounding buildings at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. To read more about this issue click here.

A few days ago we replaced three of the original trees, but have included a much better drainage system; incorporating a layer of crushed rock over drainage tubes covered with amended soil will hopefully provide a more comfortable growing environment for these historic campus trees. (See a photo of the start of this process below.) Our Grounds and Landscape Services crew will continue to monitor the situation and support the trees health in their new homes.

According to UC Davis Director of Grounds and Landscape Services, Sal Genito, who I spoke with about the project this morning, "The key to good plant growth is great drainage." He also mentioned the tell-tale sign of a plant struggling with percolation issues, "The soil smells rotten, like eggs, due to a build up of bacteria that can't escape."

Photo above: A flat bed trailer transports the trees to their new location from a historic campus owned grove in Woodland, California.

Photo below: A crane lifts one of the olive trees off the flat bed trailer and into its new location complete with necessary drainage.

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