Rooting for trees

Celebrating the CRD’s oldest tree and its kin

A woman and her dog walk past as Oak Bay Parks staffers Iain MacLeod and Chris Paul pack up their tree-climbing gear. She does a double take as she passes the towering Garry oak and notices the pair of arborists.

“How is Mr. Tree?” she asks, gesturing to the towering Garry oak on the boulevard of Falkland Road.

It is, according to Oak Bay parks manager Chris Hyde-Lay, likely the oldest Garry oak in the region at 400 years old.

The dog-walker is assured, and pleased, to hear the tree is faring well.

Staff evaluate it every couple years for decay and dead wood. Over the years it’s had work done, including the cables that bind limb to limb.

“It minimizes how far those limbs can move in wind,” Hyde-Lay explains. “We keep a pretty close eye on it.”

This tree, and its kin, will be celebrated on Nov. 2.

With the district just embarking on its urban forest strategy, looking to develop a framework to maintain the tree canopy, the tree appreciation event is an opportunity to see it in action.

Tree appreciation day will include planting Garry oaks and other native plants with the Oak Bay Parks’ staff.

Residents can pot an acorn, learn about tree banding for winter moths, enjoy the displays and join in a nature walk with the Friends of Uplands Park. Bring gardening questions and those about the urban forest strategy that Oak Bay is just embarking on.

“Come and learn about all that stuff,” Hyde-Lay said. “We’re going to show all the restoration work we’ve done in Uplands Park. But what we really want to raise, is the profile of how important trees are for the green infrastructure of the municipality.”

Join Oak Bay Parks’ staff to celebrate Tree Appreciation Day on Nov. 2.

Refreshments will be available for the event at the Beach Drive entrance to Uplands Park between 10 a.m. and noon.