City of Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, Washington, Whidbey Island's Premier Waterfront Community

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865 SE Barrington Drive
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Phone: 360-279-4500
Fax: 360-279-4507

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Centennial Grove Update

Centennial Grove Update - 12/21/16, by Brad Gluth, Civil Engineer

Scouts Contribute

On Wednesday, October 19th, a group of fjour Tiger Cub Scouts from Scout Pack 4098 each planted a locally grown Garry oak seedling at the grove under the guidance of our own Planning Commissioner Jess Walker Wyse.  These are first year scouts that are in the age range of 6 to 7 years old.  Their work satisfied their 1st rank requirement of scouting’s Back Yard Jungle Adventure, earning them each a belt loop and progression towards becoming a Wolf Cub Scout.  As a part of the activity, the group learned about scouting’s outdoor code which included learning and reflecting about being conservation minded and considerate of natural places.

The younger scout’s planting was quickly followed by another planting on Wednesday, October 26th by four Boy Scouts of Troop 4065.  Under the tutelage of Travis Belnap, and with assistance from several adults, the group planted 21 more seedlings at the grove.  Rumor has it that as darkness descended upon them, the group stayed committed and demonstrated their preparedness by finished the planting project with lights that they had brought.   

City Employees Volunteer

On Saturday December 10th, a group of four City employees volunteered their time to finish planting the last prepared area of the grove.  The four employees planted 16 more Garry oak seedlings.  This group included an arborist and three engineers, so we know those trees were properly planted, but probably involved a lot of calculations and measurements.  Kidding aside, this group actually collected soil from under some mature Garry oaks and added a few scoops of this soil to each of the 16 seedlings they planted.

The soil was added to inoculate the seedlings with mycorrhizal fungi.  The mycorrhizal fungi forms symbiotic relationships with trees through the tree's root system and helps provide water and nutrients to the tree, resulting in a faster growing, healthier, more disease and drought resistant tree.  It will be interesting to see if those 16 trees grow more vigorously than the other seedlings.

Total Trees Planted at the Grove as of December 20th

With the 25 trees planted by the scouts and the 16 planted by the City employees, this puts the count of trees planted at the Grove at 378.  That includes 100 saplings and 278 seedlings.  All of the seedlings were sourced from local acorns. 

The City has also recently received a donation of two more oak saplings from Mayor Slowik and his wife Candy.  These have been planted, which brings the total to 380.                


Centennial Grove Update - 05/13/16, by Brad Gluth, Civil EngineerOak Grove volunteers

On November 20th and 21st , volunteers came together to plant 100 Garry oak saplings at the Centennial Grove site that had been previously prepared by City staff.  The trees were planted in amended soil, mulched with wood chips and staked for protection against strong winds.  Additionally, plastic pipe was placed around the bottoms of the trunks to protect the bark from rabbits and voles.

On February 26th and 27th, volunteers came together again to plant 237 Garry oak seedlings that had been raised from acorns collected in Oak Harbor.  The seedlings were planted in areas previously prepared by Navy volunteers.  The Navy volunteers had placed weed fabric with mulch over it prior to the planting activity.  The planting volunteers cut holes in the fabric, planted seedlings, and secured tree tubes around each seedling with bamboo stakes.  The tree tubes protect the seedlings from voles and rabbits while creating a mini greenhouse that extends the growing season, resulting in a faster rate of growth.  Due to anticipation of attrition, the seedlings were planted closer together than the saplings.

Arbor Day 2016

On Saturday April 23rd, Oak Harbor celebrated Arbor Day by planting 10 more Garry oaks in our community.  A group of volunteers planted eight 10-year-old saplings along Atlas Street in the adjoining wetland buffer area.  With ample available space, this area offers the trees the opportunity to reach their full potential. 

After planting the first eight trees, the group then proceeded to plant one tree at Neil Park adjacent to the parking lot by SE 4th Avenue.  This tree will provide shade and beauty to an area that is currently dominated by lawn and pavement 

The 10th tree was then planted adjacent to Pioneer Way near the Yacht Club, where it replaces one of the many waterfront trees lost long ago.  

Pioneer Tree Service Donation

On Saturday April 30th, Pioneer Tree Service handed out over 450 Garry oak bare root seedlings at the 2016 Holland Happening Parade.  Thanks to Pioneer Tree Service, many people were given the opportunity to become stewards of our namesake tree.  After the parade, the 45 remaining seedlings of a batch of 500 were donated to the City to be potted and cared for until permanent homes can be found for them in our community.


Many animal species are attracted to Garry oak for food or shelter.  According to the Washington Native Plant Society the following list of animals utilize Garry oaks as described below.

Birds: Wood ducks, mallards, turkeys, band-tailed pigeons, quails, grouse, woodpeckers, nuthatches, thrushes, towhees, jays, and Clarks nutcrackers eat the acorns. Cavity nesting birds and other wildlife nest and roost in tree cavities.

Insects: Many insects are associated with oaks, certain butterfly larvae eat the leaves.

Mammals: Black bears, deer, muskrats, raccoons, tree squirrels, gophers, ground squirrels, and mice eat the acorns


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