PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Garry Oak (Quercus garryana) a.k.a. Oregon White Oak

The only Oak native to Washington, Garry Oak can make a nice bonsai specimen or a shade tree in the yard. Slow growing to 40′-50’ in an urban setting it will grow anywhere as long as there is sun. In shade it grow more slowly. Drought tolerant once established.

Garry oaks are the center of very complex ecosystems. These ecosystems are threatened by urban development and the trees are being cut down throughout South Puget Sound at an alarming rate. Over 100 species of plants, mammals, reptiles, birds, butterflies, dragonflies and bugs are dependent on these oaks and are at risk of extinction in Garry oak and associated ecosystems. The Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team (GOERT) and its partners are working to save the remaining endangered species and the habitats they need for survival. To discover more about GOERT and the critical role of oaks in local ecologies, visit http://www.goert.ca/

Indigenous Pacific Coast people harvested the acorns for food (after soaking to remove the tannin), and the very hard wood for tools. Garry Oak trees help support open spaces (prairies) around the Puget Sound where Camas thrive. The original stewards of this land would keep these open prairies healthy and productive by regular burning back to the surrounding Oaks. This deterred the encroaching Douglas Fir seedlings from choking out the open space, and kept the Oak ecosystem in balance.