Bay Nature magazineOctober-December 2011


Book Review: Oaks in the Urban Landscape: Selection, Care, and Preservation

October 1, 2011

By Laurence R. Costello, Bruce W. Hagen, and Katherine S. Jones, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (, 2011, 265 pages, $55.

As Californians continue moving into woodlands, we are loving our oak trees to death. Many native oaks are killed during construction, and those that survive too often succumb to inappropriate gardening practices. But it doesn’t have to be this way, say Laurence Costello, Bruce Hagen, and Katherine Jones. Native oaks can thrive in developed areas, extending the oak population across the retreating urban-wildland boundary.

This comprehensive book provides research-based recommendations on how to live with oaks over the long term, covering new plantings, protecting mature oaks during construction, long-term preservation, and ongoing care. This book also includes a guide to symptoms of poor care as well as common pathogens and pests.

Generously illustrated and aimed at a broad audience, Oaks in the Urban Landscape is packed with information without being overwhelming. It fills the gap between books that focus either on oaks’ natural history or on their diseases and will help oak lovers from novices to experts learn how to coexist with these iconic trees.

About the Author

Robin Meadows is a Fairfield-based science writer. She enjoys spotting quail, great horned owls, and gray foxes in her own backyard, next to Rockville Hills Regional Park.
Her children are all grown up but they still enjoy family hikes in the Bay Area and beyond.

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