Throughout California’s cultural history, oaks have provided the scenery for many dramatic events. Standing beneath the canopy of an old oak – going back in time – we can begin to imagine these changes.
The large, old oaks that still stand in small groves or alone in our neighborhoods are often called “heritage oaks’ or “landmark oaks.” A “heritage oak” is often defined as a living native oak tree, several hundred years old that is in good health. Some heritage oaks have trunks with a circumference of more than 100 inches, but some have smaller trunks. Some very old oaks are tall, and some are quite short. The correlation between size and age is not straight foward when it comes to trees.
Many California cities, towns, streets, schools, parks and buildings use the word “oak” in their name. This again suggests the significant role oaks have played in shaping California’s character. Many communities “register” old oaks. This helps provide an inventory of significant trees, assists decision makers with evaluating and protecting them and creates public interest in oak issues.